The Pas is a small northern Manitoba town near the Saskatchewan border.
A junior version of the The Pas Huskies hockey club was an independent (non-league) team in the 1934-35 MJHL Season. The Pas Huskies (NJHL) was a junior team in the NorMan Junior Hockey League from 1978 until 1985. However, this article is solely about the men's intermediate 'A' version of The Pas Huskies of an earlier era.
The Pas Huskies played in the Carrot River Valley Hockey League in the 1950s and early 1960s. The league— variously—included teams from Saskatchewan such as the Kinistino Tigers, Tisdale Monarchs, Hudson Bay Hunters, Nipawin Hawks, Carrot River Loggers, and Melville Millionaires. Later on in the 1960s, the Huskies played in the Pre-Cambrian League. Teams included the Flin Flon Junior 'B' Bombers, Snow Lake North Stars, Thompson Hawks, and the Thompson Nickel Kings.
A big leader and long-time star on the Huskies was captain Claude (Cobra) Kozik who scored over 500 goals in his Husky career. He centered the slick, tic-tac-toe passing 'Hall of Fame' line which included Doug (Seagull) White and Clifford (Ticky) King. Other notables included coach Hal Wells (who later became the hockey writer for The Pas Herald), goalies Tommy French, Woody Hollier, Tommy Suchy & Don (Cat) Black; defencemen Merv Patterson, Larry Pearson, the heady Roland "Goldy" Goldstrand (ex-Wembley Lion star in the British National League who later coached the Huskies), Red Armstrong, Ron Cox, Jack Giles, and Lynn Marlowe. Also starring were 'band of brothers' Ted, Jerry and Paul Rock (The Rock Island Line), Jack Kennedy (father of current Ontario politician Gerard Kennedy), Willie Ducharme, Richard 'Itchy' King, George 'Steffie' Moran (who was blind in one eye, and yet was a terrific stickhandler) and the Mutz brothers, Dave and Len—a pair of bruising, hard-rock defencemen.
The smooth-skating, slick-passing, hard-hitting Giles once scored two goals—both within the last two minutes of regulation play—from the red line on scorching, unscreened slapshots in a provincial playoff game against the Winkler Royals. Jack's son Curt Giles was a dazzling skater at age three and later had a good career in the NHL with the New York Rangers, St. Louis, and Minnesota. The Pas native Murray Anderson, however, was the first known locally-born player to make the NHL, with Washington Capitals in the 1970s. He was a first-team all-star defenseman on the Flin Flon Jr Bombers of the WCJHL. He had been drafted 44th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1970. Warren Harrison, younger brother of ex-Huskie Roger Harrison, was drafted 53rd overall by the Oakland Seals in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft. Local boy Scott Williams was drafted 145th overall by the Kansas City Scouts in 1975. His brother Tim Williams was drafted 66th overall in 1976 by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and 60th overall in the WHA draft in the same year.
One of the most naturally talented native sons from The Pas was soft-spoken Norm Engen, whose huge hockey and baseball potential was abruptly dashed in his mid-teens by a knee-on-goalpost collision in a rink-rat pickup game. Normie had seemed destined for a pro career in either hockey or baseball—he was a promising pitcher—or both. Edgar Rivalin, another top local talent, played left wing with the Huskies (displacing Ticky King occasionally on the top line with Kozik and White) as a 15-year-old in 1960-61. The next season Rivalin went on to junior hockey in Winnipeg as a hard-shooting, hard-hitting defenceman with St. Boniface Canadiens. He played two seasons and then won a CIAU championship with the star-studded 1965 U of M Bisons, where he was named to the second all-star team on defence before earning a four-year hockey scholarship to Michigan Tech. Rivalin also wielded a potent bat playing left field at age 16 for The Pas Teepees in the Polar Baseball League, once notoriously spiking Flin Flon Stylers' Mel Pearson, the sometime New York Ranger winger, in a close play at first base. Accidentally, of course.
Ex-Husky defenceman Rich Chapman joined Rivalin on the Canadiens in 1963-64. The previous season, the Flin Flon Juvenile Bombers—with Chapman paired on defence with future NHLer Al Hamilton—won the provincial championships. At one point during the season coach Bill Maluta asked him—during a Bomber chalkboard session— what he'd do in a certain situation. Rich, apparently regarding this as a no-brainer, deadpanned: "Pass the puck to Al" (And then get the hell out of the way… every last guy in that room knew Al was headed for the NHL). Maluta, to his everlasting credit, led the locker-room belly laughs at this off-the-wall, entirely unexpected answer.
In CRVHL league play, teams would travel to other towns for a weekend series. Since there was no TV in The Pas in those days, on road trips the Huskies would gear up in their hotel rooms of a Saturday night and watch as much of the NHL telecast as they could before leaving for their own game. The rinks were small, unheated, and had only natural ice. High scores like 10-8, 12-6, 14-2, etc were not uncommon. The Sunday afternoon games were often somewhat rougher than the previous evening's encounter; someone was more than likely to be looking for a little payback. Especially if Dave "Beast" Beskel was in the lineup for the Nipawin Hawks. Doug White famously threw his half-lemon at Beskel from the Huskies' bench during one memorable donnybrook. He missed the Beast and hit a Huskie teammate squarely in the butt. This was only slightly less hilarious, in Huskies' lore, than Ticky King, who—in the midst of a frustrating, fruitless Sunday afternoon—caught a waist-high, offside backpass outside the blueline and promptly fired a sidearm strike past the bemused opposition goalie 60 feet away. That got King two minutes for closing the hand on the puck.
