Shibicky, 91, was first player to use slap shot

Updated: July 14, 2005, 3:42 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Alex Shibicky, the first player to use a slap shot and a member of the New York Rangers' 1940 Stanley Cup team, has died. He was 91.

Shibicky died Saturday in South Surrey, British Columbia, his son, Alex Jr. said.

Shibicky, who played with the Rangers from 1935-46, was credited with using the first slap shot in a game in 1937. He said he learned it in practice from teammate Fred "Bun" Cook during the 1935-36 season.

"He was a true innovator of the game," Alex Jr. said Thursday. "It was a snap shot from the hip."

The NHL plans to send the Stanley Cup to the Vancouver area July 23 to commemorate Shibicky's accomplishments, his son said.

He played on one of the most famous lines of his era -- the "bread line" -- with brothers Neil and Mac Colville. Sports writers said the trio was the Rangers' "bread and butter." In their early 20s, they were the youngest line in the NHL in 1936.

A left wing, Shibicky tied for second in league goals scored (24) in 1938-39. He scored 110 goals and had 91 assists in a career shortened by World War II, when he served three years in the Canadian armed forces.

Shibicky was vice president of the first players' association in 1942.

His death leaves Clint Smith, Dutch Hiller and Alf Pike as the only surviving members of the Rangers' 1940 team.

A native of Winnipeg, Shibicky is survived by his wife of 54 years, Gloria, three daughters and two sons. No services are planned.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press