Frank Boucher

Frank Boucher, younger brother of Georges Boucher, was known for both his stellar playmaking ability and his gentlemanly conduct. Boucher began his pro career in Ottawa with the Senators and his brother Georges, in the 1921-22 season at the age of 20 years old. However, Boucher was then sold to the PCHL, where he spent four seasons with the Vancouver Maroons. When the league was disbanded in 1926, he was claimed by the Boston Bruins of the NHL, but was shortly thereafter purchased by the newly formed New York Rangers.

Boucher’s re-entry into the NHL at 25 years old was smooth and he finished 4th in voting for the Lady Byng trophy with 28 points in 44 games along with 17 PIM. Boucher’s 1927-28 season was a strong one, as he finished third in scoring with 35 points in 44 games, but had just 15 PIM, much less than most players as skilled as him. Boucher won his first Lady Byng Memorial trophy and also helped lead the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 1928. Boucher continued in his ways during the low-scoring 1928-29 season, leading the NHL with 16 assists in 44 games while incurring only 8 PIM, winning Boucher his 2nd consecutive Lady Byng trophy.

It was in the 1929-30 season that Boucher had arguably his best season at 28 years old. Boucher finished with career highs in all offensive categories including 26 goals, a league-leading 36 assists, and 62 points. Boucher again managed only 16 PIM, winning him his third consecutive Byng trophy. Boucher’s offensive prowess also got him ranked 5th in Hart trophy voting. The 1930-31 season was another solid one for Boucher in which he won his fourth consecutive Byng trophy.

In the 1931-32 season, Frank Boucher was finally dethroned as the Byng trophy king, as Joe Primeau won it for the season, despite actually having more PIM. Boucher didn’t like being beat out and so took it up to the next level for the 1932-33 season. Boucher led the league in assists for the third time in his career with 28 assists and managed an astonishingly low 4 PIM in 46 games. Needless to say, he won his fifth Lady Byng. With the help of his linemates, the Cook brothers, Boucher helped lead the Rangers to their second Stanley Cup victory at the end of that season.

Even as Boucher began to age, he stayed a strong player over the next two seasons, winning two more Lady Byng trophies to bring his total to seven in just eight seasons. In the 1934-35 season, the 33-year old also managed to finish 4th in Hart Voting due to ending up with the third most points in the NHL. Boucher’s numbers would finally dwindle over the next few years and he would retire partway through the 1937-38 season at the age of 36. Boucher did return many years later to the war-ravaged Rangers for the 1943-44 season and astonishingly managed 14 points in 15 games as a 42-year old.

After Boucher’s seventh Lady Byng trophy win, Lady Byng was so impressed that she gave him the original trophy to keep and donated a new one to the NHL. To this day, no player has won the award as much as Boucher, with Gretzky being the closest at five victories. After Boucher retired as a player, he continued as an assistant coach of the Rangers for the 1937-38 season. Boucher returned to the NHL as a head coach in 1939-40 to lead the Rangers to their third Stanley Cup victory. Boucher’s Rangers would have regular season success in the next two seasons, but no post-season success. The next six years were very rough for the Rangers, partially due to World War II, and Boucher moved solely to a manager position, a role that he had held concurrent to his coaching position. He coached again in 1953-54 briefly and finally left the Rangers for good in 1955.

When Boucher retired for the first time in 1938, he was 4th all-time in points with 409 and first in assists by a significant margin at 253 assists. Even when Boucher retired for the second and final time in 1944, he was still 2nd in assists to only the great Bill Cowley. Boucher was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958.

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