"Mr. Goalie" Glenn Hall

Hockey players, especially goaltenders, have pre-game rituals. Some are more unusual than others. But no one had a stranger ritual than former NHL goaltending great Glenn Hall who, because of nerves, would literally become physically ill while waiting the start of a game.

More often than not, before the first face-off, during the rest periods or after the game was concluded, Glenn quietly and unobtrusively would throw up .

"I always felt I played better if I was physically sick before the game. If I wasn't sick, I felt I hadn't done everything I could to try to win," Hall once said.

It obviously worked for Hall, as the man nicknamed "Mr. Goalie" has to be considered a prime candidate as the greatest goalie ever played.

Glenn Hall is also renowned as the grandfather of the butterfly goalie. He was the first goalie to practice and perfect the now common butterfly stance, as he'd fall on knees, spread his legs to take away the bottom corners and five-hole and let his rapier-like arm reflexes take care of the top corners. Glenn would meet the shot with his feet wide but his knees close together to form an inverted Y. Instead of throwing his whole body to the ice in crises, he would go down momentarily to his knees, then bounce back to his feet, able to go in any direction. Practically every goalie in hockey today relies on the strategies he perfected.

During his 18-year NHL career, which began in 1952 and ended in 1971, Glenn posted a 407-327-163 record, 2.51 goals-against-average and recorded 84 shutouts. He was a First Team All-Star seven times, won three Vezina Trophies, was voted the league's top rookie in 1955-56 and was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy in a losing cause in 1968. Despite his lengthy career, Glenn won his only Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 1961—the last time Chicago captured the title.

Hall actually started his career buried in the Detroit Red Wings system in the early 1950s. With the great Terry Sawchuk established as the number one goalie, it seemed as though Hall would have to wait forever for his turn to get a chance at full-time play in the league. But Hall kept the pressure on Sawchuk, eventually leading to the surprising Sawchuk trade to the Boston Bruins in 1955. Hall took to the Red Wings crease, and turned in a memorable rookie season, coming within one shutout of Harry Lumley's modern record of 13 set two seasons previously. He allowed only 2.11 goals against as he played in each and every game and won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.

Hall played one one more season with Detroit, before yet another shocking trade involving a Red Wings goalie. This time Hall was packaged up in the infamous Ted Lindsay trade to the Chicago Blackhawks.

It was in Chicago that Hall is best remembered. Hall was a huge part of the Blackhawks turnaround, backstopping them to the Stanley Cup championship in 1961. The Hawks became the toast of Chicago for much of the 1960s, selling out every ticket for 14 seasons. With the likes Pierre Pilote, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull, the Hawks were hot. But it was Hall who was synonymous with the Hawks, playing seemingly every game. In fact, despite his taxing pre-game ritual, Glenn holds the NHL record for most consecutive complete games, 502, by a goaltender. That's 502 straight contests without missing a minute of play. Not one single minute over the span of 8 seasons. That is one record that is certain never to be broken. Even more amazing is he accomplished this feat while playing without a mask.

At the age of 36, he was left unprotected in the 1967 Expansion Draft and was chosen by the newly minted St. Louis Blues. Due in large part to Hall's improbable heroics, the Blues marched all the way to the Stanley Cup final in their first year in the league. Though they would eventually lose to the Montreal Canadiens in four games, Hall was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's top playoff performer. In 1968-69, Jacques Plante joined the team and the two veterans shared the goaltending duties, and split the Vezina Trophy. The duo returned the Blues to the Stanley Cup finals in both 1969 and 1970, only to lose again.

Hall retired in 1971, returning to Alberta to tend to his farm, while working with the Blues and later Calgary Flames as a goaltending coach and consultant.


Dennis Hull

Want to to talk some hockey and have a good laugh all at the same time? Talk to Dennis Hull.

A fine player in his own right, Dennis was always overshadowed by his older brother Bobby, and years later by his nephew Brett. But since his playing days Dennis has carved out a tremendous career as a celebrity spokesman. With his families natural charism and humour and his large collection of stories to tell, Dennis has become quite the entertainer.

Here's just a sample of some of his quotes -

"If you make it to the NHL, most players are able to say hat they are the best hockey player in their family. But I wasn't even the second best in my family!" Dennis said when nephew Brett was in his prime.

"He said Sittler!" Dennis joked when Russian newspaper reports wrongly alleged brother Bobby made pro-Adolph Hitler comments.

"Every game I played against Henri Richard, he'd come up to behind me at some point and say, 'My brother's better than your brother.' " Like Hull, Henri was a fine player overshadowed by his brother, Maurice.

"My brother and I scored more than anyone in hockey history" joked Dennis about their womanizing ways in a less than politically correct era.

Like his brother Bobby, Dennis was known for his hard slap shot. He compared the two shots once - "Someone once said that Bobby could hit a puck through a car wash and not get it wet and that I could hit it just as hard, but not hit the car wash. That was the difference."

Someone asked him if he wished he played in today's era - "I would sure like to be there now on the 15th and 30th, when they get paid."

Along the same lines he told this story a few time. "Brett asked me: "Uncle Dennis, what would you have done if you had made $5 million a year?' And I said, 'I would have quit by Christmas.'"

Dennis Hull: always the comedian.

But lets learn more about Dennis Hull the hockey player.

Dennis was solidly built just like his brother was. Strength was the forte of the Hulls, all 11 of them. They were born and grew up in a farming community of about 500 in Point Anne, Ontario. Dennis and Bobby Jr. worked in the fields, storing hay and chopping down trees in the woods that surrounded the farm. This developed tremendous back muscles and forearms on both brothers.

The head of the family, Bobby Hull Sr. also loved to play hockey. He played junior, intermediate and senior hockey out of Point Anne (near Belleville). Bobby Sr. had seven daughters and four sons, two of them, Dennis and Bobby Jr. were on skates when they were just able to walk. Bobby Sr. claimed that Gary, another son might have been the best hockey player in the family if he had pursued a hockey career.

Dennis and Bobby learned to skate at the Bay of Quint. Dennis possessed many similar traits that his brother Bobby did - particularly his hard shot and good speed. He wasn't nearly as colorful as Bobby, but he was a valuable player for Chicago.

Dennis played four seasons with the St.Catherines of the OHA Jr.A and at age 19 he scored 48 goals, a number that even Bobby couldn't match in Junior A. Bobby had 33 goals as a 18-year old.

During Dennis NHL rookie season in 1964 he had one year left of Junior A eligibility. Chicago tried to farm him out for additional seasoning but had to cancel their plans when Toronto and Boston threatened to grab him on waivers. So instead Dennis spent most of his NHL rookie season on the bench.

Playing on the MPH line with Pit Martin and Jim Pappin for most of 8 seasons, the Hawks were a team to be reckoned with.

Dennis really stepped up his play in the post season.

"I really enjoyed playing in the playoffs," he said. "It is what I loved to do."

Obviously! In 97 post season games, Dennis scored 33 goals and 67 assists for Chicago. But he and his teammates were unable to bring a Stanley Cup to the Windy City. He attributes the city's Stanley Cup drought to the wooing of NHL stars by the World Hockey Association including his brother Bobby.

Chicago was on the verge of big things in the early part of the 1970s. The Hawks made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1971, but fell to the Canadiens in seven hard-fought games. Dennis was the star of that playoffs.

"In 1971, the press decided to vote for the Conn Smythe Trophy just prior to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final. It was secretly decided that if Chicago had won, I would get the award because I led the league in playoff points. If Montreal won, Ken Dryden would get it. We lost the game - and I lost the Conn Smythe - in the third period."

Of course every good Hull story has a good joke to go with it.

"The winner of the Conn Smythe also received a new car. During the warm up of an exhibition game against Montreal early the next season, Yvan Cournoyer called me to center ice. He said, "I have a message from Ken Dryden. He says your car is running really good!"

Two years later they once again ran into Montreal in the Cup finals, this time without Bobby Hull and Pat Stapleton in the line-up as both had signed with the WHA.

"So the WHA cost us a lot, besides the money, it cost us two Stanley Cups because we were so close." feels Dennis.

Without a Stanley Cup ring to cherish, Dennis fondly calls the 1972 Summit Series as his career highlight.

"Not winning the Cup was disappointing, but the saving grace for me was playing for Team Canada in 1972. After the final game in Moscow, we came storming into the dressing room on an unbelievable high. I was sitting next to Yvan Cournoyer, and I asked him if this was like winning the Stanley Cup. He replied 'No, this is ten times better!' I still think to myself that I've won only one less Stanley Cup than Henri Richard (11 time Stanley Cup champion)."

Dennis Hull - always the comedian.

Dennis played 14 seasons in Chicago before playing one final NHL season in Detroit in 1977-78.

"Once Chicago let Billy Reay go - the most instrumental person in my life and my only NHL coach - I lost all my desire to play. I was 19 when I arrived in Chicago in 1964 and Billy taught me everything an adult needs to know about how to treat people properly, not just how to play hockey."

To Dennis it didn't matter if it was a free wheeling game or a close-checking one, he always played his game. He was an honest hockey player. He went up and down the ice and did his job. He gave you the same game every time.

