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US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1974

William "Bill" Chadwick
Raymond Chaisson
Victor "Vic" Des Jardins
Doug Everett
Victor Heyliger
Virgil Johnson
John "Snooks" Kelley
William "Bill" Moe
Clifford "Fido" Purpur

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Bill “the Big Whistle” Chadwick rose from the relatively unlikely hockey background of New York City to become one of the premier referees to officiate in the NHL.  When he laid his whistle aside after the 1954-55 season, he was the senior official in the NHL, the only American to ever achieve that position.

Chadwick was a protégé and long time friend of United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinee Tom Lockhart, President of the AHA of the United States from 1937 to 1972.  He played his early hockey with the Stock Exchange team in the New York Metropolitan League.  This League usually played preliminary games before the New York Rovers traditional Sunday afternoon games in Madison Square Garden.  It was while playing in the Metro League that he caught the eye of a scout and won a spot on the Rover’s team.  It was while sitting out a Rover’s game because of an injury that Chadwick got his first officiating opportunity.  Encouraged by Lockhart, he took an immediate liking to this aspect of the game and was soon working numerous amateur games in the New York area.  An NHL official observed his work and Chadwick spent the 1939-40 season as a linesman before becoming a referee.

Similar to another United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinee, Ralph Winsor, Chadwick was a hockey innovator.  Not knowing what to do with his hands, he developed the signals now in common use for denoting penalties. While the initial reaction to Chadwick clasping his wrist for a holding penalty was negative, it soon became apparent that he had introduced desirable feature to the game for all concerned.  Hand signals quickly became universally used throughout the hockey world.

After retiring, Chadwick maintained an active interest in the game and served as color commentator on New York Ranger telecasts.

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Ray Chaisson centered one of the all time great lines in the history of college hockey along with Al Dumond and John Pryor.  His coach and fellow United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinee, the legendary John “Snooks” Kelley described Chaisson as one of his very finest hockey players during thirty-six years of college coaching.
The Cambridge native led the East in scoring both in the 1939-40 and 1940-41 seasons in which the Eagles posted 12-5-1 and 13-1-0 records respectively.  Chaisson’s point totals those years were 67 and 59 respectively.  In a 1939 win over Cornell, he had five goals in one game and thirty-three for the season which was only eighteen games in length.  Back then, Chaisson was the all time Boston College leader in average goals per game per season with 2.07 for the 1940-41 season in which he scored twenty-nine goals over a fourteen game schedule.  His 126 points ranked him among the Eagles all time career point leaders despite the fact that each of the players listed above him played in more than twice as many as the 32 Chaisson played in just two seasons in a career cut short by WWII.  His eight hat tricks are still a school record.

After WWII Service with the Navy, the Boston College graduate played senior amateur hockey with Los Angeles Monarchs of the Pacific Coast Hockey League.  He led that league in scoring with 101 points for the 1945-46 season. Chaisson retired from active competition after the 1946-47 season.

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Sault Ste. Marie’s second member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, Taffy Abel was initially selected in 1973, Vic Desjardins played a key role in the early days of Eveleth hockey when the town was represented in the United States Amateur Hockey Association (USAHA).  At that time, there was no professional hockey in the United States and the USAHA represented the highest level of the game in the nation.

An earlier writer said of him: “Desjardins of Eveleth, while one of the very smallest centers (5’9”, 160 lbs) in the game, is one of the very smartest and is very capable on offense and defense.” Backing up that comment is an excerpt from another writer who wrote: “Eveleth’s winning tally was the result of the alertness of Vic Desjardins.  He watched carefully for the rebound on Ching Johnson’s shot and when he placed the puck it went squarely into the net.”  Desjardins knack of finding the net served him in good stead and he was soon into professional hockey with St. Paul of the American Hockey Association.  In 1927-28, he captured the league scoring title with 20 goals and eight assists.  That performance was followed by a second place in the 1929-30 scoring race with 25 goals and ten assisted also with St. Paul.

