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Whether it was while playing junior hockey for his hometown of Fort William, guarding the pipes in the professional ranks, or representing Canada with distinction, this outstanding goaltender demonstrated exceptional puck-stopping abilities all throughout his career. Enjoying success in the midget and junior ranks with the Fort William Hurricanes from 1948-52 he helped them advance to the 1951-52 Western Canada Memorial Cup playoff finals against the Regina Pats.

Turning pro with the Detroit Red Wings he spent the 1952-53 season in various leagues, which was not uncommon for goalies during the days of the original six. In his first pro season he guarded the nets of the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Hockey League, the St. Louis Flyers of the American Hockey League and Quebec's Shawinigan Falls Cataracts. The 1953-54 season was spent with Sherbrooke of the Quebec Hockey League where his talents earned him the Lord Calvert Player of Distinction Award as the Saints most valuable player.

Called up by the Detroit Red Wings in October of 1953 to replace an injured Terry Sawchuk, his NHL debut resulted in a 4-0 shut-out against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his next game against Chicago he protected a 2-0 lead going into the third period, establishing a rookie record of lasting 100 minutes and 21 seconds without letting in a goal. His third NHL game almost resulted in another shut-out, with the puck crossing the line in the last 4 seconds of play. When the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup that season they had his name engraved as part of the team's roster on the coveted trophy.

Splitting the 1954-55 season between the Quebec Aces and the New Westminster Royals, he finished up his career playing senior hockey with the Kelowna Packers from 1955-59 where he was twice named an OSHL All-Star goalie, earned lowest goal average and team MVP honours, and helped the team advance to the 1958 Allan Cup finals. In 1956 he served as a pick-up for the Vernon Canadians in their successful Allan Cup bid.

In 1958 when the Packers were selected to represent Canada in a series of games in Sweden and Moscow, he became a part of history serving on the first Canadian team to play behind the Iron Curtain. His strong net-minding led to a record of 2 wins, 2 losses and a tie against the favoured Soviets. Retiring in 1959 he returned to the Lakehead where he passed along his knowledge to the next generation as a manager and executive member for junior hockey.

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

Dave Gatherum

Fort William
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