Although he played in the National Hockey League, Fred Shero's legacy remains largely due to his highly successful NHL coaching career. Unanimously loved by his players, 'Freddy the Fog' was renowned for exhibiting his philosophies on the chalkboards of his team's dressing room. Before Game Six of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final that featured his Philadelphia Flyers, Shero wrote, 'Win today and we walk together forever,' a quote that has endured in dressing rooms across North America through the decades since it was first written.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on October 23, 1925, Fred Shero worked his way through the hockey system before debuting with the New York Rangers in 1947-48. Through three NHL seasons, Shero played 145 games, scoring 6 goals and adding 20 assists for 26 points. In 13 playoff games, Fred collected two points.
Shero's professional career continued at the minor league level until 1957-58. He turned to coaching in 1955-59, joining the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
In 1958-59, Shero was hired to coach the St. Paul Saints of the International Hockey League, and in his first two season with the Saints, he led St. Paul to the Turner Cup as IHL champions.
By 1967-68, Fred had joined the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League, and coached that team to a Calder Cup championship in 1969-70. He was rewarded with the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL's coach of the year. The next year, Shero was behind the bench for the Omaha Knights of the Central Hockey League, and won the Adams Cup championship with that team. For a second consecutive year, Fred was named coach of the year, this time winning the Jake Milford Trophy.
After two straight championships with two different teams in two different leagues, Fred Shero was ready for 'The Show.' He was hired by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1971-72, beginning a nine-season NHL coaching career. Although the Flyers missed the playoffs in his first season, they went to the second round in 1972-73. But Shero's motivational coaching produced dividends in 1973-74. The 'Broad Street Bullies' won the Stanley Cup, and Shero was presented with the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year. The Flyers repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 1974-75. They almost made it a three-peat in 1975-76, reaching the Final but losing to the Montreal Canadiens.
During his seven seasons in Philadelphia, Fred and the Flyers enjoyed four consecutive Campbell Bowl wins with Philadelphia as regular season winners of the West Division (1973-74) and Campbell Conference (1974-75 to 1976-77). During that period, Shero coached the Flyers in 554 regular season games, winning 308, losing 151 and tying 95 more for a winning percentage of .642. In 83 playoff games, Fred led the Flyers to 48 wins and 35 losses for a .578 winning percentage. He is one of only six NHL coaches to lead his club to consecutive 50+ win seasons, a feat accomplished from 1973-74 to 1975-76. During his high-profile days with the Flyers, Fred was rewarded by being named the NHL All-Star coach of the Campbell Conference team in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978.
In 1978-79, Shero was hired to coach the New York Rangers. In his first season, he took the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final, although they, too, lost to the powerful Montreal Canadiens. In two seasons with New York, Shero coached the Rangers in 180 regular season games, compiling a record of 82 wins, 74 losses and 24 ties for a winning percentage of .522. He also coached the Rangers in 27 playoff games, winning 15 and losing 12 for a .556 winning percentage.
In 1980, Fred was rewarded with the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contributions to hockey in the United States. The Philadelphia Flyers inducted Shero into their Hall of Fame in 1990.