Dennis retired with approximately half as many goals as brother Bobby got. But 303 goals are still an impressive amount, with 351 assists for 654 points. He was overshadowed and underappreciated by fans and media, but not by those who got to know him.


Tony Esposito

One of the game's greatest forwards and one of the game's greatest goalies grew up in the same family home. Phil, the older of the two, practiced shooting against brother Tony for hours on end. By 1970 both had reached the top of the hockey world. Both we're named to the NHL First All Star Team.

Tony Esposito was one of the first players of the modern era to reach the NHL after playing American college hockey. One of the reasons he went this route was to deliberately delay his professional debut. When he started there was only 6 NHL teams and the use of one goalie was still common place - hence only 6 jobs. But just around the corner the NHL would double in size due to expansion, and carrying a backup goalie would soon become an accepted practice. He played three seasons with the Michigan Tech Huskies while studying business. He signed with the Montreal Canadiens in 1967.

The Habs assigned Tony to the WHL Vancouver Canucks for the 67-68 season, where he continued to dominate, leading the league in games played, minutes played, shutouts, and amazingly both wins and losses. Esposito felt that his time in Vancouver was a great hockey education for him. He had only played 20 or so games in the college schedule, but would face lots of ice time and shots in 63 games

Tony O played part of the 1968-69 season with the Montreal Canadiens and earned his only Stanley Cup ring there while serving as the backup goalie. His first NHL game came against brother Phil's Boston Bruins and resulted in a 2-2 tie. In total that season Esposito would only get into 13 contests, with a 5-4-4 record. He did post 2 shutouts, including a 0-0 tie against Phil and the Bruins.

The following year he was acquired by Chicago. The Canadiens had to choose between the young Esposito and the veteran legend Gump Worsley. While the Habs did have Ken Dryden a couple of years away, the move could have proved to be disastrous if Dryden hadn't emerged. Tony inherited Glenn Hall's position in Chicago and played phenomenally for the next fifteen years.

His first full season saw him win the Calder and Vezina Trophies as he posted a 2.17 GAA and 15 shutouts in 63 games. The 15 shutouts is a modern day record for most in one season. He would go on to win or share 3 Vezinas, and five All Star berths. He thrived on a heavy work load. In fact, over 8 year stretch he averaged 68 games a season.

Despite Esposito's incredible play, the Hawks were never able to achieve elite status, which probably holds Tony Esposito back when it comes to discussions about the game's greatest goalies. He was clearly an elite goalie though, and was chosen to play in the 1972 Summit Series with Team Canada. He played in 4 games and by most accounts outplayed number one goalie Ken Dryden.

Tony O also played in the 1981 Canada Cup, but not for Canada. He had acquired his US Citizenship just in time for the tournament, and agreed to play of Team USA since he wasn't invited to Canada's training camp. Tony O instantly gave Team USA some credibility, but ultimately wasn't able to give them enough wins to make a splash in the tournament.

Tony would play past the age of 40, retiring as a Hawk in 1984. He would later go on to NHL management positions with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.

He was a bit of an unorthodox goalie. He would play the butterfly style to stop shots, which back then was not as common as it is today. He often would cheat to one side when facing a shooter, displaying extra room and forcing the shooter to shoot, but then would quickly take it away with his quick glove hand. A noted poke-checker, the only thing more active than Esposito's stick was his mouth. He was a loud and talkative goalie, always yelling directions to his defensemen.

One thing is for sure - Tony was an exciting goalie to watch!


Pierre Pilote

Pierre Pilote was one of the most outstanding defensemen of his time. In the days before Bobby Orr redefined how defensemen played the game, Pilote was already establishing himself as an offensive catalyst.

"Pierre changed the game quite a bit. He was even pre-Bobby Orr. With the defense moving in to be part of the offense, he was certainly influential," suggested Hawks goaltending great Glenn Hall. Pilote was essentially bridging the generation gap between Doug Harvey and Orr.

Pilote's blue line offensive style was due to his metamorphosis from a center to a defenseman in his late teens. He had always grown up as one of the top offensive forwards. His game was very raw and creative, as he never played organized hockey while growing up. But he tried out for and made the St. Catherine's Tee Pee's junior hockey team by switching to defense.

"And then when I started playing defense, I had to learn the position, but I was always thinking offensively, if you know what I mean. I guess it evolved when the Blackhawks started getting guys like (Bobby) Hull and (Stan) Mikita and stuff like that. We became more offensive minded I guess. I was involved in that kind of trend," recalls Pilote.

It took some time for Pilote to make the big leagues. He apprenticed for four seasons with the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL before making it to stay in 1956-57 with the basement dwelling Chicago Blackhawks. By 1961 he was a Stanley Cup champion and later was named team captain.

The Hawks had floundered for years prior to Pilote's arrival. But with the likes of Pilote, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Glenn Hall, the Hawks became Stanley Cup champions in 1961. Pilote scored the winning or tying goal in every Blackhawks victory that year. 1961 pre-dated the Conn Smythe Trophy, but Pilote was the obvious playoff MVP. His 15 points led all players.

Pilote started piling up assists as his confidence improved, and he quickly became one of the best blue liners in the league. The unflappable defender became a master of the give-and-go, a tactic his teammates came quick to rely on. In 1963-64, Pilote recorded 46 assists, tying an NHL record at the time. His best offensive season came in 1964-65 when he scored 59 points, breaking Babe Pratt's record of 57 points by a defenseman.

"Points came easy for me. It was like a game of checkers. I could always see the next move," he said. "I played with some good players. I could have been more offensive-minded, but if I had been with guys who couldn't score goals, the coach would have said dump it in. I had guys like Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull, who was my favorite target, and Kenny Wharram, who could always score goals.

"Another important thing about being an offensive defenseman, you have to have a good goalie back there. We had Glenn Hall, the best. Some people say Terry Sawchuk was better, but I think Glenn was. Glenn never played behind as good a team as Detroit had in the 1950s."

Although fairly small for a defenseman he played an aggressive game. In fact one year he led the NHL in penalty minutes with 165. His all-round play earned him the Norris Trophy in 1963, 1964 and 1965 and was a first team all star 5 straight times.

Pilote was a great influence for many of the NHL's following generation of defenders.

"Growing up, I was a big Chicago Blackhawks fan so I watched Pierre Pilote and Elmer Vasko, Doug Jarrett and all those guys that played on that team," remembered Larry Robinson, the great Montreal rearguard. "Before Orr, there was Pierre and Doug Harvey. Those were the guys who pioneered defensemen taking the puck and rushing up the ice with it and tried to control the play."

"What Pierre Pilote did for me was show me that a defenseman had to have his head up and the puck in front of him so that he is always ready to move the puck," said New York Islanders standout Denis Potvin. "Starting in my junior career and later in the National Hockey League, that's the way I tried to play: Always ready to make a pass.
Pierre was not a huge defenseman but he was one of the best ever at separating a player from the puck and that's very important. A defenseman's two most important jobs are to stop the opposition and generate the offense and I saw Pierre as one of the best at doing that."

For more modern fans, many old-timers also compare today's Scott Niedermayer to Pilote, although Pilote was never as gifted as a skater.

Pierre Pilote's great career was recognized in 1975 when he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He retired having played 890 regular season NHL games, in which he scored 80 goals, 418 assists and 498 points.


Stan Mikita

Born in Sokolce, Czechoslovakia, Stan Mikita was the first Czechoslovakian-born player in the NHL. Born Stanislaus Gvoth, he was adopted by his aunt and uncle and he moved with them to Canada at the age of 8 in order to escape poverty and the growing communist movement.

Stan, as he became known in Canada, knew nothing of hockey when he came over to Canada, but he became intrigued when saw some neighborhood kids playing on a local pond and on the streets. Although he didn't know much English or how to skate, he soon fell in love with the game.

He would soon join organized hockey and develop into one of the top prospects in the game. As a teenager he would join Chicago's junior team in St. Catherines. Following an outstanding junior career with Tee Pees, Mikita would star in the NHL for 22 seasons as a center for the Hawks from 1958 to 1980.

Described as hockey's ultimate playmaker, his skill and finesse game was often overlooked by his vicious stick work and aggression. Hall of Fame defenseman Bill Gadsby once described Mikita as "a miserable little pain in the butt. He'd cross-check you, he'd spear you in the belly. You'd be going around the back of the net, and he'd spear you in the calf. Down you'd go."

Despite that reputation, never doubt just how a great of player he was.

His coach, Billy Reay, was understandably a big fan of Mikita.

"I have to say that I have never seen a better center. Maybe some could do one thing better than Stan, like skating faster or shooting harder. But none of them could do all the things that a center has to do as well as Stan does. And very few of them came close to being as smart as he is. He's about the brightest hockey player I've ever seen. He's a hard nosed hockey player. One of his biggest assets is that he has got a lot of pride."

Mikita didn't exactly set the league on fire in his first two seasons in the NHL, but did show nice creativity with Bobby Hull as the Hawks emerged from their decade long doldrums in the early 1960s. By the playoffs of 1961, Mikita led all goal scorers with six and was a key reason behind the franchise's first Stanley Cup win since 1938.

