Society for International Hockey Research
2006 Hockey Deaths
The following list was compiled by SIHR member Joseph Nieforth, with contributions from various other members. All of the people listed are in some way connected to hockey. If you have any additions or corrections, please send them to

January 5 - Kenny Mosdell was one of the few remaining NY/Brooklyn American player when he died. Mosdell, though, is best remembered as a Montreal Canadien, with whom he has his name engraved three times on the Stanley Cup. During WW2 he served with the Canadian Air Force. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke some years later and lived for awhile trying to recover from its effect.

January 8 - Butch McDonald played 68 games in the NHL, split between Detroit and Chicago during the 1940s.
McDonald ended his playing career in western Canada and even coached in Calgary for awhile. An avid horseman, he ran a stable which raced horses throughout the region.

January 9 - Paul Tantardini may have been drafted by the California Golden Seals but it was Toledo that got to see him play his most productive hockey. Tantardini played 459 games for the Goaldiggers from 1974 to 1984. In 1985 the team retired his #16.

January 13 - Marc Potvin had 134 NHL games to his credit with Detroit, Los Angeles, Hartford and Boston.
Potvin turned to coaching in the minor leagues in 1998 and held the reigns of the Adirondack Ice Hawks (UHL) when his body was found in a Kalamazoo hotel room.

January 15 – Peter McKee, one of the famous Flying Fathers traveling hockey team, died in Moncton, New Brunswick. McKee played senior hockey in New Brunswick during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Following his playing days he joined the priesthood and extended his community involvement to include playing left wing for the Flying Fathers fundraising activities.

January 17 – Leonard Brumm was a member of the NCAA’s first ice hockey championship team. He went on to play minor-pro and pro hockey in Michigan and gradually went into coaching. “Oakie” was named to the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. He died in Racine, Wis.

January 18 - Bill Hodgins was one of the last remaining AHA players. Hodgins did play briefly for the Hershey Bears in 1943-44. After his playing career, he mainly worked for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Hodgins stayed connected to the game through painting hockey scenes.

January 20 - Blake Ball was a hockey journeyman who also enjoyed a career in Canadian Football League.
Ball did play two games for the Cleveland Crusaders in the WHA’s first playoffs. He played four more seasons of minor-pro before retiring as a player.

February 2 - Pat Rupp was loaned to the Detroit Red Wings on March 22, 1964, as an injury replacement.
Rupp’s only NHL game came on the heels of his backstopping the U.S. Olympic team. In 1968 he returned with the national side to compete in the 1968 Winter Olympics. Rupp had his longest impact with the Dayton Gems where he was the regular goaltender.

February 2 - German legend Erich Konecki died in Dortmund, Germany, at 85 years of age. He started his playing career in Riga, Latvija, and developped into one of the best European forwards in the 1940s and 50s.
He played the World Championships for Latvija in 1938. After World War II and the loss of Latvija to the Soviet Union, Konecki played in Germany for Augsburg and Krefeld. He won German championships with Krefeld in 1951 and 1952, the latter as playing coach. He was inducted into the German Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.

February 3 - Joe Klukay was a key member of the powerhouse Toronto Maple Leafs of the 1940s and early 1950s which won four Stanley Cups. Klukay was traded to Boston in 1952. George Gee recruited him in 1956 to play senior hockey in Windsor, Ontario.

February 10 - Bob Olajos was a defenseman who just couldn’t be kept down. On one occasion Olajos sawed his own casts off just to get back in action. He had a short run as a pro with the EPHL and Cleveland (AHL). He was best known for his play with the senior Kingston Aces.

February 16 - Nelson Little was the embodiment of the journeyman player. The goaltender played from San Francisco to Washington, Fort Worth to Hamilton, before finding finally having a good run with the Tulsa Oilers. Years later Little served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

February 16 - Gennady Tsygankov was a mainstay of Soviet hockey throughout the 1970s. A member of CSKA Moscow, Tsygankov was often called upon to represent the USSR in international competition. He played in the 1972 Canada-USSR series as well helping the Soviets win six World Championships and two Olympic gold medals (1972 & 1976).

March 11 - Bernie Geoffrion, better know as “Boom Boom”, probably did more to popularize the slapshot than any other player. Although not the first to use the slapshot, Geoffrion made it his trademark during his long career with the Montreal Canadiens.
Geoffrion was the first coach of the Atlanta Flames and a brief run behind the Canadiens bench before illness forced him to withdraw. He is a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee.

