Harry James Sinden (born September 14, 1932 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada) was the long-time general manager, coach, and president of the Boston Bruins of the NHL, and was the coach of the Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders category.
Sinden played defence for the Toronto Marlboro bantams before moving up to the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) for junior hockey. He played in Oshawa from 1949 to 1953 and then played six seasons in the OHA senior with the Whitby Dunlops. Sinden was team captain when the Dunlops won the Allan Cup in 1957. The Dunlops with Sinden then went on to win the 1958 World Hockey Championship for Canada in Oslo, Norway. Sinden also won a silver medal as a member of the Canadian national men's hockey team at the 1960 Olympics. The core of the team was the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen, with Sinden one of four players from the Dunlops added to the lineup to strengthen the team for the Olympics.
Near the end of the season, the Montreal Canadiens placed Sinden on their negotiation list, but they did not reach an agreement. Sinden played some games with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens in the Eastern Professional Hockey League and met Lynn Patrick, general manager of the Boston Bruins. Patrick signed Sinden as player-assistant coach for the Kingston Frontenacs, the Bruins' EPHL affiliate, starting in 1960–61. Sinden was named a first-team all-star for the 1961–62 season and league MVP for 1962–63. After the league folded, the team became the Minneapolis Bruins of the Central Hockey League for the 1963–64 season, with Sinden as player-coach. After two seasons, the team moved again, becoming the Oklahoma City Blazers, where Sinden finished his playing career in the 1965–66 season after six seasons with the franchise. In his final season, he coached the team to the league championship.
NHL Coaching Career
In May 1966, Sinden moved to the NHL as the head coach of the Boston Bruins. At 33, he was the youngest coach in the league at the time, coaching the youngest team. In his first season—with a team that included rookie Bobby Orr—the Bruins finished out of the playoffs with the worst record in the league. By his second year, aided by the acquisition of Phil Esposito from the Chicago Black Hawks, the team posted a winning record, and in Sinden's third season, the Bruins finished with 100 points, just behind the Montreal Canadiens for top spot in the NHL. In his fourth season, 1969–70, he coached the Bruins to the their first Stanley Cup in 29 years.
Retirement and Summit Series
Despite his success with the team, Sinden had a rocky relationship with Bruins management during the championship season, which led to the 37 year-old Sinden announcing his retirement just days after winning the Cup. The club placed him on its voluntary retired list, preventing him from taking a job with another team for one year. Sinden accepted a job with Stirling Homex Corp., a home construction company in Rochester, New York.
In June 1972, after two years away from hockey, he was named head coach and manager of the Canadian team for the eight-game Summit Series. After a slow start, he led the Canadians to a come-from-behind win, capped by Paul Henderson's series-winning goal with 34 seconds remaining in the final game. Esposito, reunited with Sinden, was the leading scorer in the series.
Sinden maintained a tape recorded diary throughout the series, which was turned into a book, Hockey Showdown, published in 1972.
Return to the Bruins
Within days after the Summit Series, Sinden signed a five-year deal with the Bruins to become the team's general manager, succeeding Milt Schmidt, who was made executive director. Sinden would spend just over 28 years as general manager of the Bruins, almost surpassing the 30-year tenure (1924–54) of the team's founding manager, Art Ross. He added the title of club president in 1989, and remained as the chief executive of the club until the summer of 2006, when he retired to a consulting role.
As GM, Sinden presided over the team's long years of consistent success, setting the North American major professional record for most consecutive seasons in the playoffs with 30, which including making the finals five times (1974, 1977, 1978, 1988, 1990) and two regular season first place finishes (1983, 1990).
Sinden was the Senior Advisor to the Owner for the Bruins, as well as a member of the selection committee for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
|Boston Bruins Head Coaches|
|Ross • Denneny • F. Patrick • Ross • Weiland • Ross • Clapper • Boucher • L. Patrick • Schmidt • Watson • Schmidt • Sinden • Johnson • Guidolin • Cherry • Creighton • Sinden • Cheevers • Sinden • Goring • O'Reilly • Milbury • Bowness • Sutter • Kasper • Burns • Keenan • Ftorek • O'Connell • Sullivan • Lewis • Julien • Cassidy|
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