Tommy Ivan

Thomas Nathaniel "Tommy" Ivan (January 31, 1911 – June 25, 1999) was a Canadian ice hockey coach and general manager. He served as a National Hockey League (NHL) head coach for the Detroit Red Wings from 1947 to 1954 where he won three Stanley Cups, and was the general manager for the Chicago Black Hawks from 1954 to 1977, winning a Stanley Cup in 1961. He produced an overall record of 288–174–111.

Tommy Ivan
Thomas Nanthaniel Ivanoff[1]

(1911-01-31)January 31, 1911
DiedJune 25, 1999(1999-06-25) (aged 88)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
OccupationIce hockey coach and GM
AwardsHockey Hall of Fame (1974)

Ivan was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Macedonian immigrant parents.[2] He never played professional hockey, as a severe facial injury shortened his career while playing in the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association.[3] His junior hockey days in Ontario, on up to his first pro coaching job with the Omaha Knights in the Central Hockey League, were the first steps in a distinguished Hall of Fame career. Ivan was a keen judge of talent that helped discover young prospects like Gordie Howe and several other National Hockey League players that would go on to Hall of Fame careers.[4]

Ivan won three Stanley Cup while coaching Detroit, in 1950, 1952, 1954. He took the reins as Black Hawks coach-general manager in 1954, after winning six straight regular-season championships with Detroit. At the time the Hawks were a franchise in trouble. Ivan led a rebuilding effort, adding farm teams and stocking the Hawks' farm system with good prospects. He also made key trades that would help fortify the Hawks into a contending team for the next several seasons. Rudy Pilous was hired to coach the Hawks by Tommy Ivan and he would eventually guide the team to the 1961 Stanley Cup. The 1961 Hawks team produced the results that Ivan's rebuilding process began back in 1954. The Black Hawks also reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1962, 1965, 1971, and 1973. Ivan served 25 years as Black Hawks GM and then served as the Black Hawks' vice-president and alternate governor (NHL Board of Governors) in the years following his GM tenure.

He died of complications of a kidney ailment in 1999.[5]


  • Ivan was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974.
  • Starting with the 1974–75 season, the Tommy Ivan Trophy was awarded annually by the Central Hockey League to its Most Valuable Player.
  • Ivan received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1975 for "outstanding service to hockey in the United States."
  • Ivan served as chairman of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and on the selection committee of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • Ivan played a key role as chairman of the organizing committee for the 1979–80 Olympic Hockey Festival, helping bring more than 90 players together for Coach Herb Brooks and his staff to pick from. Eventually that team became the 1980 US men's ice hockey team ("Miracle on Ice") that won the Gold Medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.
  • Ivan is listed in Stan Fischler's book Hockey's 100 as one of the ten best coaches and ten best general managers in the history of the NHL.

Coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
GWLTPtsDivision rankResult
DET1947–48 60301812722nd in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
DET1948–49 6034197751st in NHLLost in Stanley Cup Finals
DET1949–50 70371914881st in NHLWon Stanley Cup
DET1950–51 704413131011st in NHLLost in first round
DET1951–52 704414121001st in NHLWon Stanley Cup
DET1952–53 70361618901st in NHLLost in first round
DET1953–54 70371914881st in NHLWon Stanley Cup
CHI1956–57 70163915476th in NHLDNQ
CHI1957–58 3310176265th in NHLResigned


  1. "Following the Lions". Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  2. "JockBio". JockBio. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  3. Fischler, Stan (2003). Who's Who in Hockey. Andrews McMeel. p. 197. ISBN 0740719041. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  4. "Ivan, Tommy - Biography - Honoured Builder". Legends of Hockey. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  5. "Tommy Ivan, 88, Executive For Two Hockey Champions". The New York Times. June 27, 1999. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
Preceded by
Jack Adams
Head coach of the Detroit Red Wings
Succeeded by
Jimmy Skinner
Preceded by
Bill Tobin
General Manager of the Chicago Black Hawks
Succeeded by
Bob Pulford
Preceded by
Dick Irvin
Head coach of the Chicago Black Hawks
Succeeded by
Rudy Pilous
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