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This Fort William born athlete truly fits the category of a 'natural'. On the grid-iron he was a standout halfback and quarterback with the Selkirk Rams. On the diamond, he was twice named a Pony League All-Star, competed in the 1956-57 Canadian Pony Little League Championships, was an MVP on senior baseball and fastball teams and named Canada's Outstanding Little League Graduate in Sports in 1969.

On the hockey rink he developed his skills at an early age. Named to the 1959 Fort William Minor League All-Star team, he played for the Fort William Canadiens Junior Team from 1960-63, where his incredible scoring ability captured many headlines and earned him awards such as League MVP and Leading Scorer. Following a successful season with the Fort William Senior Beavers, for which he earned Rookie of the Year honours, he turned his attention to the professional ranks.

His 13 year professional hockey career began in 1964 with Tulsa of the Central Professional Hockey League (CPHL). Highlights of his career included a 1969 Calder Cup victory with the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League, a Western Hockey League crown with Denver in 1971-72, and WHL All-Star honours that same year. Claimed by the St. Louis Blues from Toronto in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, he was part of the teams Stanley Cup playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens in 1967-68.

With the formation of the World Hockey Association (WHA) his talents were quickly acquired by the Los Angeles Sharks. Leading the team from 1972-74, he was named to the second All-Star team in 1973-74, and was a WHA top-10 goal scorer. Rounding out his WHA career with Michigan-Baltimore, the Phoenix Roadrunners and the San Diego Mariners, he retired from the professional ranks in 1978, having played 880 regular season games amassing an amazing 358 goals and 378 assists.

Returning to the Lakehead he spent time on the ice and behind the bench with the Thunder Bay Twins and passed along his talents as a coach in minor, junior and university leagues, giving back to the community which had allowed him to develop and participate in sports.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 30, 2000

Gary Veneruzzo

Fort William
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