On yet another fine Sunday afternoon, a particularly irate Husky fan threw a frozen orange (or two) at a certain opposition player who had gone all-out 'Slapshot' and kicked a couple of Huskies—out of sight of the referee—in their previous game. And a contributor to this article can remember, as a youngster in the mid-fifties, seeing players actually punch referees in the face if incensed enough by a call. The semi-pro Eastern Hockey League of 'Slapshot' fame had nothing on the old CRVHL in the 'reach-out-and-touch-someone' department. In one particular Saturday-night rumble between the Huskies and the notorious Nipawin Hawks, Huskie forward Jack Kennedy was knocked cold by a heavy hit. As he lay unconscious on the ice, a skate blade came down on his face. Luckily, his glasses prevented any serious damage. A while later, the referee took a vicious elbow to the chest—from a Nipawin player—and had to leave the game. On top of all that, the Nipawin fans were spitting on—and swearing at—the Huskies' players. Many players were cross-checked, high-sticked, punched and boarded all black-and-blue in the contest, including Ted Rock who was knocked out of the game after being plastered against the boards by a hulking Hawk defenceman. Old Huskie warhorse Claude Kozik, who—despite absorbing a Saturday night battering—scored a hat-trick in the Sunday followup game. In other CRVHL action, a newspaper reported that a particular game was 'cleanly played'... there were 'only' 27 penalties called, you see. Yep, really touchy-feely, that one.
The Huskies hosted junior and touring oldtimers' teams— en route to or returning from Flin Flon—including the Prince Albert Mintos when future New York Ranger Jim Neilson was their captain and star; the Flin Flon Bombers when 15 year-old Al Hamilton was a perennial five-game callup before he captained the Edmonton Oil Kings to a Memorial Cup win—and drawing frequent comparisons with his junior contemporary Bobby Orr in the process— and went on to NHL and WHA careers with New York, Buffalo and Edmonton. Doug Bentley (former NHL scoring champion and All-Star with Chicago, and member of the famed 'Pony Line' alongside his brother Max and Bill Mosienko), as coach of the visiting Saskatoon Quakers, laced 'em up one night and dazzled Huskie fans—with his turn-on-a-dime skating, flat-out speed, and deft puck handling—and frustrated Husky players. Melville Jr. Millionaires came to town with future Philadelphia Flyer Bill Flett, junior scoring king Ed Lawson, speedster Gerry Korp and future Oakland Seals 50-goal man Dave Parenteau. Danny Johnson—who went on to a strong minor pro career, a couple of seasons in the NHL, and a good career in the WHA (including captain of the Winnipeg Jets)—came to town with the Flin Flon Jr. Bombers. Dave Rusnell of the world champion Trail Smoke Eaters played there with Prince Albert seniors.
In the 1970-71 campaign, the Flin Flon Jr Bombers landed in town, locked & loaded with the likes of future NHLers Reggie Leach, Gene Carr, Blaine Stoughton, and Chuck Arnason aboard. In this exhibition tilt, the Huskies were utterly carpet-bombed to the tune of 10-2, but it would have been much worse had Huskies' goaltender Don Black been anything short of spectacular: He stopped 17 of 20 shots in the first period alone. Overall, Black faced a barrage of pucks, and wound up stopping 40 of 50 shots on the night. Coach Pat Ginnell (played pro for 10 years in the WHL and IHL) suited up and potted two goals. Gene Carr contributed a pair, with singles going to John Stewart, Rick Brownley, Chuck Arnason, Blaine Stoughton, Reggie Leach, and Ray Butterworth. Robbie Leguilloux and former professional Gord Redahl scored for the home team, with Leguilloux's marker coming on a spectacular end-to-end rush. Claude Kozik and Paul Rock assisted on Redahl's goal.
Redahl played a total of 19 pro seasons in the AHL and WHL. He had an 18-game stint with the Boston Bruins in 1959. Redahl's best pro season was in 1964-65 when he blasted 32 goals for the Victoria Maple Leafs. The Leafs won the WHL championship that year.
By the time Redahl arrived in The Pas, the Huskies had left the defunct CRVHL and were playing in the Pre-Cambrian League. Gord finished second in league scoring that year with 24 goals and 28 assists in 16 games. Teammates Robbie Leguilloux and Paul Rock were first and fourth, respectively. Leguilloux set a league record by scoring nine goals in the last game of the regular season, a 20-3 thrashing of the hapless Snow Lake North Stars. Redahl banged in 3 goals and collected 6 assists. The Stars won but a single game that season.
The Huskies won the 1968-69 Manitoba Intermediate 'AA' Championship
Many of the Huskies listed above were also members of the The Pas Teepees baseball club, Polar League champions in 1959. The Teepees 1959-1964 team entered the Manitoba Hall of Fame in 2005.
Huskies/Teepees included Lynn Marlowe, Claude Kozik, Cliff King, Ron Cox, Doug White, Don Black, Norm Engen, Edgar Rivalin, and Ted Rock.
The Pas Huskies Hall of Fame as of 1970: Claude Kozik, Ticky King, Doug White, (The 'Hall of Fame' line), Red Armstrong, Goldy Goldstrand, Len Mutz, Don Black
Huskies: Claude Kozik, Jack Giles, Roland (Goldy) Goldstrand, Willie Ducharme, Gordon Redahl (1935-2011), Roger Harrison, Red Armstrong, Melvin Dean (1938-2010).
Other: Danny Johnson (1944-1993), Pat Ginnell (1937-2003)