Ice Hockey Wiki
Emile Francis
Emile Francis goalie Hawk.jpg
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
155 lb (70 kg)
Teams Chicago Blackhawks
New York Rangers
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born September 13, 1926(1926-09-13),
North Battleford, SK, CA
Died February 19 2022 (aged 95),
Pro Career 1935 – 1952
Hall of Fame, 1967

Emile "The Cat" Francis (September 13, 1926 – February 19, 2022) was a player, coach, and general manager in the National Hockey League, most notably with the New York Rangers.

Francis got his start in the NHL with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1947. From 1948 to 1952, he was the back-up goaltender for the New York Rangers. He finished out his career on a number of minor league teams in the AHL and WHL including the Vancouver Canucks.

In 1945, Francis was the first goaltender to use a first baseman’s glove with a cuff added to protect his hand and wrist. Previously, goalies wore the same padded gloves as their teammates.

Francis would become the coach of the OHA's Guelph Royals before landing the head coaching job with the Rangers from 1965 to 1975. He helped turn the Rangers from a league doormat to one of the best teams of the late 60's and early 70's. They made the playoffs in every season from 1967 to 1975.

He then joined the St. Louis Blues and had two separate head coaching stints with them. He led them to first place overall in 1980-81.

He was then General Manager of the Hartford Whalers from 1979 until 1988 and won the Adams Division title in 1986-87.

He won the Lester Patrick Trophy and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

Personal life

Francis met his wife Emma while in Saskatchewan, where she was studying to become a nurse. They were married for 68 years, until her death in 2020.[1] Together, they had two sons: Bobby and Rick.[2] Bobby was head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes and won the Jack Adams Award in 2002.[2][3] Rick was the vice president of marketing and sales for the Whalers.[2] In September 2007, Emma was reported missing after dropping Emile off at the Palm Beach International Airport for a flight to New Jersey. Neighbors reported not seeing Emma return home after driving to the airport. She was later found safe in a local hotel several days later.[4]

Francis died on February 19, 2022, at the age of 95.[2][5][6]


Highlights of the February 28, 1948 game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks at Maple Leaf Gardens. Goals by Gus Bodnar on Turk Broda as well as Max Bentley and Joe Klukay on Emile Francis are shown in the Leafs 4-3 victory.

External links

Preceded by
Red Sullivan
Head Coaches of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Preceded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Head Coaches of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Larry Popein
Preceded by
Larry Popein
Head Coaches of the New York Rangers
Succeeded by
Ron Stewart
St. Louis Blues Head Coaches
PatrickBowmanArbour • Bowman • AbelMcCreary • Arbour • TalbotAngotti • Patrick • Young • Patrick • BoivinFrancis • Boivin • Barclay PlagerBerenson • Francis • Barclay Plager • DemersMartinSutterBob PlagerBerryKeenanRobertsQuennevilleKitchenMurrayPayneHitchcockYeoBerube
New York Rangers Head Coaches
PatrickBoucherL. PatrickColvilleCook • Boucher • M. PatrickWatson • M. Patrick • PikeHarvey • M. Patrick • SullivanFrancisGeoffrion • Francis • Popein • Francis • StewartFergusonTalbotSheroC. PatrickBrooks • C. Patrick • SatorWebsterEspositoBergeron • Esposito • NeilsonSmithKeenanCampbellMucklerTortorellaLowTrottierSatherRenney • Tortorella • VigneaultQuinn
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  4. Wife Of NHL Hall Of Famer Missing - West Palm Beach News Story - WPBF West Palm Beach.
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  6. "Hockey Hall of Famer Emile Francis dies at 95", Associated Press, February 20, 2022.