Roy McBride, the architect of Spokane’s hockey success, passed away Sunday in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan after a short illness. He was 87.
McBride came to Spokane in 1948 from the Seattle Ironmen. He led the Spokane Flyers in scoring for two straight seasons before a slash from a member of the Nanaimo Clippers in the 1950-51 season broke his arm and effectively ended his playing career.
It was in coaching and management where McBride would really make his mark on the Spokane hockey scene.
McBride took over as coach of the Flyers in 1952 and led the team to four Western International League division titles in six seasons. He led the team to its first Savage Cup appearance in his first season and its first Savage Cup win and Allan Cup appearance in 1956-57, the team’s final season in the WIL.
He then led the drive to go pro, coaching the Flyers (1958-59) and Comets (1959-63) in the Western Hockey League.
His 1962 Comets team lost to Edmonton in the WHL championship.
After five money-losing seasons, McBride sold the team to Conn Smythe Jr., who moved the club to Denver for the 1963-64 season.
In 11 seasons as head coach in Spokane, McBride had 301 wins, 286 losses and 30 ties.
After selling the team, McBride went to work for Spokane Presto Logs before retiring.
He was inducted into the Inland Empire Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
He is survived by his wife Alice, son Gary and his wife Susan, daughter Kerry Justice, three grand children and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 55 years, Betty, in 1998.
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