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07-16-2012, 07:49 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Country: Canada
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Question regarding Billy Harris (I mean the Billy Harris who played in the NHL in the 1960’s, played for the “Nats” in the 1969 WC’s, and coached Sweden in the 1971 WC’s and 1972 Olympics, coached Ottawa and Toronto in the WHA from 1972-73-1974-75 and finally coached Team Canada 74 in the 1974 Summit).

The Toronto Toros fired him partway through the 1974-75 season and he then, except for a one year stint as assistant coach in Edmonton in 1982-83 (I believe that was the year) dropped off the radar screen.

What happened to him? In the early 70’s he was considered one of the best, young coaches in the game. Rick Smith and Brad Selwood both played for him in the 1974 Summit Series and they told me he was an exceptional coach. They both indicated that he was a “true gentleman” who possessed a sense of “unbending principle and integrity.” They also said he was a great coach behind the bench. He ran interesting and creative practises and reacted calmly and appropriately to actions on the ice.

My thoughts are because he abhorred violence in hockey, that he was considered “persona non-grata” by the powers that be in the NHL and WHA and junior hockey. Am I wrong here? Or did Harris simply decide that with violence so prevalent in hockey in the 70’s that he wanted nothing to do with it?

Craig Wallace

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