Head Coach, Team CANADA 1974
Club: Toronto Toros
Position: G Shoots: Left
Height: 6-00 Weight: 157
Born: 7/29/1935 in Toronto, Ontario
Billy Harris was considered a strong two- way center during his 12 year NHL career. Never a big goal scorer Billy made his mark with strong defensive play and the ability to score some timely goals. He was known for his clean, intelligent play and his "classy demeanor" on the ice. In 1969, he retired from professional hockey, regained his amateur status and played for the Canadian National Team in the World Hockey Championships that year.
Upon retirement as an active player he became the Head Coach of the Swedish National Hockey team and guided them into the 1971 World Championships and 1972 Winter Olympics. He then became the first head coach of the WHA Ottawa Nationals (who later became the Toronto Toros) that same year. When the Nationals hired him many people considered Billy to be the best educated, and perhaps the most intellectual of all professional hockey coaches in Canada. That fall Harris made headlines across Canada when he publicly stated he felt the Soviets would defeat Team Canada in the first Summit series. Having played against the Soviets in 1969 and coached against them with Sweden Harris knew they were an outstanding team and felt Team Canada was not well prepared for the series. Canada of course did win the series however it was as tough a battle as Harris predicted.
In the summer of 1974 as the WHA began to prepare for the own battle with the Soviets, Harris with his excellent knowledge of the Soviets and international hockey was the natural choice for Head Coach. Before the series began, Harris told the Canadian people, that while his goal was to win the series, he would not allow his team to play or act in the same manner as Team Canada 1972. He was adamant that there would be no dirty play, nor any screaming at the officials as we saw from Team Canada in 1972. . He wanted his players to be good ambassadors for Canada and play and act in a clean, professional manner. As the series would go on and Team Canada faced many difficult challenges, one factor always remained the same. Billy Harris would prove to the hockey world that he was a fine gentleman with exceptional integrity.
| Player's Career
|NHL Reg. Season
- Played as Defenseman the NHL in 1955-69
- NHL hockey clubs:
Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Oakland
Seals, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Stanley Cup (3): '61-62, '62-63, '63-64