Desjardins’ scoring abilities led him to the national Hockey League with the Chicago Blackhawks for the 1930-31 season.  There he was, a teammate of his fellow Sault native, Abel, as the Hawks went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to the Montreal Canadiens three games to two. Though scoreless in the finals, Desjardins logged three goals and 12 assists over the regular season.  Performing for the New York Rangers the following year, he once again was in the finals against the Toronto Maple Leafs losing three games to none.  Desjardins closed out his professional hockey career with six more years in the American Hockey Association with Tulsa and Kansas City.  The highlight of these later years was a second place finish in the 1933-34 scoring race with 18 goals and 15 assists with Tulsa.

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Doug Everett was, along with his fellow United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinee Myles Lane, one of the great players to come out of Dartmouth during the 1920's. He played his first hockey for Colby Academy in 1922, serving as captain of that team as well. Later he amazed fans with his stick handling ability, speed, and hard shot as a member of Dartmouth teams from 1922-1926.

Everett was All-College in his sophomore and junior years at Dartmouth, as selected by the Boston Transcript, and was named by the New York Herald Tribune to one of the earliest All-American Teams. A writer of that time said of him: "He could skate, and he could shoot, and he had the native intelligence -all the ingredients a player needs for greatness. He was hardly of the ruffian variety, but he knew how to body check and did so with authority."

After graduation Everett declined offers from the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs to enter the insurance business. However, he continued in hockey with the University Club of Boston, playing with another United States Hockey Hall of Famer George Owens. While skating with the University Club against Princeton he even recorded six goals. 

Still later, Everett played with the 1932 United States Olympic Team which finished second to Canada at Lake Placid, NY. In the Olympic tournament the United States tied Canada 2-2 in the first game and lost the second 2-1. 

The former Big Green skater scored two of the three American goals in the two games. Everett was the fourth member of the 1932 Olympic Team to be enshrined in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. Ding Palmer, John Chase, and John Garrison have already been accorded the honor.

Everett, who later had a rink named after him in Concord, New Hampshire, went on to become the Chairman of the Board of Morrill and Everett, Insurance Inc. the same firm that he originally joined after leaving and graduating from Dartmouth.

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Vic Heyliger, with his ever present cigar clenched between his teeth, came out of the East to forge an outstanding coaching record at his alma mater, Michigan, as well as at the University of Illinois and the United States Air Force Academy.

The Stocky, black haired coach played high school hockey at Concord and prep school hockey at the Lawrence Academy in Groton, Connecticut. Entering Michigan in 1934, he starred in 1935-36-37, earning All-American honors at forward. He scored 116 goals, a school record at the time, which was later broken by one of his players, Gordon McMillan.  Following graduation in 1937, Heyliger played for the Chicago Blackhawks in 1937-38 and 1943-44 while sandwiching in coaching at Illinois in the intervening years. With the Blackhawks, Heyliger alternated at left wing and center with Johnny Gottselig, who later coached the Chicago team.  He attributed his own development as a coach to the teaching of former Blackhawk coaches Bill Stewart and Paul Thompson.

Heyliger’s greatest years were at Michigan.  Starting with the first NCAA Championships ever staged in 1948 at Colorado Springs the Wolverines captured six national titles.  Dartmouth fell 8-4 that year to be followed by Boston College in 1951, Colorado College in 1952, and Minnesota in 1953. The later victory was particularly noteworthy as the Gophers had defeated the Wolverines in three of the four regular season meetings. 1955 saw Michigan oppose Colorado College in the final and take home a 5-3 victory. Heyliger’s sixth and final national title followed the next year with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over St. Lawrence when Michigan’s Tom Rendall scored from the faceoff.  Among the outstanding American players coached by Heyliger at Michigan were John Matchefts and Willard Ikola.  Both helped the United States to a silver medal victory in the 1950 Olympic.

After a period of retirement, Heyliger became coach at the United States Air Force Academy guiding that relatively new hockey program through its early years before retiring at the close of the 1973-74 season.

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Virgil Johnson came out of Minneapolis South High School where he starred in both hockey and football as a defenseman and quarterback, respectively. The ice is where he would make his mark though, as he went on to play 16 years of professional hockey.  

