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William Fraser Sutherland (November 10, 1934 – April 9, 2017) was a Canadian professional ice hockey centre and a National Hockey League (NHL) coach. He scored the first goal in Philadelphia Flyers history.[1]

Bill Sutherland
Born (1934-11-10)November 10, 1934
Regina, Saskatchewan
Died April 9, 2017(2017-04-09) (aged 82)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 160 lb (73 kg; 11 st 6 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Montreal Canadiens
Philadelphia Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs
St. Louis Blues
Detroit Red Wings
Winnipeg Jets (WHA)
Playing career 1955–1974

Minor league careerEdit

Sutherland played two seasons with the St. Boniface Canadiens of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, scoring 60 points in 25 games during the 1954-55 season. He then embarked on a long minor league career, serving stints with the Cincinnati Mohawks, Montreal Royals, Cleveland Barons, and Quebec Aces. He made his NHL debut in 1963, playing two playoff games after a series of injuries to the Montreal Canadiens forward unit.[2]



The 1967 expansion gave Sutherland a chance to finally break into hockey's top league, as the Philadelphia Flyers purchased the Aces as their new top farm team and transferred Quebec's best players to the NHL squad. He scored the first goal in Flyers history on October 11, 1967. He became the first player in NHL history to score the first NHL goal in two arenas in the same season. He scored the first goal at the Long Beach Sports Arena in a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Five days later he scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the first game at the Philadelphia Spectrum.[3]

The next season, the Minnesota North Stars selected Sutherland in the intra-league draft. However, he never played for this franchise, and instead was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs. After 44 games with Toronto, he was traded back to the Flyers. He spent the next year as a Flyers starter, and he then scored an NHL career-high 39 points in 1970-71 with the St. Louis Blues. The next year, he saw limited playing time with the Blues and the Detroit Red Wings. He ended his playing career with the Winnipeg Jets during their World Hockey Association days.[3]


After retirement, Sutherland was involved with sports broadcasting until his hiring by the Jets as an assistant coach in 1979. After the firing of Tom McVie with three games left in the 1979-80 season, Sutherland became head coach. However, he was fired 29 games into the next campaign.[4]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
Winnipeg Jets 1979-80 3 1 2 0 (2) 5th in Smythe Missed Playoffs
Winnipeg Jets 1980-81 29 6 20 3 (15) 6th in Smythe (fired)
Total 32 7 22 3


Sutherland died on April 9, 2017 at the age of 82.[5]


  1. ^ "Bill Sutherland, a Flyers original, dies at 82". CSN Philly. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Bill Sutherland Stats". Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  3. ^ a b "NHL Player Search - Player - Bill Sutherland". Legends of Hockey. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  4. ^ "Bill Sutherland NHL & WHA Hockey Coaching Record". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  5. ^ "Flyers mourn the passing of Bill Sutherland". Retrieved 2017-04-11.

External linksEdit