Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Billy Reay
The mention of Billy Reay's name usually brings up thoughts of coaching the Chicago Blackhawks. It is often overlooked, however, that he was also an accomplished NHL centreman in the sparkplug style of the NHL's 1940s.

Reay started his apprenticeship by playing junior and senior hockey in St. Boniface, Winnipeg, and Calgary before signing with the Red Wings who sent him to the Omaha Knights of the AHA in 1939. He then joined the Quebec Aces of the QSHL in between two brief stints with the Red Wings in 1944 and 1945.

Reay's big career break came later that year when he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. At the Forum, he became a solid, two-way centreman, second only to the great Elmer Lach. During his eight seasons with the Habs, Reay twice scored 22 goals and won two Stanley Cups, one in 1946 and the other in 1953. After the second Cup victory, he left the NHL to close out his on-ice career with the Victoria Cougars where he hung up his blades in 1955.

Reay retired as one of only two players to win a Memorial Cup?with the St. Boniface Juniors--an Allan Cup?with the Quebec Seniors--and a Stanley Cup?with the Canadiens.

Upon leaving the ice, Reay promptly initiated his lengthy coaching career as the bench boss of the Seattle Americans of the WPHL. From there, he went to Rochester before making NHL debut as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a season and a half. His most important legacy at the Gardens was to have convinced veteran goaltender Johnny Bower to join the Blue and White.

After Toronto, Reay made stops in Bellville, Sault Ste. Marie, and Buffalo before settling into his spiritual home as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1963. For the 13 seasons that followed, he led his club to numerous first-place finishes but was never able to get his favoured troops past the hot goaltending of the playoffs to win a coveted Stanley Cup.

In 1976, Reay finally retired as one of the winningest coaches in NHL history with 598 victories to his credit.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1936-37 St. Boniface Seals MJHL 15 4 4 8 6 7 1 0 1 2
1937-38 St. Boniface Seals MJHL 15 15 7 22 14 10 5 5 10 12
1937-38 Winnipeg Hudson's Bay WSrHL 8 5 3 8 4
1938-39 Calgary Stampeders CCSHL 32 11 8 19 44
1939-40 Omaha Knights AHA 48 18 20 38 23 9 6 1 7 4
1940-41 Omaha Knights AHA 46 18 22 40 32
1941-42 Sydney Millionaires CBSHL
1941-42 Quebec Aces QSHL 1 1 0 1 0 7 1 3 4 4
1941-42 Quebec Aces Al-Cup 11 6 3 9 8
1942-43 Quebec Aces QSHL 29 16 26 42 22 4 2 0 2 2
1943-44 Detroit Red Wings NHL 2 2 0 2 0
1943-44 Quebec Aces QSHL 25 15 31 46 19 5 2 7 9 2
1943-44 Quebec Aces Al-Cup 9 3 9 12 0
1944-45 Detroit Red Wings NHL 2 0 0 0 0
1944-45 Quebec Aces QSHL 20 17 29 46 6 7 3 1 4 4
1944-45 Quebec Aces Al-Cup 3 0 0 0 0
1945-46 Montreal Canadiens NHL 44 17 12 29 10 9 1 2 3 4
1946-47 Montreal Canadiens NHL 59 22 20 42 17 11 6 1 7 14
1947-48 Montreal Canadiens NHL 60 6 14 20 24
1948-49 Montreal Canadiens NHL 60 22 23 45 33 7 1 5 6 4
1949-50 Montreal Canadiens NHL 68 19 26 45 48 4 0 1 1 0
1950-51 Montreal Canadiens NHL 60 6 18 24 24 11 3 3 6 10
1951-52 Montreal Canadiens NHL 68 7 34 41 20 10 2 2 4 7
1952-53 Montreal Canadiens NHL 56 4 15 19 26 11 0 2 2 4
1953-54 Victoria Cougars WHL 69 10 14 24 30 5 0 0 0 2
1954-55 Victoria Cougars WHL 70 3 28 31 43 5 1 1 2 4
NHL Totals 479 105 162 267 202 63 13 16 29 43


Byng of Vimy Trophy (QSHL - Sportsmanship) (1945) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1952) Signed as a free agent by Detroit, October 2, 1939.
Served as coach of Sydney (CBSHL) from November 18 through December 28, 1941. Awarded to Quebec (QSHL) by QSHL, February 23, 1942. Traded to Montreal by Detroit for Ray Getliffe and Roly Rossignol, September 11, 1945.
Detroit received Fern Gauthier (October 18, 1945) as compensation after Getliffe decided to retire. Named playing-coach of Victoria (WHL), June 25, 1953.