Roy Gordon Conacher - Born October 5, 1916 in Toronto, Ontario – Died December 29, 1984 in Victoria, British Columbia was a Canadian professional ice Hockey left winger.
Conacher played his minor Hockey with the Toronto Marlboro organization and was a member of Ontario provincial championship winning teams at the bantam and midget age groups playing for the Marlboro juniors.
Conacher next played junior Hockey with the West Toronto Nationals in the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) junior league between 1933 and 1936. In his third season, 1935–36, Conacher led the OHA junior league in scoring with 12 goals in 10 games. The Nationals, led by Roy and Bert Conacher, won the OHA title and reached the 1936 Memorial Cup final against the Saskatoon Wesleys. In 12 Memorial Cup playoff games, Roy Conacher recorded eight goals and five assists. West Toronto won the best-of-three final in two consecutive games, 5–1 and 4–2, to capture the Memorial Cup.
Conacher played two seasons of senior hockey, first with the Toronto Dominions of the OHA senior league in 1936–37 where he was an all-star for the OHA senior championship winning squad. He then played with then the Kirkland Lake Hargreaves of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association.
The Boston Bruins first invited Conacher to their amateur camp in 1935 where the then 17-year-old made a good impression on manager Art Ross. Following his two seasons of senior Hockey, the Bruins signed Conacher to a contract on October 23, 1938. He made his National Hockey League (NHL) debut in the 1938–39 season and recorded 37 points in 47 games. His 26 goals were the most in the league; it would be 54 years before another rookie, Teemu Selänne, would lead the league in scoring. Conacher added ten points in 12 playoff games, including both goals in a 2–0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fourth game of the 1939 Stanley Cup Final, and he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in the deciding contest.
Conacher finished second to teammate Frank Brimsek in Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year honors.
Conacher remained a leading offensive threat throughout his tenure with Boston; he was one of the NHL's top ten scorers in his first four seasons, including the 1939–40 season despite missing 16 games due to a broken wrist. He also finished second in goals in both 1940–41 and 1941–42 with 24 goals in each campaign. By 1941, he had joined with Eddie Wiseman and Bill Cowley to form the "Three Gun Line", so named because all three players were considered top scoring threats. Conacher had only one goal during the 1941 Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Bruins were the NHL's dominant team and swept the Detroit Red Wings in the Final to win their second Stanley Cup in three years.
In 1942, Conacher left the Bruins to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force for the duration of the Second World War where he served as a physical training instructor. He continued to play Hockey in the Canadian military leagues, playing first for the Saskatoon RCAF team in 1942–43, then with the Dartmouth RCAF for the following two seasons. He led the Halifax city league with nine goals in 1943–44. Toward the end of the war, Conacher was deployed to England where he continued to play with military teams, but the deployment also meant he was unavailable to return to the Bruins at the start of the 1945–46 season like many of his teammates did. He appeared in only four games late in the season following his discharge from the military.
Art Ross feared that Conacher would not be able to return to his previous form due to losing four seasons to military service when he was in his physical prime and opted to trade him. Prior to the 1946–47 season, Ross sent Conacher to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Joe Carveth. Conacher excelled with Detroit. He led the team with 30 goals and 54 points, seventh best in the league, and scored four goals in one game that were all assisted by Billy Taylor on a night where the latter player set an NHL record with seven assists. Art Ross, once asked what his biggest mistake as a general manager was, replied "trading Roy Conacher"
Conacher became embroiled in a bitter contract dispute with Detroit manager Jack Adams following the season. Adams offered $7,600 for the season, but Conacher refused to sign for less than $8,500. Refusing to bow to his demands, Adams traded Conacher to the New York Rangers on October 22, 1947, in exchange for Edward Slowinski and a player to be named later. Conacher, however, refused to report to the Rangers. He announced instead that he planned to retire from Hockey, a decision he claimed to have been mulling over for a couple years. The trade to New York was nullified as a result of Conacher's failure to report. Bill Tobin of the Chicago Black Hawks received permission from Detroit to speak with Conacher and successfully negotiated a deal with the player. Tobin claimed the negotiation was easy: "It wasn't hard to sign Roy. I offered him so much money he couldn't refuse." Tobin did not reveal what he was paying Conacher, but admitted that he spent $25,000 combined on the contract and to purchase him from Detroit.
Conacher averaged nearly a point per game in 1947–48 with 48 points in 52 games. His best statistical season came in 1948–49 when he won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading point scorer playing on a line with Bill Mosienko and Doug Bentley on a team that was coached by his brother Charlie. Conacher recorded 68 points while his 26 goals were good enough for second in the league. Additionally, he was named to the first All-Star team at left wing and played in the 1949 All-Star Game. He remained among the league's scoring leaders in 1949–50 as his 56 points were sixth-best in the league. He followed that up by leading the Black Hawks in goals (26) and points (50) in 1950–51. Conacher scored his 200th career goal during the season, at the time a rare feat for an NHL player. However, the physical toll of the sport caught up to him. Conacher finally retired for good from the game in 1952, just 12 games into the 1952-53 season.
Roy was one of several members of the Conacher family to play in the NHL. Three of his nephews, Pete and Brian Conacher, and Murray Henderson all followed. Cory Conacher is also a distant relative of his. Roy was relatively anonymous compared to his more famous brothers Lionel and Charlie, and was often referred to as the "forgotten Conacher"
Roy Conacher was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.
Roy joined Charlie (1961) and Lionel (1994) as the only trio of brothers to be honoured by the Hockey Hall of Fame