The following season Mikita emerged as an elite NHL skater as he joined new linemates Ken Wharram and Ab McDonald on the original Scooter Line. That year he scored 77 points and was voted onto the NHL First All-Star Team. Mikita enjoyed an outstanding post-season with 21 points in 12 games, however the Hawks failed to repeat as Cup champs when Toronto beat them in the finals.

In 1963-64, he won his first Art Ross Trophy with 89 points and duplicated the feat the next year with 87 points despite accumulating a career high 154 PIMs. By this time, Doug Mohns had replaced McDonald on the Scooter Line and helped the unit attain even greater heights. In 1964-65, the team also reached its third Stanley Cup finals of the decade but the Hawks lost to the Montreal Canadiens.

Mikita would soon prove his greatness. Playing in his 8th NHL season, Stan Mikita turned in one of the greatest seasons in NHL history in 1966-67, becoming the first player to capture three major individual trophies. Not only did he win his third league scoring title, tying the then-NHL single season record of 97 points and setting a new high mark with 62 assists, he also captured the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player. Unexpectedly, at least prior to the start of the season, Mikita, one of the NHL's top hatchet men, won the Lady Byng trophy for gentlemanly play and sportsmanship. Straddled with a well deserved reputation for dirty play, "Stosh" had always been among the league leaders in penalty minutes, registering four 100 PIM seasons. But Mikita vowed to change his ways when his young daughter could not understand why he played that way.

While some pundits of the day championed Mikita's amazing season as the most dominant in NHL history, many simply couldn't fathom what he had accomplished. Mikita proved his season was no fluke, repeating the same trophy hat trick in 1967-68. Mikita's scoring title was his 4th in 5 seasons.

An 8 time all star, Mikita is the Blackhawks all time leading scorer with 541 goals, 926 assists and 1467 points in 1394 games. A serious back injury in 1969 would hamper Mikita's play for the remainder of his career, but he was always capable of a spectacular night.

One of his favorite memories in hockey would have to be the 1972 Summit Series. Though the cagey veteran would get into only two games against the Soviets, he had his own unforgettable moment two days after Paul Henderson's famous goal. After leaving Moscow Canada was slated to play an exhibition game in Prague against the Czechoslovakian national team. Named captain for the game, Mikita enjoyed an emotional homecoming. For the first time in his long career he was able to play before his parents and siblings. He had visited his family several times once he could afford the expensive trip thanks to professional hockey, but had never performed in front of his family.

In retirement, Mikita started the Stan Mikita Hockey School for the Hearing Impaired.


Charlie Gardiner

Charlie Gardiner was Chicago's first hockey superstar. He led them to the top of the league and eventually their first Stanley Cup in 1934 and put hockey on the map in the Windy City.

Born in Scotland in 1904, the Gardiner family moved to Winnipeg when Charlie was 7. It was in Winnipeg where he discovered two sports that loved - hockey and trap shooting. While playing with the amateur Winnipeg Maroons, the Chicago Black Hawks, who were the League's cellar-dwellers, found the goalie that would turn them into champions.

Though Gardiner's play was spectacular, the turnaround was far from immediate. In his rookie campaign, 1927-28, Chicago finished dead last and Gardiner led the league in losses with 32. As a sophomore Gardiner lost a league high 29 games despite a 1.93 GAA. The Hawks won only 7 games. But Gardiner continued to play with unbreakable spirit, and earning high praise despite the statistics. The great Howie Morenz once claimed "Bonnie Prince Charlie" was the toughest goalie to score upon.

The Hawks continued to struggle as the 1930s progressed, but Gardiner emerged to become what many people feel was the best goalie of his day. He posted 42 shutouts and 2.02 GAA in 7 seasons. He won the Vezina Trophy in 1932 and 1934 and was named to 4 All Star Teams. He played with a team that offered very little offensive support (the whole team scored only 33 goals in 44 games in 1928-29). But Gardiner's play, much like that of Dominik Hasek years later with Buffalo, made the team a contender to reckon with.

Gardiner's finest moment came in the 1934 playoffs, as "Smiling Charlie" advanced the Hawks to the Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit. This despite the fact that Gardiner was feeling quite ill at the time. Unbeknownst to him or his doctors, Gardiner had long suffered from a chronic tonsil infection. The disease had spread and had begun to cause uremia convulsions. Undaunted, Gardiner pressed on as winning the Stanley Cup had become an obsession with him. Though playing in body-numbing pain, the Hawks prevailed over the Wings. He permitted only 12 goals in 8 playoff games - a 1.50 GAA.

A well liked and jovial fellow, Gardiner served as the Blackhawks captain, a rarity for a goalie even when it was allowed. Before the decisive 4th game, the "Roving Scotsman" showed his leadership and reportedly told his teammates that they would only need to score one goal that night. Sure enough, the game had gone into double overtime at a 0-0 tie. Suffering from growing fatigue, Gardiner was weakening considerably as the game went on. But he managed to hold the Red Wings scoreless until Chicago's Mush March finally scored.

The Hawks hoisted their first Stanley Cup, but Gardiner, the only goalie to captain a Cup champion, was just as happy he could escape the ice and collapse in the dressing room. A few weeks later Gardiner underwent brain surgery after suffering a massive brain hemorrhage. Unfortunately complications from the surgery would cost him his life on June 13, 1934.

Had Gardiner been healthy enough to continue his career, he undoubtedly would be looked upon as one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey history. As it is, he persevered with an incredibly weak team and, with championship effort, he led them to the Stanley Cup in his short 7 year career.

That championship effort landed Gardiner into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.


Earl Seibert

Earl Seibert was born on December 7, 1911. He is the son of Hall of Famer Oliver Seibert.

In 1931 Siebert was traded from Springfield of the Canadian - American Hockey League to the New York Rangers. In New York he was part of the outstanding defensive corps that included Ching Johnson, Doug Brennan and Ott Heller. Seibert quickly developed into a star on the blue line. In 1933 Seibert helped the NY Rangers win the Stanley Cup.

Seibert quickly emerged as a no-nonsense defender with a reputation as among the toughest in the game. His arrival allowed the Rangers to replace Taffy Abel, another monster on the blue line, who they moved to Chicago a couple of years earlier. Seibert was paired with Abel's defense partner, the sinister Ching Johnson, quickly reinstating New York's ultra-aggressive back line.

Johnson was happy to play with the 6'2" 220lb Seibert.

“Let’s put it this way, no one wanted any part of ‘Si’ in a fight. Even Eddie Shore (Boston) and Red Horner (Toronto) steered clear of him, and Shore and Horner were considered the toughest guys in the League at the time," said Johnson.

But Seibert was much more than just a rearguard roughian. He was a great shot blocker, and he was a far better skater and puck handler than the departed Abel. Seibert rarely gets remembered as the excellent hockey player that he was. Between 1934-35 and 1943-44, he made the All Star team 10 seasons in a row, six times on the first squad and four times on the second squad. Some old timers insist only Eddie Shore was better.

Seibert's hulking presence must have made it easy for fans to spot him on the ice, although he wore a special piece of equipment that made it even easier for them. After suffering a serious concussion in Springfield, he permanently wore a helmet, making him the first NHLer to do so.

Though he was intimidating and unforgiving, most of the time Seibert was very clean. That is why it is unfortunate that he is remembered for one hit in particular. On January 28, 1937 Siebert cross checked Howie Morenz from behind, sending the Montreal Canadiens' superstar sliding feet first into the end boards. Morenz crumpled in pain and Seibert fell on top of his helpless leg, breaking it in four places. Morenz would never skate again, and six weeks later the great Howie Morenz died.

By this time Seibert was playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. In 1935-36 Siebert was traded, due largely to his multiple contract disputes with the Rangers, to Chicago for Art Coulter. He played a huge role in what was his second Stanley Cup championship in 1938. It was an unexpected, Cinderella run to the championship by Chicago.

Seibert was exiled to Detroit in the 1944-45 season, for Cully Simon, Don Grosso and Byron McDonald. It was said that previous owner Major McLaughlin had given Seibert a percentage of ownership in the team, but once McLaughlin died, manager Bill Tobin wouldn't recognize the deal and banished him to the Motor City. Seibert would play through 1946 before retiring as a player.

Earl Siebert finished his career with 645 games played, 89 goals and 187 assists for 276 points and 746 PIM. In 1964 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining his father and becoming the first father-son combination to achieve such distinction.

In his post-hockey career, Seibert owned and operated a liquor store in Agawam, Massachusetts. He died at the age of 79, succumbing to cancer.


Doug Bentley

Doug Bentley only weighed in at an amazing 145 pounds, but his speed, anticipation and heart made up for any shortcomings his diminutive stature forced upon him.

Doug was united with his flashy brother Max and Bill Mosienko on one of the NHL's all-time great forward lines - the Pony Line. All three scored more than 200 goals during their NHL careers, with Doug Bentley getting 219 and winning a scoring title in 1942-43 while tying the then-league record 79 points in a season. In that season he once scored 5 points in a single game, then a NHL record. The following season Bentley again challenged the record with 77 points, but finished second in the scoring race to Herb Cain who set a new record with 82 points.

