John Calverley "Jake" Milford was a journeyman player who became one of most astute executives of his time. A fine judge of talent with superior public relations skills, Milford was a success in the minor leagues and the NHL.
Born in Charlottetown, P.E.I., Milford was fine junior who spurned offers from the Red Wings and Rangers to play in the United Kingdom. While exciting the fans at London's Wembley Arena, Milford also took part in competitive swimming.
During World War II, Milford served as a bombardier with the famed RCAF Lion Squadron. He returned to Canada after the war and played minor pro hockey while securing himself financial with sound investments in the construction industry. During his playing days in the American Hockey League, Milford became a unique note in the history books. Springfield Indians owner Eddie Shore once traded him to the Buffalo Bisons for two sets of used goal nets.
Milford eventually retired as a player to become a coach and manager. He worked in the New York Rangers' system for many years, grooming future stars and winning four Central Hockey League (CHL) championships. The CHL later named a trophy in Milford's honour to be presented annually to the league's top coach.
Milford took on the general manager's duties with the NHL's Los Angeles Kings in 1973. Under his guidance the team played its best hockey to date and set a franchise record with 105 points in 1974-75. Following the 1976-77 season he moved to Vancouver to assume the general manager's responsibilities with the Canucks. His work there culminated with the franchise's first ever appearance in the Stanley Cup final in 1982. Always known as a fine judge of talent and a shrewd trader, Milford trained many fine players, coaches and general managers and was respected by all who came into contact with him.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984.