On Wednesday, September 16, 2021, former player, coach and commentator Lou Angotti passed away after a short illness. The Canadian was best known for becoming the first captain in franchise history when the Philadelphia Flyers were founded in 1967.
The Toronto-born son of Italian immigrants was born on January 16, 1938. He was introduced to ice hockey early in elementary school and was signed up to the local youth team by his father.
At the age of seventeen, Angotti made his debut in October 1955 with the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors. After graduating from high school, the ambitious LouLou enrolled at Michigan Tech University. During his college years, he reached the NCAA Championship Game twice (1960 and 1962). In both years, the swift winger was named Most Valuable Player. To this day, Angotti is the only player to win the NCAA MVP Award twice.
First steps at the New York Rangers
After receiving a Bachelor of Engineering degree, the then 24-year-old Canadian signed with the New York Rangers. In doing so, he became the first-ever Michigan Tech player to make it to the NHL. After two seasons with the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League, Angotti finally joined the Big Apple main squad at the start of the 1964-1965 season.
During the 1965 – 1966 season, the Canadian left for the Chicago Black Hawks (then spelling, ed.). After playing his first few games in the Minor League for the St. Louis Braves, he made his debut three months later in Chicago.
Very first captain of the Philadelphia Flyers
After the NHL’s decision to add six new franchises to the League from the 1967-1968 season (Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Oakland Seals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the St. Louis Blues), Angotti was placed in the NHL Expansion Draft picked up by the Philadelphia Flyers. He also became the first ever captain in Flyers history.
In his lone season in Philly, the winger had the best year of his career, racking up 49 points (twelve goals and 37 assists) in 70 games. In their debut year in NHL, the Flyers found Waterloo in the quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup against also debutant St. Louis Blues.
The NHL Alumni Assoc. is saddened to learn that Lou Angotti has passed away at 83.— NHL Alumni (@NHLAlumni) September 17, 2021
Lou played 10 season in the @NHL and was the first captain of the @NHLFlyers who helped to pave the roads for the players you see on the ice today. We send our deepest condolences to Lou’s family. pic.twitter.com/sKyZt2beVI
Two lost Stanley Cup finals
After a year in the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadian again settled in Chicago via IntraLeague Draft in 1969. He played three of his four seasons in Windy City as Center. Ultimately, after his Flyers season, these became the most solid years of his career, which also brought the Hawks to two Stanley Cup Finals in 1971 and 1973. Both lost to the Montreal Canadiens – with Hall of Famer Ken Dryden on target.
Angotti, along with Stan Mikita and Dustin Byfuglien, is still only one of three BlackHawks players to score four or more points in a Stanley Cup Final.
Life after hockey
The trainer career LouLou limited to short adventure at the St. Louis Blues (including a brief stint as player-coach) and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was best known for his co-commentary commentary on games for the Chicago Black Hawks in the late 1970s.
In 653 NHL games, the Canadian scored 289 points (103 goals and 186 assists) and in postseason games he was good for 16 points (eight goals and eight assists). He was inducted into the Michigan Tech Hall of Fame in 1991.