March 14 - Art Michaluk only got to play five NHL games with Chicago in 1947-48 but he did have a long career in hockey. Fans in Calgary and Providence were treated to long stretches with Michaluk defending their bluelines.

March 15 - Red Storey had a short career in senior hockey but achieved fame as a football player and Hockey Hall of Fame referee. His performance in the 1938 Grey Cup has become legend. Storey’s fairness on the ice established his hockey reputation as one of the game’s finest whistleblowers.

March 16 - Jonathan Delisle appeared in one game for the Montreal Canadiens in 1998-99. Delisle had been part of two QMJHL champions (1995 & 1997), the later having also captured the Memorial Cup. He died in a car accident in Beauce, Quebec.

March 16 - Czech coach Jan Eysselt died March 16, 2006 at the age of 60. He was suffering from cancer.
A former coach of Nuremberg (German Bundesliga 1987-88 and DEL 1994-97), he was well known in Germany. At the time of his death, he was coach of the Polish national team.

March 19 – William Barnes, of West Hartford, was a member of the founding partnership of the New England Whalers Hockey Club. He left the club in 1990 to join the New York Islanders and from there went on to be the Senior Executive Vice President of the Pittsburgh Penguins. A veteran of the Korean War, Barnes was considered the dean of NHL marketing directors.

March 21 - Gerry Ehman was primarily an AHL player up to 1967, when expansion gave him an opportunity to play regularly with the Oakland Seals. “Tex” was a solid player for the expansion team. In 1971 he joined the St. Louis Blues management and from there moved to the NY Islanders front office.

March 23 - John Learment played during the 1930s for Acadia University. In 1944 he was among those who stormed the beaches of Normandy with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders.

March 26 - Don Martineau played a total of 90 NHL games with Atlanta, Minnesota and Detroit in the mid-1970s. Following his retirement as a player, Martineau settled in Nebraska where he operated a kennel with his wife. In 2005 he became a U.S. citizen.

April 1 - Gary Dineen was a member of the Canadian national team during the 1960s and represented the country at two winter Olympic Games (1964 & 1968). He got his shot at the NHL after the Toronto Maple Leafs traded his rights to the expansion Minnesota North Stars. Dineen played four games for the team. He later coached the AHL Springfield Kings.

April 12 – Margaret (nee Gabbitas) Tripper was an original member of the famed Preston Rivulettes of the 1930s. The team ruled women’s hockey in Canada during its run. Maggie died in Powell River, BC.

April 14 - Bunny Dame was a WW2 veteran but it was the war that gave him an opportunity to play in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens. With players joining the military, NHL positions opened and Dame took advantage of that before he enlisted. He retired in 1977 from Calgary Power after a 32 year career.

April 20 - George Johnston, nicknamed “Wingy”, played 58 games for the Chicago Blackhawks over four seasons.
Johnston played around the continent before winding up in Tacoma and Spokane, where he eventually settled.
George worked for Wonder Bread during the day and served as chief statistician for the Spokane Chiefs on game days.

April 24 - Steve Stavro emerged from the confusion following Harold Ballard’s death to emerge as the principal owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Toronto businessman brought stability to the franchise and enabled it to grow into other sporting endeavors.

April 27 - Gösta Sandberg was one of the most versatile Swedish athletes of the post-War period. He excelled in hockey and soccer, representing his country as an Olympic bronze medalist in 1948.

May 4 – Mary McGuire was a member of the Stratford Aces, a rival to the famed Preston Rivulettes, during the 1930s. She later worked as a Registered Nurse for Savage Shoes.

May 13 - Milt Papps was a player by default. Papps was the head trainer for the Long Island Ducks, of the EHL, when an injury forced him onto the ice as a temporary goaltended. Milt later had the distinction of being the NY Islanders first trainer.

May 17 - John Dzikowski was a 1984 NHL Entry Draft pick by the Philadelphia Flyers. A product of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Dzikowski had a short run as a minor leaguer in the IHL, AHL and the fledgling ECHL.
A diabetic, he died of insulin shock at his Portage la Prairie home.

May 22 - Les Lilley enjoyed a long minor league career in the 1950s and 1960s. Lilley eventually wound up with his hometown team, the Kimberley Dynamiters where he played on the “Nitro” line. Les was employed by Tech Cominco. He died in Cranbrook, BC.

May 23 - Hugh Morrison attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. With the Blues he was a member or two Spengler Cup winning teams (1931 & 1932). His career path led him to be a newspaper journalist, broadcast executive, intelligence agent and teacher. He was 98 years old.