A 3 time First All Star team (1943, 1944, 1947) and 1 time Second All Star (1949) left winger, Doug was given a very special award when a Chicago newspaper voted him the Half-Century Award as Chicago's best player.

Interestingly, Doug missed the entire 1944-45 season due to problems crossing the US-Canada border. Prior to the NHL season the Hawks were in Canada to play an exhibition game. When they went home, border guards refused to allow Doug Bentley to leave. He was forced to stay for the entire hockey season.

While Max Bentley is considered to be the best of the hockey playing Bentley brothers (Reggie also play in Chicago, briefly on a line with his siblings. He only played 11 games total though), Doug proved to be the ultimate replacement for Mighty Max when the Hawks shocked the hockey world and split up the brother act, sending Max to Toronto in 1947. Doug ended up moving from left wing to center to pivot a new line with Mosienko and Roy Conacher. In his first full season as a center he led the league in assists while finishing 3rd in the scoring race, clearly proving he could excel without his brother.

Doug quit hockey after only 8 games in 1951-52 in order to return to Saskatchewan as coach of the WHL Saskatoon Quakers, but did return for one final NHL season with the New York Rangers in 1953-54. He was reunited with brother Max in the Big Apple for that season. The brothers combined for 8 points in their first game back in New York.

Doug never did get his named engraved on Lord Stanley's Mug, but hockey is forever grateful for his contributions to the game. After retiring as a player in 1954, he remained active as a scout and coach.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964, Doug Bentley quietly passed away on Nov. 24, 1972.


Al Secord

He took over from Bobby Hull as the Blackhawks 50 goal scorer. At the same time he took over from Keith Magnuson as the Hawks enforcer and heart and soul. It sounds like almost the perfect combination for a hockey player. For a couple of seasons in the 1980s, Al Secord was that player.

In Cam Neely-like fashion, Secord could hurt you two ways - with his goals, or with his fists. Playing on Chicago's "Party Line" with Denis Savard and Steve Larmer, Secord scored 40 goals three times, including 54 in 1982-83. At the same time he was a hard crashing forechecker and a feared fighter.

Secord started out in Boston after being drafted from the Memorial Cup champion Hamilton Fincups, where he played both left wing and defense. He was as strong as they come at that age, taking boxing lessons and working as forest fire fighter in the summers. The Big Bad Bruins seemed like the perfect fit for the belligerent Secord, but he never really got untracked in Beantown.

Secord quickly found out the Bruins didn't draft him for his playing skills, but rather for his zest for the physical game. He quickly established himself as a Don Cherry favorite, right along side the likes of Terry O'Reilly, John Wensink and Stan Johnathan, often playing on a line with O'Reilly and Peter McNab. He had memorable fights with Paul Stewart, Clark Gillies, Dave Hutchison and his career long nemesis Willi Plett. He also was one of the Bruins who got into it with fans at Madison Square Gardens.

"Terry O'Reilly was hit by a spectator and O'Reilly went to the stands with Stan Jonathan. They catched the guy who had hit O'Reilly, but there were three brothers with their father and they all attacked our guys. While they had their own fight going, one guy tried to escape and was running up the stairs but Peter McNab caught him and pulled him down, right between the benches. I went and pummeled the guy while Mike Milbury was beating the guy with his own shoe. Seven Bruins-players were sued and one million dollars was asked from every one of us as a compensation. Later on, the case folded somehow," explained Secord in an interview with After The

He didn't get a lot of playing time in Boston, but still managed to score 16 and 23 goals, respectively, in his two full seasons there. He always had to work hard for whatever ice time he did get. That focus became extremely trying during the 1980-81 season. He was a regular scratch or a 4th line player, picking up 0 goals and 3 assists in 18 games. He was even demoted to the minors for a short stint.

Fortunately for Secord, the Chicago Blackhawks were interested in the hulking winger. A week before Christmas, the Hawks traded defenseman Mike O'Connell to the Bruins for Big Al.

Secord's first full season in Chicago, 1981-82, was his break out year. Playing on left wing with superstar Denis Savard, Secord scored 44 goals and 75 points, while amassing an amazing 303 penalty minutes.

"I was playing with Denis Savard regularly. My presence gave him more time to operate on ice and I got more ice-time than ever before. I played really physical game that year and I fought quite a bit. Even though I had a lot of penalty minutes that year, I never thought I got penalties because of my reputation. The referees respected me and I respected them."

Secord took his game to the next level in the 1982-83 season, becoming only the 2nd Blackhawk player to score 50 goals. He finished with 54 goals, 20 of them on the power play, and 86 points. With his obvious scoring importance, he toned his fighting game down, and picked up only 180 PIMs.

Yet somehow Secord felt he could have been even better that season.

"Steve Larmer came to our line. Me and Denis Savard were very fortunate to have Steve Larmer. We were a solid line. I didn't have that much penalty minutes, because our coach asked me not to fight so often. Actually, even though I scored well, I felt like I didn't play the way I was supposed to play. I was also told not to hit guys so often. I needed to play physical, and I didn't. It's big part of my game, to be on the other guys skin. When I hit a guy and the crowd starts chanting, it brings energy to me and to my team-mates. And I was missing that element. It felt strange."

Secord still had some memorable fights. In Chicago the southpaw had a real war going with the Hawk's natural arch rivals from Minnesota. Big Willi Plett joined that team, and Basil McRae was another regular combatant. He also had numerous bouts with Larry Playfair, and knocked out tough guy wannabe Kim Clackson in one punch.

Former teammate Terry Ruskowski had was glad Secord was on his team.

"Secord was very strong in the corners. He intimidated a lot of people and because of his presence he got the puck. In front of the net he got a lot of deflections. Guys were scared to move him out because if they cross-checked him or hit him too hard, Al was coming back to get revenge on them.

"A lot of people thought Al was just a tough guy who couldn't play. He worked hard in the corner, he had a very good shot, and he was strong on his skates. With Savard, he

After a 50 goal season and 2nd consecutive all star game nod, all seemed to go well with Secord's career. But then disaster struck when he was forced to deal with a serious injury. He missed all but 19 games with torn abdominal muscles. The season after that he missed considerable time with pulled muscles in his thigh. Doctors determined the two serious injuries were related as Secord had one leg that was measurably shorter than the other.

Secord returned to a full 80 game season in 1985-86, and even hit the 40-goal mark for once more. In one game he equaled the NHL record for fastest 4 goals by one player, scoring on 4 shots in 8:24. But the injury continued to hamper him, affecting both his skating and his conditioning. He would spend only one more season in Chicago.

Secord was traded to Toronto in 1987-88, spending a season and a half with the hapless Leafs. It was a real tough time for Secord, who was in real pain from his injuries. Disappointed that he was the Secord of a few years ago, the Leafs made him a frequent scratch, and when he did play he was utilized strictly as a tough guy. That came to an end when the badly injured Secord was horribly mismatched against a young gunslinger for the Islanders named Mick Vukota. Vukota kayoed Secord, the only man to do so.

Secord would move on to Philadelphia before returning to Chicago to wind down his NHL career. He would play on for a couple more years with the IHL's Chicago Wolves, but he simply had to quit because of the pain of his injuries, and probably should have done so some time sooner.

He retired with, including playoffs, 294 career goals and 550 points. His PIM total was 2475 minutes, over 41 hours spent in the penalty box.

Now outside of hockey, Secord has been able to find a second career that he is equally as passionate about. Back in his youth he had spent summers fighting forest fires in Ontario, often while in an airplane. This sparked a life long obsession with flight. Secord had gained his pilot's license while still playing in the NHL, and now he acquired his license to fly commuter jumbo jets both in USA and Canada. Now based out of Dallas, Texas, he currently works for American Airlines.


Keith Magnuson

Without doubt, Keith Magnuson is one of the most memorable Chicago defensemen of all time.

Keith Magnuson was born on April 27, 1947, in Wadena, Saskatchewan, the son of an insurance salesman. He grew up dreaming of playing in the National Hockey League, which made his chosen route all the more unlikely. Magnuson played college hockey at the University of Denver, where he helped the Pioneers to the NCAA championship in 1968 and 1969.

At that time it was extremely rare for a college player to make the NHL. The best bet was through the junior hockey systems. One of the reasons Keith chose Denver was because childhood best friend Cliff Koroll was also going there. Both would graduate to the become mainstays with the Chicago Blackhawks. Jim Wiste, briefly a Hawk, also played at the U of D.

"I brought Maggy to the University of Denver the year after I got there and I was responsible for keeping him there," Koroll said. "We knew each other for 45 years."

The fiery and emotional Magnuson was a mainstay on defense for the Blackhawks from 1969 to 1979, signing as a free agent. He was probably best known for his willingness to drop the gloves at any time, and with anybody. He still holds the Blackhawks team record for penalty minutes in a career, with 1,442.

He was hulking aggressor, almost too proud to be the Blackhawk's chief.

"That symbol, the Indian warrior, meant more to Maggy than to anyone else I've ever known," Troy Murray, a longtime Hawk from a more recent era.

