This future NHL'er grew up practicing on the outdoor rinks of Port Arthur with a strong dedication and passion for the game. Born in Finland, he arrived in Port Arthur in 1932 at the age of six. Playing bantam and midget hockey during his youth he quickly learned the game, creating a solid base for a successful career.
Playing with the HMCS Griffin Junior Hockey team from 1943-45 he claimed the Thunder Bay Junior scoring title for two consecutive years before joining the Boston Olympics of the Eastern Amateur Hockey League. Winning the EAHL scoring title and being named to the EAHL First All-Star Team in 1947, he caught the eye of professional clubs.
Getting a feel for the National Hockey League he played in a few playoff games with the Boston Bruins from 1946-48 becoming one of the first Finnish-born players to skate in the NHL.
He continued his climb through the professional ranks while playing for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League during the 1947-48 season and by the next year he was back in the NHL as a member of the New York Rangers from 1948-51. Claiming the Calder trophy as NHL’s Rookie of the Year in 1949, he won the playoff scoring title a year later, in 1950.
A memorable moment in Pentti’s career was when he used his smart game play and talent to stop Maurice “The Rocket” Richard from taking off with the puck through a skilled stick check that infuriated the talented Richard during the 1950 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Playing for the Boston Bruins from 1951-53, Pentti’s promising hockey career was dealt a major setback when he took a stick to his eye in 1951 while playing against the Chicago Black Hawks. Unwilling to let his injury take him out of the game he spent some time in the AHL before returning to the Bruins to play out the end of the 1952-53 NHL season. Retiring from professional hockey in 1953 he left behind an NHL career total of 259 games with 44 goals, and 55 assists for a total of 99 points.
Rounding out his hockey playing days, this hockey star finished his career playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from 1954-55 taking on retirement at the end of the season. Moving behind the bench he spent some time coaching the Fort William Beavers Senior Team and the Thunder Bay Oldtimers.
Transferring his talents from the stick to the pen, he served as a sports editor with the Thunder Bay Times-News for over 25 years.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 29, 1984