Red Hamill

Born in Toronto on January 11th, 1917, Robert "Red" Hamill was about as tough as they come. He was sort of an early day Wendel Clark-type of hockey player.

The 5'11" 180lb left winger broke into professional hockey with the Boston Bruins organization in the late 1930s. Although he had a splendid reputation in the minor leagues, he just could not seem to make the permanent jump to the NHL. He played sporadically for the Bruins, impressing them with his willingness to play physically but disappointing them in his continued inability to score with any consistency. He did help the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 1939, although he went scoreless in 12 post-season games.

In 1942 the Bruins sold him to Chicago (although Montreal was said to be seriously interested as well) where he flourished into a solid NHL regular. He finished the year strong, with 18 goals in 34 games with the Hawks. Only Lynn Patrick of the New York Rangers would score more goals than Hamill in the NHL that season.

Hamill went on to record a career high 28 goals that first full season with the Hawks in 1942-43, although his reputation was clearly being made for his hard hitting style. Still, it was impressive that only teammate Doug Bentley (33 goals)and Montreal's Joe Benoit (30 goals) scored more than Hamill.

Hamill missed the next two NHL seasons as he left the team for two years of service in World War II. He later returned five more seasons as the Hawks spirited spark plug.

Hamill would turn to coaching in the junior leagues before tragedy struck him hard. Despite four operations to try to fix mysteriously poor circulation in his left leg, doctors were forced to amputate. Undeterred Hamill learned to skate well enough on an artificial leg so that he coach kids hockey. But doctors would have to take off his right leg for the same reasons some time later.

Red Hamill died in Sudbury, Ontario in January 1985.

Hamill scored 128 goals and 94 assists for 222 points in 419 NHL games. He picked up only 160 penalty minutes, which suggests even though he had a zest for the rugged part of the game, he was very clean. Still, this is a surprisngly low total when newspaper archive searches turn up repeated stories of him in wild battles.


Derek 4:02 PM  

Art Ross discovered Hamill when Hamill was playing for the Copper Cliff Redmen. He signed Hamill, Shewchuck, and Pat McReavy all on the same day from that team. He failed to impress with Boston. Boston's 3rd line was often as good as their opponents 3rd line - especially in Chicago, and with the Americans. Players like Art Chapman and Hamill thrived when they got more ice time. When you have the Krauts, Cowley and a Conacher that is 5 of the 9 spots taken already.

Another great article Joe - sad to hear of his fate.

Anonymous,  12:00 PM  

He is my Grandpa and he had the best hockey stories. Now his great grandson has the love of the game and skills that seem to have been handed to him. Thanks for posting this article!!

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