June 13 - John Horman was a key figure in the reunification of Quebec junior hockey and the formation of the Canadian Hockey League. Horman held several key positions in the QMJHL including Vice-President and interim President. His activities earned him membership in the Quebec Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame, the QMJHL Hall of Fame, and the QMJHL Executive of the Year trophy being named after him.

June 14 - Sam Bettio was called up by the Boston Bruins for most of the 1949-50 campaign but returned to the minor leagues the following season. Bettio had long runs in Hershey, Buffalo and Sudbury before retiring as a player. He returned home and worked for Carrington Building Centre for 30 years.

June 14 - Mike Demchuk was a star in the Canadian Maritime Provinces. As a coach Demchuk guided the Moncton Hawks to a Maritime championship. In summer he was active in baseball, fastball and golf.

June 23 - Laura Hurd was killed in an automobile accident in New York state. Hurd was a star forward for the Elmira College Soaring Eagles, leading the team to two NCAA championships before graduating in 2005. While not recruited by Division 1 teams, she was perfectly at ease with Elmira College and her spirit lives on in the AMCA Women's College Division Player of the Year Award that has been renamed in her honor.

June 30 - Art Casterton was an on-ice official in numerous leagues. His NHL run lasted 11 games due to a disagreement with Carl Voss, director of officials, over how to call games. Casterton enjoyed respect among his fellow officials and was a very popular speaker in the Kingston, Ontario, area.

July 2 - Hub Anslow, who served in WW2, passed away.
Anslow managed to play two games for the NY Rangers in 1947-48. He bounced around the minor-pros for a few seasons before settling into the Upper Ottawa Valley Hockey League for rest of his playing career.

July 19 - Ulrich Jansen, one of the greatest goalies in German hockey history, died July 19, 2006, in Krefeld. He was 75.
He was the regular goalie for the German national team in the 1950s and 60s and took part in three Olympic tournaments (1956, 1960 and 1964). He was also a member of the German Hockey Hall of Fame.

July 23 – Gerry Boss was a fixture in Nova Scotia hockey, mostly playing for the Amherst Ramblers. Boss was especially sharp during Allan Cup play by scoring 44 goals in his 32 career playoff games. He died in Massachusetts.

July 24 – Bill Long, the legendary Ontario Hockey League coach, died in London, Ontario. Over three decades Bill prowled behind the benches, including 14 seasons with the London Knights. In 1989 the league honored Bill with the Bill Long Award for distinguished service to the league.

July 31 - Vladimír Bouzek, a native of Trebice, represented Czechoslovakia internationally in the Olympics and World Championships. Bouzek later successfully went into coaching with RH Brno. He also was the coach of the West German national team for a short time (1969-70).

August 3 – Arthur R. Fausnacht served for 23 years as an American Hockey League linesman and for many more years after that as an off-ice official in Hershey. Away from the arena, the U.S. Marine Corp. veteran worked as an electrician.

August 20 - Jacques Locas came out of the Quebec junior system at the right time. The WHA was on the lookout for young talent and signed Locas as an underaged junior in 1973. Locas saw a greater opportunity to play with the new league and remained with the loop for four seasons before retiring. In
2002 the QMJHL accepted Jacques Locas as a member of its Hall of Fame.

August 24 - John Utendale was the first “black” player to sign a contract with an NHL club, Detroit.
Although he never played for the Red Wings, Utendale did play some senior and minor-pro before becoming an educator at Western Washington University. He was present for the thrill of having the 1980 U.S. Olympic team winning a gold medal since he was on the team’s staff.

August 27 - Ike Hildebrand, a star in lacrosse and hockey, achieved his greatest fame in the former. In hockey, Hildebrand had a brief run in the NHL with the NY Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks. His high point was scoring the winning goal with the Belleville McFarlanes when they represented Canada at the 1959 World Championship. He was also the team’s coach.

August 29 - Stefan Blaho, drafted by the NY Islanders in 2003, came to North American to play junior hockey, first with the Sudbury Wolves and later with the Sarnia Sting. Blaho was killed in a car accident in his native Slovakia.

August 29 - Billy Gibson, born in Lethbridge, represented Canada at the World Championship in 1951 (Lethbridge Maple Leafs) and the 1952 Olympic Winter Games (Edmonton Mercurys), winning gold in both cases.
Gibson stayed in Lethbridge to work in automobile sales.

