News | 9/9/2013 12:16:43 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS

Former Amerk Barry Smith

The Rochester Americans Hockey Club is deeply saddened today after losing a longtime member of its family over the weekend. Former Amerk Barry Smith, who played parts of five seasons in Rochester, died on Saturday in Tennessee at the age of 58.

Known for his grittiness and exceptional penalty killing abilities, Smith was an Amerk from 1975-80 before splitting his final four seasons between the NHL’s Colorado Rockies and the Birmingham Bulls and Fort Worth Texans of the CHL. Originally a second-round selection (32nd overall) of the Boston Bruins in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft, Smith ranks 39th in scoring among all-time forwards in franchise history after recording 165 points on 65 goals and 100 assists in 324 career games in the red, white and blue. Smith’s finest season as a pro came during the 1978-79 campaign, when he led the Amerks with 43 assists and finished second with 66 points while appearing in all but two regular season games for Rochester.  He also scored a career-high 23 goals that season, ranking fifth overall on the team in that category.

It was Smith’s hard work and defensive style of play, however, that he will forever be remembered by.

“I will say he was one of the hardest-working and best penalty killers in the history of the Amerks,” ex-Amerks defenseman Ray Maluta, a former teammate who skated alongside Smith from 1975-79, said to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. “He was a fantastic penalty killer and the consummate team player, no question about it.”

Smith’s tenure in Rochester also saw the team advance to the Calder Cup Playoffs in three of his first four seasons with the Amerks, including back-to-back trips for the 1977 and 1978 postseasons. Smith would add 16 points on nine goals and seven assists in 25 playoff contests with the Amerks.

Smith’s brief seven-year career also featured 114 games in the NHL with stops in Boston and Colorado, where he totaled 14 points (7+7) and racked up 10 penalty minutes. Smith made his NHL debut skating in 19 games as a rookie for the 1975-76 Bruins, scoring one goal. Then-Boston head coach Don Cherry, a one-time former Amerk himself, would again reacquire the 5-foot-11, 178-pound Smith four years later in Colorado after a mid-season trade during Smith’s final year in Rochester.

Following his retirement from playing, the Surrey, British Columbia, native joined the coaching ranks, beginning with the Rochester Jr. Amerks in the late 1980s and the Rochester Monarchs of the early 1990s. Among the up-and-coming stars Smith developed was a young 17-year-old by the name of Rory Fitzpatrick, who was set to embark on an illustrious 16-year pro career that would ultimately culminate back home in Rochester.

“I remember Barry as always being a very demanding coach,” recalls Fitzpatrick, who also spent five seasons (2001-03, 2004-05, 2008-10) playing for his hometown Amerks, including his final two as team captain. “He was highly respected by not only all the players, but the entire hockey community. He always went above and beyond to advance his players in hockey and life.”

Smith later accepted the head coaching position of the ECHL’s Knoxville Cherokees and remained in that capacity from 1992-93 to 1996-97. In five seasons with Knoxville, Smith finished with a career record of 154-159-27 as well as leading the Cherokees to playoff berths in both 1994 and 1995.

The entire Rochester Americans organization sends its thoughts and prayers out to the Smith family during this difficult time.

Click here for additional information on Smith's calling hours and funeral services. 

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