On this day in Bruins history, February 15th, 1973, Boston’s Armand ‘Bep’ Guidolin achieved another “rookie” accolade. But this time behind the bench as opposed to on the ice!
Almost thirty years after donning the Black N’ Gold to become the youngest ever player to make his NHL debut (just one month shy of his 17th birthday), Guidolin set an impressive record by starting his coaching career 5-0-0.
At the time, he became “the first rookie coach in NHL history” to begin a season with that many consecutive undefeated games. The B’s would beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 at The Spectrum for Guidolin’s noteworthy coaching accomplishment.
He’d continue coaching Boston through the ’73-’74 season, even leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals where the Flyers would ultimately get their revenge in game six, winning at home 1-0.
Upon his passing in November of 2008, The Hockey News shared a retrospective on Guidolin’s life and hockey career, describing the Ontario native’s “rise to fame” and curious nickname in the following passages:
“Nicknamed ‘Bep’ by his Italian-speaking mother who pronounced it beppy rather than baby, Guidolin shot from the hip both on the ice and behind the bench.
Guidolin rose to NHL fame in 1942 when the Boston Bruins were starved for players because of regulars going off to serve in the Second World War. He started with the Oshawa Generals as a 15-year-old, then got the big-league call the following season when the ‘Kraut Line’ of Milt Schmidt, Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.Brian Costello, The Hockey News (11/30/2008)
Guidolin’s abbreviated playing career for the Bruins lasted four seasons over two stints in the 1940’s (49G, 70A). As a coach from 1973-1974, he had an impressive record of 72-23-9 over one-and-a-half seasons.
In an obituary story shared by the CBC, Guidolin’s time in Boston was highlighted by the players and personnel he connected with:
“Guidolin was coaching the Boston Braves in the American Hockey League in February 1973 when he received a surprise call from Bruins general manager Harry Sinden to take over the defending Stanley Cup champions, who were languishing under Tom Johnson.
He coached Orr, Phil Esposito and the rest of the talented squad to a [top seed], but Boston lost in the 1974 final to Philadelphia and Sinden rejected Guidolin’s demand for a long-term contract. Career minor league player and coach Don Cherry took over the Bruins.”CBC Sports (11/26/2008)
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