The "Red Headed Barbarian" would take on all comers, no matter how many times he was beaten down. He had memorable battles with Bobby Orr and Dave "The Hammer" Schultz.

"Maggy told me about the time we were playing Philadelphia," said Murray. "The Flyers were a pretty bad bunch and we were winning big. 'Every Flyer who came over the boards wanted to fight Maggy. Back in those days, you could go from fight to fight. Anyway, Maggy would fight one guy, get through, and there would be another guy waiting for him. He would finish and it would be 'Next.' ''

But as tough as Keith was on the ice, off the ice he was always a gentleman. He would often stay late after games to sign autographs for anybody who wanted one.

"Maggie typified the spirit of Blackhawk hockey, which the Chicago fans appreciated. He was not a dirty player who took cheap shots, even though he piled up penalty minutes that would amount to a total of more than two dozen games in his career," wrote Harvey Wittenberg, author of "Tales From The Chicago Blackhawks."

In his first season, 1969-70, Magnuson and fellow collegiate stars Koroll, Jim Wiste, and Tony Esposito, helped turn the last place Hawks to 1st place. Magnuson set a Hawk record for penalty minutes in his rookie campaign. He never scored a goal that year, and would only score 14 in his career.

The Hawks fortunes continued to rise dramatically in the early 1970s. In both 1971 and 1973 the Hawks advanced to the Stanley Cup finals, finishing just short each time.

Keith played all of his 589 games for the Blackhawks before retiring due to knee injuries in 1979. But his career with the Blackhawks didn't end there. Magnuson went on to become an assistant coach under Eddie Johnston, before being hired as the Hawks' head coach in 1980. Keith had limited success as a head coach, compiling a 49-57-26 record in 132 games, but there was little doubt that he gave everything he had to the Blackhawks organization.

Upon retirement he continued to live in the Chicago area and worked as an executive for Coca-Cola. He helped establish the Blackhawks alumni association, and made frequent guest appearances at hockey events and various functions.

On December 15th, 2003, at the early age of 56, Keith Magnuson died in an automobile accident in Vaughan, Ontario. Magnuson was returning from the funeral of former NHL player Keith McCreary, when his car, driven by former NHLer Rob Ramage, was part of a three car collision just south of Toronto. Ramage faced three charges, including impaired driving causing death, which had a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Ramage still awaits trial.

"His death was the worst thing to happen -- not just to me, but everybody who knew this wonderful, funny, unselfish man, husband and parent," says Koroll. "I spent 15 hours at Cindy's house with her, son Kevin and daughter Molly after the accident. Not an hour goes by that I don't think of him."


Bill Mosienko

It is said that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. Bill Mosienko only had 21 seconds.

Bill Mosienko holds an amazing NHL record that likely will never be matched. On March 23, 1952, Mosienko scored three goals in a 21 second time frame! And legend has it he actually missed what should have been an easy goal just afterwards, thus preventing him from scoring 4 goals in less than one minute! All three goals were assisted by Gus Bodnar, and they came in the third period helping the Hawks get by Lorne Anderson and the New York Rangers by a final score of 7-6.

The following day's issue of the New York Times suggests Rangers fans at Madison Square Gardens were immediately appreciative of this display of greatness.

"The crowd of 3,254 cheered Mosienko with a volume that seemed to come from twice that number when the record breaking accomplishment was announced," and that "Anderson might have stopped Mosienko on the Hawk star's first shot, an open thrust from the center alley. But the second and third shots were neatly executed, and could have fooled any goalie in the league."

"That record will never be broken. Never," suggested Hall of Fame teammate Bill Gadsby. "It was just fantastic, it was damn near the same play off the face-off each one. He could really skate. he could really fly and he scored those three goals. I mean, it was unbelievable just to watch it!"

Obviously Mosienko was quite pleased with the feat.

"It was quite an accomplishment, I hope (the record) stays. After I scored the third goal, Jim Peters skated up to me and told me to keep the puck because I had set a new record. I was very happy and proud. It was like being on cloud nine."

His achievements have been overshadowed, for better or worse, by that amazing performance, but he was much more than just the answer of an excellent trivia question. A Hall of Fame player, Mosienko was a talented and solid right winger on the "Pony Line" with the brothers Bentley, Max and Doug. Together they were one of the greatest lines in hockey history.

In his 14 year career spent exclusively with the Chicago Blackhawks, Mosienko tallied 258 goals and 282 assists. He was the recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy in 1945 as the most sportsmanlike player. Although he and the "Pony Line" made Chicago a true Stanley Cup contender for many seasons, the two time All Star never did have his named engraved on the Stanley Cup.

After retiring, the Manitoba native went home to Winnipeg where he operated Billy Mosienko Lanes, a bowling alley, for many years.


Lou Jankowski

Not many sources reporting it, but former NHLer Lou Jankowski died on Saturday. He was 78.

Jankowski played 130 NHL games with the Red Wings and Blackhawks back in the 1950s. He lived his later years in Florida where he was a regular at Tampa Bay Lightning games.

Lou played only briefly in the NHL, spending just 130 games of his nearly 20-year career. This despite a record breaking junior career with the Oshawa Generals that saw him set league records with 124 points, including 65 goals, in 1950-51.

As a youngster in the early 1950s he was buried in a very deep Detroit Red Wings team, the Stanley Cup champions at the time. He only got into 23 Red Wings games before joining lowly Chicago in 1953.

Jankowski played a season and a half with the Black Hawks before being sent to the minor leagues where he emerged as a star scorer, first with the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL and then with the Calgary Stampeders of the WHL. He would total five consecutive 40 goal campaigns, including a WHL record 57 goals in 1960-61.

Jankowski, a versatile forward who played center and right wing, was named league MVP that season and seemed set in Calgary. Then he shocked everyone by announcing he was leaving the game and going back to his farm in Simcoe, Ontario. The Stamps convinced him to come back by training camp though. He would play until 1969, also playing with the Victoria Maple Leafs, Phoenix Roadrunners and Denver Spurs.

He would serve as a long time scout for the NHL Central Scouting, the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers before retiring in 1993. He spent his golden years split between Calgary and Florida.


Max Bentley

One of the most exciting players of any era in National Hockey League was Max Bentley. He was nicknamed "The Dipsy Doodle Dandy" because of the way he zigged and zagged his way through an opposing team "like a scared jackrabbit." Several NHL old timers were quick to compare Wayne Gretzky upon his NHL debut to the electrifying Bentley. Others favor the modern day comparison of Denis Savard or Gilbert Perreault.

Although he was puny at just 5' 8" and 155 pounds, Bentley quickly learned to use his superior skating abilities to survive the rough and tough NHL. He was also brilliant with the puck. He could stickhandle through a maze of players at top speed - a true rarity in any era. He was a deft passer and had a laser like wrist shot.

Bentley credited his incredible wrist shot to his farm chores back home in Delisle, Saskatchewan. His father would tell him that milking cows would make his wrists strong, and in turn would provide him with an excellent shot.

The Bentleys, like most western Canadian farming families, worked hard to earn their living but relished athletics almost as much. Bill, the father better known as "Boss," was a blazing speedskater in his day, and taught all of thirteen his children to skate expertly. All 6 of his sons went on to star at various levels of hockey, including Max, Doug and briefly Reg in the NHL. Even the seven daughters formed a team that would often beat any local teams looking for a scrimmage, including the brothers.

In 1938 Max and Doug headed to Montreal to try out for the Canadiens. But Max became ill and upon further examination was diagnosed with a severe heart condition. He was told to never play hockey again in order to maintain a normal and long life.

Max returned to the farm and initially followed the doctor's orders, which left him miserable as could be. Eventually, with the encouragement of his wife Betty, he returned to the rinks and joined 5 of his brothers with the Drumheller Miners of the Alberta Senior Hockey League.

Doug got another training camp invite, this time with the Chicago Black Hawks. Doug stuck with the Hawks and impressed immediately. The following season, 1940-41, Max got an invite and also made the team.

Almost from the get-go the Bentley brothers took the Windy City by storm. Originally paired with Bill Thoms, the dynamic duo became the terrific trio once Bill Mosienko joined the Bentleys on the top line. Using their great speed and intricate passing plays, they became known as "The Pony Line." They patterned themselves after their heroes Frank Boucher and Bill and Bun Cook. Both the Pony Line and the Rangers "A Line" have been compared in modern terms to the great Soviet Red Army teams of the 1970s and 1980s.

Not including the two years he missed for military duty, Max enjoyed 5 seasons in Chicago. However it was his two year stint following WWII duties (1945-1947) that Max really asserted himself as one of the game's elite. Nicknamed the "Dipsy Doodle Dandy from Delisle," Max won the Hart Trophy (1945-46), the Art Ross Trophy (1945-46 and 1946-47) and was voted to the first All-Star team (1945-46) and second All Star team (1946-47).

Despite the Pony Line's success, the Black Hawks were never able to acquire enough depth to become true contenders in the competitive 6 team NHL. So on November 4, 1947, they went looking for depth, and sacrificed Max Bentley to get it. In one of the biggest trades in all of hockey history the Hawks sent Bentley to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 5 players - an entire forward unit consisting of Gaye Stewart, Gus Bodnar and Bud Poile, plus defensive pairing Ernie Dickens and Bob Goldham.

