Memorable Manitobans: Alexandre Dimitri “Alex” Shibicky (1914-2005)
Hockey player, coach.
Born at Winnipeg on 19 May 1914 to Tekla Skraba (1890-1969) and Roman Shibicky (1882-1961), he began playing hockey in his youth and went on to play three seasons (1931-1934) in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Winnipeg Columbus Club and the Selkirk Fishermen. After signing with the New York Rangers, he played one season with the Brooklyn Crescents and one with the Philadelphia Ramblers, and then made it to the Rangers for the 1936-1937 season. He played six seasons for them, primarily left wing, and was a member of the famed “Bread Line,” along with the Colville brothers, Neil and Mac.
A highlight of his career was when the Rangers split the first four games of the 1940 Stanley Cup finals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, then won the next two games and the championship. He played those last two games on a broken right ankle. For winning the Cup, each Rangers player received a $500 bonus and a watch fob worth about $30. At a 1990 reunion celebrating the 50th anniversary of that triumph, the Rangers gave the surviving players Stanley Cup rings. However, perhaps the most significant footprint Shibicky left in the game of hockey was his introduction of the slap shot into the NHL in 1937, changing the game forever.
Shibicky joined the Canadian Army in 1942 for the Second World War. He played for the Allan Cup-winning Ottawa Commandos in 1942-1943. After the war, he rejoined the Rangers but was demoted to the Providence Reds halfway through the 1945-1946 season. After one season with the New Haven Ramblers he retired in 1947 because of a back injury. He then turned his love of the game to coaching, at both professional and amateur levels, and teaching at hockey schools, influencing young players for generations with a fundamentals-based approach to developing speed and skill. He was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame (1986) and Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (2019).
He was married to Gloria May Aspinall (1926-2018), with whom he had five children. His interests included investing in a restaurant chain and in an eleven-hundred-acre grain farm near Winnipeg. He and the Colvilles, his Bread Line mates, often took golf and fishing trips together.
He died at White Rock, British Columbia on 9 July 2005.
Obituary, Vancouver Sun and Province, 12 July 2005.
“Alex Shibicky, who helped the Rangers to Stanley Cup, dies at 91” by Frank Litsky, New York Times, 22 July 2005.
“Alex Shibicky,” Ice Hockey Wiki.
“Alex Shibicky,” Robertson Family Tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 6 September 2022