From the team’s founding in 1989 through the move to the American Hockey League in 2000, there was only one Admirals head coach: John Brophy. The Admirals are sad to announce that Brophy has passed away this morning at the age of 83. During an 18-season playing career, Brophy skated in over 1,200 games and accumulated more than 4,000 penalty minutes. After retiring as a player, Brophy coached for 20 seasons with jobs in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), Southern Hockey League (SHL), Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), World Hockey Association (WHA), Central Hockey League (CHL), American Hockey League (AHL) and with the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Toronto Maple Leafs. One of Brophy’s first head coaching jobs was with the SHL’s Hampton Gulls, who played at the Hampton Coliseum from 1975-77. Brophy coached the Admirals for 11 seasons, bringing 3 championships to Hampton Roads. The Admirals never had a losing record under Brophy, and made the playoffs each season. He amassed 1,027 pro coaching victories, with 416 coming with the Admirals. He is currently 2nd all time in pro coaching victories. Brophy was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009, and was an inaugural member of the Admirals Hall of Fame. While these numbers speak for themselves in making Brophy a legend, it was his never-ending drive to win and fiery personality that make him one of the most recognizable sports personalities in Hampton Roads history. John Brophy or Broph, made an impression on many throughout his great career. Blake Cullen “He was the greatest thing that happened to our franchise. Also in those days he was the greatest thing to happen to the ECHL since he came from the Maple Leafs. He lifted the whole feeling of the team to the fans in the area. Such a wonderful guy and I couldn’t have made a better selection. It was fortunate that he liked the area and it just worked out terrifically.” Al MacIssac “He gave every player the belief that you could be great at anything in life and in the sport. He gave people confidence, he pushed hard, and his expectation was extreme. He made many successful careers outside of hockey because of what he instilled in his former players. We lost a really good man.” Dennis McEwen “All of my professional hockey accomplishments, I owe to Broph. He had such a simple demand from all of his players; Give me your absolute best and hardest work each day, and I will give you the same. He had such an unwavering passion for the game, and it was infectious to all that played for him. The game of hockey truly lost an icon today. I feel most fortunate and honoured to have played for him for so long. “ Chad Ackerman “He was a hard-nosed coach but he brought out the best in everybody. If he was tough on you, that meant he liked you and saw potential in you. He also had a soft side, he would have the whole team out to his house in Roanoke for steaks. Often we’d be out to eat in restaurants, we’d be waiting for the bill then the waiter would tell you it’s been paid for and point to Broph. He’d give you that head nod while sipping his wine. Then the next day he’d tell you that you were late for practice. He had your back and we definitely out worked every team we played. Overall he gave us a lot of great stories, a lot to be thankful for and that he made us all better.” Brian Martin “I knew him on and off the ice, just an awesome coach and an awesome human being. He’ll be missed, he’s a good friend.” David Buckley “It was a great experience, he was a great coach. I think about his philosophy to go out there and give 100%, it was totally him. He pushed that envelope and that’s what I think about when doing stuff: The Broph way.” Pete Michaud “Obviously he was the epitome of what a coach should be. He was someone who was fully and totally dedicated to his players, ownership and the fans. He kept that dedication 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.” Mark Bernard “He was very pivotal in me being able to be a professional hockey player. I wouldn’t be where I am today without playing for John Brophy in the early days. The thing I loved about Broph is as long as you were willing to work he would work with you to help make you a better player on the ice and off the ice. The hockey world has lost a very good man today.”
Admirals Legendary Coach John Brophy Dead at 83
Sunday, May 22nd
Upcoming Home Games
Get Hockey Updates
Sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to know about news and upcoming games!