Max was initially heartbroken about the trade, and NHL insiders didn't understand why the Leafs gave up such a big part of their team to get just the one player - even if it was the great Max Bentley. The trade would quickly backfire on the Hawks instead and stands as one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history. The Hawks floundered without Max, missing the playoffs for the next several years.

Meanwhile in Toronto, Max was a key player in three Stanley Cup championships (1948, 1949 and 1951). Playing on a much deeper team (Max had to share ice time with fellow centers Syl Apps - who retired in 1948 - and Teeder Kennedy), Max never posted the same offensive statistics during the regular season in Toronto. However come playoff time he was unstoppable - twice leading all scorers in assists and once in points.

Max, who often played with Joe Klukay and Nick Metz (then Ray Timgren after Metz's retirement), was a fan favorite in Toronto. Perhaps his greatest moment as a Maple Leaf came final game of the 1951 Cup finals against Montreal. With the Canadiens up 2-1 in the dying seconds, the Leafs pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker. Bentley managed to manoeuvre his way right into the slot and set up Sid Smith who in turn hit the goal post. Tod Sloan was there to make sure the game headed into overtime. The Leafs won the game - and the Cup - in the extra frame, thanks to the heroics of Bill Barilko.

Bentley's career was winding down by 1953, but he wanted to end his career by once again playing with his brother Doug. The two reunited briefly with the New York Rangers before both waved good bye to the NHL, and returned to Saskatchewan until his death in 1984.

Fittingly, both Max and Doug Bentley are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.


Fred Sasakamoose: Chief Running Deer

It is believed that Fred Saskamoose was the first full blooded Native Indian to play in the National Hockey League. It was fitting that he played with the Chicago Blackhawks. Fred played center for 11 games for the Hawks in the 1953-54 season.

Fred grew up on the isolated Sandy Lake Reserve in Saskatchewan. In his early years there was no such things as cars, phones or even electricity! But there was lots of snow and ice, and Fred loved to play hockey - complete with a stick carved out of an old willow tree branch!

Fred soon left the reserve though, as the Catholic church convince his parents that he needed a good education, and that could only be accomplished by leaving the reserve and going to Duck Lake. While education wasn't high on Fred's task list, he became a great athlete as the clergy worked the children hard on the local farms. Fred would be in great physical shape before long after he and the others had to take care of 80 milking cows and 50 acres of gardens at the school, not to mention lots of sports - soccer, baseball, boxing, but especially hockey.

Fred had enough by the age of 15 though and yearned to be at home with his parents. He left the school and returned to the reserve. But by this time he had already gotten quite a name for himself as a hock talent at the midget level, and this had caught the eyes of junior hockey scouts. Although he was reluctant to leave home again, he agreed to join the the Moose Jaw Canucks.

Fred continued to develop and excel as a hockey over the next 4 seasons. By his 4th season he was named as the best player in the league.

By this time Fred had already signed a C-Form with the Chicago Blackhawks. A C-Form was used to acquire an amateur player's professional rights in the days long before the NHL had an entry draft. Fred had actually attend Blackhawk training camps in the past. In fact on one occasion he centered hockey's most culturally diverse line - Al Laycock, a Black left winger and Jimmy Chow, of Asian descent, joined the Native Canadian.

Late in his 4th season in Moose Jaw Fred was actually called up to the National Hockey League by the Chicago Blackhawks, and  finished the year with the Hawks. Fred was as strong as a moose and a great skater. Legend has it that he actually shot the puck harder than Bobby Hull - the great Chicago Blackhawk who is considered to be the heaviest shooter of all time!

For Fred the whole experience was at first overwhelming, but he later took in as much as he could. He was in shock to arrive in Toronto, and then when the game started he couldn't believe how many people were there watching the game, and that after years of listening to games on radio and tv, he too would be part of Hockey Night In Canada! He even met Foster Hewitt, who asked how to properly pronounce his name.

Fred took his place in the NHL for granted a bit and was surprised by his demotion to the minor leagues in 1954-55. He played for the New Westminister Royals and Chicoutimi Sagueneens before joining the Calgary Stampeders of the WHL in 1955-56. He would never make it back to the National Hockey League.

Fred quit the pro hockey only 2 games into the '55-56 season as he wanted to be with his wife who refused to leave the Sandy Lake Reserve. Tired of being told what to do my hockey bosses, Fred took a taxi 600 miles from Calgary to Sandy Lake to be with his wife.

Angry at Fred's leaving, the Hawks refused to grant him his amateur status until 1957. He would play senior hockey in the Okanagan Senior Hockey League. He was quite the attraction as fans wanted to see a former NHLer and an Indian hero.

Saskamoose would later go on to become a band chief in 1980. His name was "Chief Running Deer" although he was also known as "Chief Thunder Stick" because of his booming slap shot. Fred devoted his energies to Indian affairs in Saskatchewan.

Fred Saskamoose, one of best men in all of Canada, played 11 games with the Hawks, recording no points and 6 penalty minutes. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Indian Hall of Fame in 1994.


Ed Belfour

Eddie Belfour will always be remembered in two ways. 1) As one of hockey's all time great goaltenders, and 2) as a prickly personality.

Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour has a tremendous resume with a Stanley Cup championship (1999), a Canada Cup title (1991), Olympic Gold Medal (2002), 2 Vezina trophies, 4 Jennings trophies, 1 Calder, 484 career wins (3rd best all time), 76 shutouts (9th all time).

As he enters the Hockey Hall of Fame now it is hard believe Belfour almost never made it to the NHL. He was undrafted out of the University of North Dakota. But Belfour, a devoted disciple of Vladislav Tretiak (hence jersey number 20), was hockey's most determined man.

That determination not only got him a chance at the NHL, but carried him to one hockey's greatest careers and now all the way to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

For all his popularity for what he accomplished on the ice, Eddie Belfour was misunderstood as one of hockey's bad guys off of it.

"Eddie was a unique teammate. Socially, he probably wasn't real tight with anybody, but we all admired the seriousness he took at this position. He prepared himself. He was the first guy there and the last guy to leave," Joe Nieuwendyk told

Belfour's legendary determination often meant needed solitary focus to be at his best. If things were not quite to his liking, his rough edges would show, including temper tantrums on and off the ice.

"But we accepted it because we knew the type of goalie that we had," Nieuwendyk continued."We knew the competitor he was. He was maybe the best biggest-game goaltender I ever played with."

Nieuwendyk would know. The two were instrumental in Dallas' Stanley Cup victory in 1999. Nieuwendyk may have won the Conn Smythe Trophy and Brett Hull may have scored the famous (infamous?) goal but think about what Belfour had to do. In the 1999 playoffs Belfour beat Grant Fuhr, Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek to win the Stanley Cup.

ESPN's Scott Burnside may have said it best when he said:
"Whatever the motivation was -- the desire to prove people wrong, the desire to be loved or needed -- Belfour focused all of his energies into preparing to win. And though he was demanding of his teammates, he saved his greatest demands for himself."


Denis Savard

Denis Savard is one of the most electrifying players in the history of hockey, and almost certainly the most exciting of his era. That is quite a claim considering Savard played in an era that boasted the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. The Great One and Super Mario left crowds wowed and thinking "Did I just see that?!" but they couldn't pull the fans out of their seat quite like Denis Savard.

Savard was one of the quickest players in the league, with tremendous one step acceleration. He was so fun to watch as he'd dart in and out of danger, rapidly change directions, and even perfect the "Savardian Spin-a-rama" in which he'd do a full 360 degree turn while carrying the puck to protect it from checkers. His great skating was complimented nicely by his incredibly soft hands. He could stickhandle through an entire team and was an excellent playmaker. He was also a very good shooter, particularly with his laser-like wrist shot. He was also known for taking bad angle shots. He was a puny player in terms of size but he had a solid center of gravity that made him tough to knock off the puck if you were lucky enough to catch him.

Savard would put all of those qualities together and leave defensemen dizzy and fans amazed!

"Denis is one of those players who is not only a great hockey player but a player with charisma," explained Bob Pulford, the long time general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. "He's got that quality that keeps people coming out see him play."

Lou Nanne, then the general manager of the Hawks arch rival Minnesota North Stars, agreed.

"There just isn't a better skater in the league than Denis Savard. When Denis has the puck, he's got the ability to do a million things with it."

Of course Savard didn't think much of the idea that he was as much an entertainer as much as a hockey player. To him, he was just doing his job.

"I'm still surprised when people say I'm exciting to watch, even after all this time. Sometimes I'll try to put the puck between my legs or fake a pass, things like that. or maybe I spin a few times. It seems to make people talk. But mostly it's just instinct," Savard said. "I want to get the puck to a certain place, so I fake in and turn around on the defense because I feel the defense is confused. I don't do it to excite people. I know what I'm doing is different. I just don't know why."

Comparison's to the league's best player, Wayne Gretzky, were common.

