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He turned pro with the Grand Rapids Rockets of the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1952-53. He bounced around the minor pros for five seasons before joining the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League in 1957-58.
Needham became a regular and a fan favourite with the Barons. He played there for 14 seasons and over 1000 games. In 1967-68 he won the Eddie Shore Award as best defenceman.
In 1971-72 Needham joined the Toledo Hornets of the IHL as a player-coach and his last year as a player. In the next season he returned to Cleveland to coach the brand-new Cleveland Crusaders of the World Hockey Association for two seasons.
He is currently a scout for the Sarnia Sting.