Murray Balfour

Murray Balfour was a clutch scorer and Stanley Cup champion. He was also a tragic figure, dying while still playing the game. He was just 28 years old.

A junior sensation with his hometown Regina Pats, Balfour was originally Montreal Canadiens property. They couldn't find him a regular spot in the line-up during their dynastic years in the late 1950s, so by 1960 he was shipped off to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Montreal's loss was definitely Chicago's game. Together with fellow Montreal castoff Bill Hay, Balfour joined Bobby Hull on the Blackhawks top line. It was almost instant magic. They high flying and highly paid threesome were quickly dubbed the Million Dollar Line.

By 1961 the resurrected Hawks went all the way to become the Stanley Cup champions! It was Balfour who scored the triple over time game winner in game 3 against his former mates in Montreal. Balfour also scored more goals than both of his linemates that spring.

Unfortunately Balfour missed out on the Stanley Cup celebrations. He missed the final game as he was hung up in the hospital with a broken arm after crashing into the net in game five. An 8 inch steel rod was inserted from his wrist to his elbow to repair the badly broken limb.

The broken arm didn't slow Balfour down, but inexplicable fatigue did. The Hawks traded Balfour to Boston in 1964, and the Bruins ended up demoting him to the minor leagues shortly thereafter. Balfour's constant struggles with fatigue were finally diagnosed in 1965 when doctors discovered a cancerous tumour in his lung.

Doctors decided the cancer was so aggressive that there was nothing they could do for Murray Balfour. He died several weeks later while recuperating back at his parent's home in Saskatchewan. He was just 28 years old.

In 306 NHL games Murray Balfour scored 67 goals, 90 assists and 157 points. He should be remembered as a hearty and enthusiastic winger who scored clutch goals.


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