"In my opinion, Savard is trickier than Gretzky. He moves better side to side than anybody in the league, and you never know what he will do when goes behind the net," said Vancouver Canuck goalie Richard Brodeur.

While comparison's to number 99 may be the ultimate compliment, style-wise, Savard and Gretzky were dissimilar. The essence of Savard's game is speed, agility and quickness. Gretzky' incomparable statistics have been attained mainly by an unmatched ability to foresee, comprehend and react to any given situation. Though he excelled alongside line mates Steve Larmer and Al Secord, Savard was more of a soloist than Gretzky.

"The Savardian spins and all the moves nobody else had . . . You can look at guys and try and learn their moves, but Denis was the inventor of the moves; he was the guy everyone else copied. In the middle of a play he'd come up with a new move. Just amazing," remembers coaching legend Dave King

Denis Savard was chosen by the Blackhawks' as their first-round pick (3rd overall) in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. Many were shocked that Denis fell past number one, as the Montreal Canadiens held the first pick. Savard, a Quebec native from Point Gatineau, was a junior standout with the Montreal Jr. Canadiens, and everyone expected the Habs would take perhaps the most exciting junior francophone since Guy Lafleur. Instead, the Habs took Doug Wickenheiser, who had an even better junior season than Savard, but would prove to be an ultimate draft bust.

Savard broke into the league immediately after being drafted and showed he belong, scoring 28 goals and 75 points during his rookie season, and went on to post 119 points the following year, making him the second Blackhawk to score 100+ points in a single season. He was named to the NHL All-Star second team during the 1982-83 season, when he compiled 35 goals and 86 assists in 78 games. Though he played 7 all star games, it would be the only time he'd be honored as a post season All Star member due largely to the logjam of great centers in the 1980s.

Following his third 100+ point season in 1984-85, Savard tallied a career-high 47 goals during the 1985-86 campaign. He tallied career highs in assists (87) and points (131) during the 1987-88 season. His 131-point outburst in 1987-88 is a Blackhawk record and his 87 assist seasons in 1981-82 and 1987-88 are also Blackhawk records.

"Savard basically turned the Chicago franchise around," remembers former teammate Bob Murray. The Hawks had long been also-rans in the NHL power rankings. Not unlike Bobby Hull in the 1960s or Tony Esposito in the 1970s, Denis Savard was the identity of a proud franchise

Those were great days in Chicago, but playoff success was not part of the puzzle.

"I had great years in Chicago. We had a number of shots at winning the Stanley Cup in my first 10 years, but we lost in the semifinals five times. The Edmonton Oilers - by far the best team in hockey at the time - stopped us from getting the job done, but getting that far was still a great thrill," said Denis in Chris McDonell's book For The Love Of The Game.

Once Iron Mike Keenan arrived in the Windy City, Savard's days were numbered. The two did not see eye to eye. So in 1990, after 10 seasons as Mr. Chicago Blackhawks, Savard was traded to, ironically, the Montreal Canadiens for Chris Chelios in 1990.

While Chelios would become a true star in Chicago, Savard played three seasons for the Habs, compiling 179 points in 210 games, and more importantly winning the Stanley Cup in 1993. He wasn't nearly as dynamic as he was in his heyday, but he remained a serviceable player, creating a much needed offensive spark at times.

Savard extended his career with a short stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning before returning to Chicago in a late season trade in 1995. He helped spark the Blackhawks in the 1995 Stanley Cup Playoffs, leading the team with 7goals, 11 assists, and 18 points as they advanced to the Conference Finals.

Savard would hang up the blades after the 1996-97 season. He had posted some of the greatest offensive numbers ever seen. 473 goals and 865 assists for 1338 points in 1196 games was good enough to get him elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.

Had it not been for Wayne Gretzky, perhaps Denis Savard would be recognized as the most electrifying and dominant player of the 1980s. Regardless, he is recognized as a Legend of the Ice.


Bobby Hull - The Golden Jet

Long before he joined the NHL, Bobby Hull was labeled a sure-fire NHL player. And he didn't disappoint anyone.

Although he didn't invent the slap shot, his uncanny accuracy and amazing power popularized the shot to this day. Goalies would cower when he wound up. Hull led the league in goal scoring in seven seasons. He scored an amazing 610 regular season goals, and over 300 more with the WHA's Jets. He was the first player to record more than 50 goals in one season (54); won the Art Ross Trophy three times, the Hart Trophy twice, the Lady Byng once, and the Lester Patrick Trophy once; Bobby also dominated all-star selections, being named to 10 first all-star teams, and 2 second teams. No wonder why Bobby is considered by many to be the best left winger in the history of the game.

Hull helped bring a Stanley Cup to Chicago, in 1961, as the Black Hawks beat the Detroit Red Wings four games to two. Hull, in his first Stanley Cup Finals, scored two goals in Game One, including the game-winner. The Black Hawks went to the finals twice more, losing in 1962 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and in 1965 to the Montreal Canadiens.

Hull represents a link to another era, when pro sports weren't such big businesses, when the innocence of the sport fostered unabashed adoration of idols. Hull, the charismatic, goal-scoring goodwill ambassador who throughout the 1960's simply was the Chicago Blackhawks, takes us back to another day, when it was so much easier to be young at heart.

"We played just for the sheer enjoyment. We made a boyhood dream come true to play in the NHL," he said. "That's all we wanted to do, to stay there, play the game and enjoy it. Hopefully, the fans enjoyed it.

"We had to make our own fun," Hull recalled. "We stayed together. We went out after games together. On the road, we went out after games together. By the time game-time came around, we didn't have to get to know one another. We spent so much time together we were one unit."

His blonde good looks and sparkling charisma combined with his on ice speed and swagger earned him the nickname "The Golden Jet." Oddly enough, Hull would become a Jet when he signed with Winnipeg of the WHA. Hull became hockey's first millionaire, and the WHA gained instant credibility. The NHL was left shocked as one of their elite attractions walked away to play for another league. Ironically hockey's era of innocence which Hull still represents suffered a severe wake up call.

In Winnipeg he starred for years with Swedish stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson. The NHL was furious with his WHA signing and tried legal action to block the move, and then punished Hull by leaving him off of the 1972 Summit Series Team Canada squad. And ironically, it was Winnipeg that opened up the wallets and started handing out big contracts in an effort to lure some of the games top players. Ironic because Winnipeg would lose the NHL version of the Jets in 1996 because they couldn't compete economically.

When the WHA merged with the NHL in 1979, Hull ended up with the Hartford Whalers, where he played one final season. In 1981 Hull, who scored 303 goals in the WHA, attended the New York Rangers training camp as a 42 year old. The Rangers also had Hedberg and Nilsson and were looking to recapture some WHA magic, but it was not meant to be.

Hull was hockey's faster skater (28.3 mph with puck, 29.7 without it) and had the hardest shot (once reportedly recorded at 118.3 mph, some 35 mph above the league average). He was hockey's ultimate hockey player, blending together the talents of his most famed predecessors - the speed of Howie Morenz, the goal scoring prowress of Maurice Richard, the strength and control of Gordie Howe - plus the looks and charisma of a movie star. Hull did more than any other player to popularize the game of hockey in the United States prior to Wayne Gretzky.

Stan Mikita, Hull's long time teammate once was quoted as saying "To say that Bobby is a great hockey player is to labor the point. He was all of that of course. But the thing I admired about him was the way he handled people. He always enjoyed signing autographs for fans and was a genuine nice guy."

Bobby Hull was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1983. One day Bobby's son Brett will join him in the Hall. Brett was Bobby's equivalent during the late 1980's and 1990s, though was overshadowed by Wayne Gretzky.


Chris Chelios

Chris Chelios was a skating contradiction. On one hand he was no-nonsense S.O.B but on the other he was a sentimental sap.

Chelios has fused these two character traits into a Hall of Fame hockey career. His emotional passion for hockey has created a hockey resume that leaves most jealous: A Stanley Cup championship with Montreal in 1986 and two more in Detroit in 2002 and 2008. Three Norris Trophies, four first-team NHL All-Star selections and eleven appearances in the All-Star game. He was the first American born defenseman to win the Norris Trophy. He became the first blueliner in Hawks history to lead his team in scoring. He also participated in Canada Cups, World Cups and in four Olympics.

You get no argument here that he is the greatest American born hockey player ever.

It certainly wasn't an easy journey to the NHL for the Chicago-born Chelios. His father came to Chicago from Greece and became somewhat of a rink rat at the old Chicago Stadium. His love for the game was passed on to Chris. Chelios started playing hockey in high school but by the age of 15 his family moved to San Diego.

Needless to say there wasn't many hockey opportunities in San Diego. He tried out for the University of San Diego hockey team but didn't make the team! He had all this raw ability but never had any coaching. So Chris left home and ventured to Canada. He eventually wound up in Moose Jaw. Playing under coach Larry Billows, Chelios showed great improvement over 2 years in Moose Jaw. He also caught the eye of the Canadiens, who picked him 40th overall in the 1981 draft.

He honed it further at University of Wisconsin and later with the United States National Team that represented the country at the 1984 Olympics. The Canadiens were very patient with their diamond in the rough and didn't rush him. He joined the Habs following the Olympics

Chelios spent seven seasons with Montreal, learning from the likes of Rick Green, Larry Robinson and Jacques Laperriere.

