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It was while growing up in Kenora that this professional hockey player first became involved in the game. Making his way to the more organized junior leagues of the Lakehead in the early 1950s, he joined the Port Arthur Flyers playing with that club for two seasons.

Moving over to the Port Arthur North Stars, he served as captain of the squad in 1953-54 where his strong forward line skills and scoring abilities saw him picked up by the Fort William Canadiens for their Memorial Cup Western playdowns.

While still of junior age, he turned professional with the Troy Bruins of the International Hockey League. With the club for two years he earned 103 points in 117 regular season games, leading them in scoring in his second year.

Joining the Western Hockey League with the New Westminster Royals he continued his high scoring ways wining the Coast Division 1956-57 Rookie of the Year Award. Moving around the WHL during the 1957-58 season with stops in Seattle, Edmonton and Victoria, he was called up by the Detroit Red Wings for four NHL games.

Acquired by Eddie Shore for his AHL team, the Springfield Indians, his career with that club spanned 1958-65 and saw him as a strong centre ice performer. Earning the nickname the Ironman, his 316 consecutive games set a team record. His strong work ethic was well-suited to Shore's all-out coaching style and legendary training regime. On one occasion when he stood up to the fiery owner's demands he was named captain of the team.

It was during his time with the team that the club made AHL history, winning 3 consecutive Calder Cup titles from 1960-62, a record that still stands to this day. His performance as a top point earner during those years saw him contribute greatly to those victories. Hanging up his skates following the 1964-65 season, his 307 points in 432 games earned him a place in the record books as the 8th highest goal scorer in the history of the franchise.

Although offered contracts with Vancouver and Los Angeles in the 1967 NHL expansion year, he chose to remain in his hometown where he spent time coaching the Kenora Muskies junior team passing along the skills and knowledge he had learned from his time as a top-performing centreman in the junior and professional ranks.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 29, 2018

Dennis Olson

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