August 30 - George Mara, a Toronto native, represented Canada at the 1948 Olympic Winter Games. Mara scored
17 goals as the Canadians took the gold medal.
Although he had a tryout with the NY Rangers in 1946, Mara remained an amateur.

September 7 - Les Colvin, while referred to as a one-game wonder for his sole NHL appearance (Jan. 22, 1949, for Boston), did have a long run in junior, senior and semi-pro hockey. Colvin backstopped teams to the Memorial Cup (1939) and the Ontario Military title (1942). The veteran of WW2 service died in Bowmanville, Ontario.

September 13 - Bill McGillivray was an honored member of the Fredericton Sports Wall of Fame. McGillivray played university hockey with the University of New Brunswick and University of Alberta. He made his mark as the coach of UNB and as a longtime CAHA executive.

September 16 - Bart Bradley played his sole NHL game with the Boston Bruins during the 1949-50 season.
Bradley did enjoy a long association with the sport as a minor league player and later as an employee of the Boston Bruins. He rose through the ranks to be their Director of Player Evaluation before retiring in 1998.

September 16 - Floyd Curry starred for the Montreal Canadiens as they built to their 1950s dynasty. Curry later worked for the team as their Director of Advertising and Sales. In his long career he played for Memorial Cup and Stanley Cup winners.

September 22 – Roy Castrucci, a former scout for the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres, died in Brampton, Ontario. Roy, at one time, coached the Jr. B Toronto Marlies. During the day Castrucci was employed as a bank manager.

September 26 - Bill Knibbs played most of his professional career in the AHL but did break into the Boston Bruins lineup during the 1964-65 season.
Knibbs worked as a chartered accountant following his hockey career.

September 30 - Tom Neziol played U.S. college hockey with Miami University (Ohio) in the late 1980s.
Neziol moved on to the ECHL with stops in Cincinnati, Birmingham and Tallahassee. He was an assistant coach for the Mobile Mysticks and the Associate Head Coach of the Burlington Cougars.

October 4 - Vic Heyliger was signed out of the U.S. college ranks well before the practice became common.
He eventually played just 33 games for Chicago.
Heyliger made his impact as a coach and guided college teams from 1939 up to 1974.

October 11 - Jimmy Peters Sr. played over 600 games for four different NHL teams. Peters served in WW2 and was fond of telling how the Canadiens picked him up at the train station upon his discharge and took him to his NHL debut – before he’d even reunited with his wife and children.

October 13 - Doug Buhr managed to get to pro hockey through the Canadian university game. After obtaining an engineering degree, Buhr signed with the Los Angeles Kings and played for their minor league team.
The 1974 NHL expansion gave Buhr a short opportunity to play for the Kansas City Scouts before dropping into the low minor leagues.

October 13 - Joe Szura was a member of the original Oakland Seals, having been drafted from the Montreal Canadiens. Szura had a good 1968-69 seasn with the team but slipped to the AHL after that. The WHA temporarily revived his career and he managed to stayed in pro hockey until 1975.

October 16 - Garry Bauman served as Minnesota’s backup goaltender in their first NHL season, seeing action in 26 games. It was enough to give him a place in the 1967 NHL All-Star Game. Bauman later turned to teaching and remained in that profession until his retirement in 1999.

October 21 - Heinz Henschel was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2003. Henschel served German hockey for many decades as a German federation member and as the delegation leader at eight Olympics and 27 IIHF World Championships.

November 2 - Mike Nardello was 83 years old when he passed away. Nardello played for several seasons with the Clinton Comets before he turned to coaching in the town. He was well known as a referee in New York State and was active into the 1970s.

November 4 - Chris Thompson, of the Winchester Hawks, died in a car crash. He was 20 years old.

November 6 - George Gardner earned his place in hockey lore as the Vancouver Canucks first goaltender.
Gardner jumped to the WHA in 1972, where he played for Los Angeles and Vancouver before retiring. He died in Florida.

November 6 - Tommy Williams, a Cleveland Hockey Legends Ring of Honor member, passed away at the age of 83. Williams was a member of three Calder Cup champions and was named an AHL All-Star on five occasions. After his playing career, the defenseman operated a sporting goods store in Rocky River, Ohio.

November 12 - Mikael Victory was just 33 years old when cancer claimed his life. Victory had reached to top international level as a linesman in two IIHF U20 championships (2002 & 2004) and two IIHF U18 Championships (2003 & 2005).

