Barry Smith

Home 5 Class of 2018 5 Barry Smith
Barry Smith, born in Buffalo in 1950, grew up in the Town of Tonawanda, attended Kenmore West High School and is a member of the K-W Hall of Fame. After graduating from high school, the starting point for his future success can be attributed to Ithaca College. A three sport athlete for the Bombers, Smith participated in football, hockey and lacrosse. He caught 46 career passes as a wide receiver while playing for legendary coach Jim Butterfield, ranking fourth on the all-time receptions list at the time of his graduation. Smith also played  four years of ice hockey, serving as a team captain in his senior season.

Graduating in 1972, Barry was inducted into the Ithaca College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992.

Fresh out of college with a desire to continue playing football, Barry played two years (1972-73) of semi-pro football, as a wide receiver, with the Twin City Geminis.

In 1976 Barry took over the head hockey coaching duties at Elmira College. His overall record during a five year span was 129-50-3 (.717). Included were four 20+ win seasons, accomplished at a time when the NCAA limited teams to a maximum of 28 regular season games. His Elmira teams were two-time NCAA Division II finalists with the 1979-80 team losing in the championship game.

Smith had a long career as an assistant and associate coach in the NHL. Starting in 1986, he has worked with the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks. While with the Buffalo Sabres, he served as the team’s Summer Hockey School Director (1986-89).

After serving as an assistant on Wayne Gretzky’s staff in Phoenix from 2005-07, Smith spent three seasons as coach and director of player personnel with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the elite professional league of Russia.

His international resume also includes stints as head coach in the Swedish Elite League, assistant coach for Team USA at the 1991 and 2004 World Cups, and associate coach for Sweden at the 1996 World Cup and the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Currently the Chicago Blackhawks Director of Player Evaluation, Smith’s role is helping players transition to becoming professional hockey players. When asked how to pick a winning team his confident response is, “It takes a wide range of players, and we found the most important thing was a player’s mental makeup. That includes your character, attitude, and ability to compete, as well as being a good teammate. Guys who process the game faster than others have a quicker reaction because they understand the game. Some players are good in practice because of their athleticism, but when the game comes, they can’t process and react.”

Achieving success at nearly every level, having been part of hockey dynasties in Pittsburgh (2), Detroit (3) and Chicago (2), Barry has been an integral part of seven Stanley Cup champions.