"Those were great years," Chelios says. "I listened and learned a lot."

Chelios developed a reputation as a talented and tireless player--logging heavy ice time--but was someone who had a hot temper and often took a stupid penalty. Entering the 1996-97 season, Chelios ranked 32nd all-time with 1,926 penalty minutes.

Chelios was traded to the Hawks on June 29, 1990, for Denis Savard, a move that proved mostly unpopular at the time because of Savard's popularity.

It was tough for Chelios to accept too.

``I should be the happiest guy in the world, but I`m really very sad about leaving Montreal,`` Chelios said. ``But it was once my dream to play in Chicago.``

Despite losing their favorite player in Savard, Hawks fans quickly embraced the fiery Chelios and his leadership abilities emerged. Soon enough he was named captain -- an honor he held with Montreal as well -- for the 1995-96 season.

Chelios never has taken his NHL job for granted. And he loved to play for Chicago. Before long he sounded totally different than the day he first arrived in Chicago.

"Every time I look back and see the position I'm in -- every single game -- I'm just as excited as I was the first game I ever played in," Chelios says. "I'm fortunate to be playing in my hometown and to be playing for the Blackhawks. To me, it's a great honor to play in the NHL and especially for the Blackhawks."

Sadly, the rebuilding Blackhawks traded Chelios on March 23, 1999 to the Detroit Red Wings. Chelios was aging and looking for a contract extension that the Hawks weren't willing to give.

"Never in my life did I imagine I would leave the Blackhawks and play for another team," an emotional Chelios said "It's not what I wanted."

Chelios in a Red Wings jersey soon did look right. He played in the Motor City for 10 more seasons, winning Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008.

Towards the end of the decade Chelios, an extreme fitness nut, openly mused with the idea of playing into his 50s, bettering Gordie Howe's amazing record of playing until the age of 52. His ice time was severely cut in Detroit, so in 2009-10 he moved on to Atlanta hoping to extend his career. But he could not make the lowly Thrashers team, playing in just 7 games and spending the rest of the season in the minor leagues.

It may have been a whimper of an end for one of hockey's greatest warriors. But he played on, for the love of the game.



Ron Murphy

Ron Murphy was a useful utility forward for nearly 900 NHL games. He was a Stanley Cup champion (1961) and a Memorial Cup champion (1952). But fans remember him mostly for an infamous and vicious stick-swinging incident with Montreal's Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion.

Murphy was just a youngster at the time, 20 years old and with the New York Rangers. The Rangers beat the visiting Habs 3-1 on the night of December 20, 1953, but the most memorable part of that game came in the second period.  Boom Boom Geoffrion took a two-handed swing with his stick, striking Murphy on the left side of his face, breaking his jaw and leaving him with a concussion. Murphy was also guilty of swinging his stick, though he never made contact thanks in part to the linesman holding on to this stick with one hand.

Geoffrion, who actually missed Murphy on his first swing but attacked again, was suspended for five games, as well as for any further matches between the two teams that season including the playoffs. Murphy, who shockingly got up and skated off the ice on his own that night, missed the remainder of the season.

Murphy obviously survived the incident and did return to the NHL. He went on to a lengthy career playing in 889 regular season games with the Rangers, Chicago, Detroit and Boston. He scored 205 goals, 274 assists and 479 points.

“Ron can skate and he plays good positional hockey,” said Ranges' teammate Harry Howell. “He was one of those players who seemed to get around 10 to 15 goals a year and never better."

As Howell later noted, Murphy's best years came in Chicago.

“But he really changed when he went to Chicago three years ago,” Howell continued. “He told me he was never happier."

Murphy played a nice role on Chicago's Stanley Cup winning team in 1961. He scored a career high 21 goals that year.



Keith Carney

Keith Carney was an honest, basic defenseman who made up for a lack of foot speed with his uncanny ability to take the shortest path to the action. The cerebral rearguard was like a world-class pool player on the ice - he knew all the angles of the game.

"Carney is so smart positionally," said San Jose analyst Drew Remenda. "He's been in the league for so long and he knows the ice. I've always thought that he was one of the most underrated guys in the league because he knows the ice well, knows the angles well, and is a physical player."

This came as no surprise to his teammates, especially the goalies who he helped out all night long.

"What he is able to do out there, most people would never notice," said Jean Sebastien Giguere, his teammate in Anaheim. "He’s always calm and patient with the puck. He never seems to get rattled."

Steady and consistent play were hallmarks of Carney’s career even before he became an NHL pro. For three seasons, the blueliner from Providence, Rhode Island was a major contributor at the University of Maine, logging significant ice time in each of his years with the Black Bears.

Dependable and durable, the strong jawed Carney caught the eye of scouts as the young kid with veteran poise that would be a sought after addition on any NHL club. The Buffalo Sabres got a steal when they picked him 76th overall back in 1988.

So why was Carney passed over until pick No. 76? For the same reasons he was overlooked much of his career.

Carney had no flash to his game at all. He was hard working "hockey player's hockey player" who was almost as unassuming on the ice as he was off of it. His skating limited his offensive game, and, despite good size at 6'1" and 220lbs, he was never a punishing bodychecker.

What he was a dependable and composed defenseman who rarely made a mistake in his own zone. He could be counted on heavily while defending a lead in the third period or in key situations like a penalty kill. Coaches love players like Carney because they know exactly what they will get from him and can trust him to get the job done.

Carney never really had a chance to play in Buffalo but he became a NHL regular in 1994 when he joined the Chicago Blackhawks. Over the next 5 years he established his reputation as a journeyman defender, often pairing along side Chris Chelios.

He would move on to play in Phoenix and Anaheim, where he may have gained his greatest fame for his strong play in the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs. He made brief appearances in Vancouver, Minnesota and Bern, Switzerland before retiring in 2009.

Keith Carney played in 1018 NHL games, scoring 45 career goals, 183 assists and 228 points.



Val Hoffinger

Who was the first Russian born player in the history of the National Hockey League? Here's a hint: it is not one of more modern Soviet players.

A lot of people believe the answer to be Chicago's Johnny Gottselig, who was born in Odessa, Russia but raised in Canada. Gottselig starred in the NHL from 1928 through 1945.

But the correct answer is another Chicago defenseman named Val Hoffinger. Hoffinger was born in Seltz, Russia but also raised in Canada. He only played in 28 games in the NHL, but he debuted in the 1927-28 season, beating Gottselig by just a smidge.

Hoffinger's life is quite the interesting story. He was certainly well travelled.

Born in Russia on New Year's day in 1903, he grew up in Salvador, Saskatchewan

Val Hoffinger will always be known as one of the most colourful athletes to come from Saskatchewan. Born on January 1, 1903, Hoffinger grew up in Salvador, Saskatchewan. He starred for the Saskatoon Sheiks before turning pro.

Unfortunately for Hoffinger, circumstances kept him in various minor hockey leagues and cities rather than the NHL. He did appear in 28 NHL contests, scoring just 1 lonely assist.

After retiring as a player in 1935  Hoffinger accepted a high paying offer to coach the German Olympic hockey team for the 1936 Olympics. He enjoyed coaching in Germany, but never intended on staying, especially given  the circumstances developing at that time.

The problem for Hoffinger was he was not allowed to take any of his earnings out of the country. So he decided he would leave with an education. He studied chiropody, better known today as podiatry, and became a foot doctor.

When Hoffinger returned to Canada in 1939 he open his practice in Toronto. Hoffinger became a foot doctor of the stars, so to speak, as he was the personal foot doctor to several movie stars including someone named Danny Kaye.

More interesting than that Hoffinger later married Bernice Scholls, daughter of the famous Dr. Scholls, and together they inherited the entire Scholls company.



Art Wiebe

For 10 seasons and over 400 NHL games Art Wiebe quietly patrolled the Chicago Blackhawks blue line. More often than not he and Earli Seibert formed an effective pairing.

From 1934 through 1944 Wiebe diligently took care of his own zone, rarely contributing much offensively. He scored a grand total of just 14 goals and 41 points in his career. 

Wiebe was also an excellent golfer and curler, winning amateur championships in both. After hanging up the blades Wiebe became the president of an oil drilling company while tending to his farm in Vermillion, Alberta. He originally retired from hockey to run a bakery in Vermillion.

Wiebe succumbed to cancer in 1971 at the age of 59.


Red Mitchell

World War II commitments depleted a lot of NHL rosters during the early 1940s. That opened up jobs for minor league players as fill-ins.

The Chicago Blackhawks blue line was particularly ravaged, and they sought out the help of veteran minor league tough guys like Leo Corbal, Joe Matte and Bill "Red" Mitchell among others.

Mitchell may have been the best of the bunch as he played in parts of three seasons, including most of the 1942-43 and 1944-45 seasons in Chicago. The Toronto born Mitchell scored 4 goals and 9 points in 82 career NHL games, along with a fairly quiet 67 PIMs.

Mitchell had previously led AHA in PIMs in 1938-39 and finished in the top 4 leaders on 5 total occasions.


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