We’re bringing a new treat to our readers here at Bus League Hockey, an exclusive Q&A with the author of a new book about a man who may be the ultimate bus league player and coach.
Please welcome author Gregg Inkpen, and enjoy what he has to say about his new book, “Broph” which details the life and times of legendary minor league player and coach, and even one-time Toronto Maple Leafs coach, John Brophy.
The book has been called a “must read” by Howard L. Baldwin Sr., has a perfect 5-star rating through 11 reviews on Amazon thus far, and includes a foreword by legendary hockey writer, Stan Fischler.
BLH: For those who don’t know, tell us a little bit about who John Brophy was, and his importance in the hockey world, especially to the minors.
Gregg: John Brophy may be the ultimate bus league coach in the hockey world. He claimed to have traveled over a million miles by bus since first starting his first full-time coaching gig in 1973 with the Long Island Cougars of the North American Hockey League–he retired from coaching in 2007 with Richmond of the SPHL, this, after a twenty-year playing career in the low-level, rough and tumble Eastern League.
The short version: Back in 1994 I wrote/produced/directed a video documentary of the team he played for–and briefly coached–in the Eastern Hockey League, the Long Island Ducks. While the documentary wasn’t centered around John, I started learning more about him through news articles and stories from former teammates. The tales were legendary, and mostly true. I knew there was no biography on him out there, so after I produced another documentary about the Long Island Cougars I sent him a letter in 2003 and asked if he’d be interested in collaborating on a book about his life. So nearly 15 years later, here we are. (The book was published two and a half years after his death.)
BLH: I know Mr. Brophy had stories on stories from his days in hockey, were the any that stood out to you, or were maybe lesser known stories shared by former players or assistants, that our readers might get a kick out of?
There are plenty of stories. Stories told by ex-teammates, rival coaches, players, doctors, trainers, fans etc; some shocking, some sad, and some funny. But you’ll have to read the book to find out…haha.
The prologue probably isn’t your typical prologue found in a hockey book. It covers a tragic event; his car accident in 1967 on Long Island when his girlfriend was killed. It also covers his 2000 car wreck in Nova Scotia at sixty-six that nearly killed him. As much as John was all about hockey–the game cost him three marriages–the book touches on the many tragedies he suffered growing up in small-town Antigonish, Nova Scotia: two house fires (when he was one and twelve-years-old), his mother died when he was three and his father was out of town for months at a time working the rails in Vancouver and other cities in Canada. Tragedy carried into his adult life: his father died the day before his first wedding, with John not finding out until after the ceremony, seeing they couldn’t reach him since he was traveling with his team by bus. And of course the two car accidents.
A special thank you to Gregg for his time and sharing his story with us, you can purchase “Broph” on Amazon, available in paperback for $11.99, with a Kindle version hopefully available in January.