November 19 - Ernest Aljancic Sr. is generally regarded as the father of hockey in the former Yugoslavia. Certainly Slovenia can lay claim to his mentorship since he introduced the game to Ljubljana, his hometown, in 1929. The IIHF inducted Aljancic Sr.
to its Hall of Fame in 1992.

November 22 - Garfield Peters was a member of two Memorial Cup winners (1939 & 1940) with the Oshawa Generals. Peters turned down an opportunity to play for the Boston Bruins. He was a General Motors employee for over 38 years.

November 27 – Ted Parfet was the co-founder and owner of the Kalamazoo Wings. Ted was an honored veteran of World War 2, having earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery during his service. His determination enabled the K-Wings to erect an arena and to thrive in Kalamazoo.

December 1 - Todd Davison, a player for the WHL Regina Pats, died of cancer in Winnipeg. Todd, known as “Itty Bitty” for his small size, created his own charity foundation “TD 24 Believe in the Goal” to aid cancer victims.

December 4 – George M. Sage, former owner of the AHL Providence Reds, passed away in Rhode Island. Sage owned the team from 1969 to 1976 and was a member of the AHL Board of Governors. He continued to serve the board for another three decades as an honorary member.
Under Sage the team opened the Providence Civic Center (now the Dunkin’ Donuts Center).

December 9 - Andrei Lomakin was reported to have died in Detroit following a long illness. Lomakin was a player for Dynamo Moscow before coming to the NHL for the 1991-92 season. He finished out his playing career in Germany in 1997. Lomakin represented his country several times, including the 1988 Winter Olympics and the 1987 & 1991 Canada Cups tournaments.

December 12 – Bobby Copp, who played 40 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, passed away in Ottawa. Dr. Copp played in Ottawa for many seasons with the Senators and operated a dental practice there following his retirement as a player.

December 14 – Joshua M. Freeman, one of the minority owners of the Washington Capitals, died in a helicopter crash. The crash occurred near a set of Delaware shores communities that Joshua had developed with his late father.

December 14 – Frank O’Brien III passed away from cancer in Albany, New York. Frank played 44 games for the Knoxville Cherokees in the first ECHL season. He continued to play in Europe, mainly in Sweden, before retiring to the family business, Fuller O’Brien, Inc.

December 16 - Al Dewsbury, who won a Stanley Cup in 1950 with the Detroit Red Wings, died in Markham, Ontario. Dewsbury had the opportunity to finally celebrate with the trophy during the NHL lockout.

December 17 – Jason Stadstad, a member of the North Dakota state champion Central Knights, died of brain cancer. Jason was the co-chair of the local American Cancer Society Relay for Life last June.

December 19 – Mike Savage died in Scottsdale, Arizona, from cancer. Savage was a proud member of his hometown Sudbury Wolves and later returned to be an assistant coach with the team. As well, he played with the University of Toronto Blues and recreational hockey in Sudbury.

December 19 – Bill Dunn was a member of the St.
Michael’s Majors and Oshawa Generals during the 1940s.
Dunn was a devoted family man who enjoyed hockey, golf, automobiles and locomotives.

December 22 – Harris Campbell operated the Madison Blues in Wisconsin. An engineer by trade, he was also a World War 2 veteran. Campbell died in Brookside, Florida.

December 25 - Jerry Byers was playing in Kentville, NS, when he was scouted for the Kitchener Rangers. He was claimed by Minnesota in the 1972 NHL Entry Draft.
Byers played for the North Stars, Atlanta Flames and New York Rangers during his short NHL career (43 games). He also played for the Nova Scotia Voyagers and in Europe before settling on a career in golf. At the time of his death, Jerry Byers operated the Olde Town Golf Course in Bridgewater, NS.

December 27 - Gus Giesebrecht, who played three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings between 1939 and 1942. Gus really made his mark with the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the senior hockey ranks, with which he made four Allan Cup appearances and led the league in points, goals and assists three times.

December 28 – Tommy Sandlin, known as the “Hockey Professor”, died in Sweden. Well regarded for his tactical skills, Sandlin coached the Swedish national team to a world championship in 1987.He enjoyed success on the national levels with his teams winning seven championships.

December 30 - Michel Plasse, who played for the Canadiens, Nordiques, Penguins, Scouts and Rockies died of a heart attack at age 58.
Plasse had the distinction of scoring a goal on February 21, 1971, when, as a Kansas City Blue, he sent his clearing shot into the Oklahoma City net. He died of a heart attack in l’Île du Pas, Quebec.