Ice Hockey Wiki
Bill Cowley
Position Centre
Shot Left
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
165 lb (75 kg)
Teams Boston Bruins
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born June 12, 1912,
Bristol, PQ, CAN
Pro Career 1934 – 1947
Hall of Fame, 1968

William Mailes "Cowboy" Cowley (June 12, 1912 in Bristol, Quebec – December 31, 1993) was a Canadian professional centre who played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League for the St. Louis Eagles and Boston Bruins.

Playing Career[]

After a few seasons of senior league play in Ottawa and Halifax, Cowley broke in as a rookie with the St. Louis Eagles in 1934–35. After the season, the franchise was terminated and Art Ross, the general manager of the Bruins, selected him in the subsequent dispersal draft.

In Boston he would become a star, leading the league in assists in 1939 (despite missing twelve games with injuries), 1941 and 1943, and helping to lead the Bruins to two Stanley Cups in 1939 and 1941. While World War II ravaged the Bruins' powerful roster thereafter, Boston would not win another Cup during his career, Cowley was one of the team's few remaining stars. Frequently injured, he was on track to shatter the league record for scoring in 1944 when another injury ended his season two points short.

Bill Cowley scores, Game 1 of the 1939 Semi-finals, March 21, 1939.

Cowley finished his career with 195 goals and 353 assists for 548 points in 549 NHL games. At the time of his retirement in 1947, he was the NHL's all-time leading point scorer, and the last active player from the St. Louis Eagles roster.

After his career, Cowley went on to coach in the Ottawa senior leagues and the Vancouver Canucks of the PCHL. He also helped found the Ottawa 67's as a part-owner in 1967.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1968, as the sole inductee into the Players category that year. In 1998, he was ranked number 53 on the List of 100 greatest hockey players by The Hockey News.

Awards & Achievements[]

  • Hart Memorial Trophy winner, 1941 & 1943
  • Named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1938, 1941, 1943 and 1944.
  • Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1945.
  • Won the NHL scoring title in 1941.
  • 1st player in NHL history to reach 300 assists in his career.
  • The only NHL players who have scored more points per game in a season than Cowley's 1.97 in 1943-44 are Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
  • The only NHL player to average a point a game over his career until Gordie Howe.
  • Led Bruins in scoring for six seasons.
  • Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1968.

Records Once Held by Bill Cowley[]

  • Most career Assists in NHL history- 353, surpassed by Elmer Lach and currently held by Wayne Gretzky (1963)
  • Most career Points in NHL history- 548, surpassed by Elmer Lach and currently held by Wayne Gretzky (2857)
  • Fastest player to reach 500 career points- 485 GP, surpassed by Jean Beliveau (424 GP) and currently held by Wayne Gretzky (234 GP).
  • Fastest player to reach 300 career assists- 447 GP, surpassed by Bobby Orr (346 GP) and currently held by Wayne Gretzky (229 GP).


External Links[]

Preceded by
Tommy Anderson
Winner of the Hart Trophy
Succeeded by
Babe Pratt
Preceded by
Ebbie Goodfellow
Winner of the Hart Trophy
Succeeded by
Tommy Anderson
Preceded by
Milt Schmidt
NHL Scoring Champion
Succeeded by
Bryan Hextall
Preceded by
Dit Clapper
Boston Bruins Captains
Succeeded by
Bobby Bauer

Boston Bruins Captains
Cleghorn | Hitchman | Owen | Clapper | Barry | Stewart | Shore | Weiland | Clapper | Cowley | Crawford | Bauer | Schmidt | Sandford | Flaman | McKenney | Boivin | Bucyk | Cashman | O'Reilly | Middleton | Bourque | Allison | Thornton | Chára | Bergeron