Johnson was small in stature at 5’8” and 160 lbs., but nonetheless was a master stick checker and backwards skater who could take the puck away from anyone.  Fellow United States Hockey Hall of Fame (USHHF) enshrinee John Mariucci, remembered him well: “He was one of the smallest defenseman in the league, but very effective.  He was a magician with his stick. He was like a terrier after a rat when he moved in and stole the puck. He could do it against the best stick handlers.”

After playing amateur hockey in the Twin Cities area, Johnson spent a large part of his career with the St. Paul Saints of the American Hockey Association.  However, during the 1938 season, he was called up to play with the Chicago Blackhawks for their Cinderella season.  The Blackhawks took it all that year as Johnson appeared in seven of the Stanley Cup games.

He did not return to the National Hockey League until the 1944 season though, when he played the entire schedule as well as nine Stanley Cup games as the Hawks bowed to Montreal in four straight games in the finals. (In two NHL season, Johnson played with four USHHF enshrinees: Karakas, Romnes, Dahlstrom, and Purpur.) After the 1947 season with the Minneapolis Millers of the United States League, he retired from professional hockey to pursue business interests in the Twin Cities.

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

At 7:45 am on Friday, January 13, 1933, forty five students from Boston College assembled at the Boston Arena for the first practice session of a revitalized BC hockey team under the watchful eye of John Kelley, their volunteer coach who had graduated three years before. Fifteen days later, under the young teacher from Cambridge, the team defeated Northeastern 8-6 on Arena ice to begin a legend.  “Snooks” had been a star player for Cambridge Latin and Dean Academy before enrolling at Boston College.  He played for the 1928-29 Eagles and was the squad’s top player, graduating in 1930 after the stock market had wiped out hockey as a varsity sport.

On January 8, 1933, he agreed to coach a group of BC students.  The job was part time without pay, complementing his teaching at Cambridge Latin. He gave up playing the game with the Boston Hockey Club at that time to begin an unprecedented stint broken only by the war years of 1942-1946 when he served in the Navy.  Snooks’ career reached a high point in March, 1949 when his Eagles won the NCAA title at Colorado Springs, defeating fellow United States Hockey Hall of Fame (USHHF) enshrinee Eddie Jeremiah’s Dartmouth team 4-3.  In all, Kelly’s teams were invited to the NCAA Tournament nine times more than any other Eastern team.  They were the first Eastern team to win the title in a series that has been dominated by teams from the West.

Over the years, teams under Coach Kelley traveled more than 80,000 miles on road trips, spreading the gospel of college hockey for American youth.  He steadfastly refused to recruit players from Canada because he felt that to do so would deprive American boys of a chance to develop their hockey potential in top flight competition.

Other accomplishments included eight New England Championships, nine appearances in the ECAC Division One post season playoffs, one ECAC playoff crown, and eight Beanpot Tournament titles.  In 1959 and 1972, he received the Spencer Penrose Award as College Hockey’s Coach of the Year. Sixteen of his players won All-American recognition and several played for United States Olympic/National Teams. Topping it all off is Coach Kelley’s career record of 501 victories, 242 losses, and 15 ties.

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Bill Moe, like his fellow enshrinee Vic Heyliger, was one of those relatively unique hockey people who shared the hockey heritage of both the East and West.  Born in Danvers, Mass., Moe grew up in Minneapolis where he was attracted to the ice game.  After playing in local amateur leagues and then with the amateur Eastern League Baltimore Orioles, he hooked on with the professional American Hockey League Philadelphia Rockets, later moving on to the Hersey Bears of the same league.  He gained laurels as the most valuable player in the American League for the 1943-44 season and attracted the notice of Lester Patrick of the Rangers, who gave up four players to obtain his services.

Employing a unique crouching method of stopping on-rushing forwards, Moe acquired the label of the “best blocking back in hockey.” In fact, he was often queried by newspapermen about whether he ever played football.  Moe usually replied that he considered that game “too tough,” whereupon he then scooted off to the much rougher atmosphere of the hockey rink.  Actually, the tough backliner was too small as a high school boy to play football.  His playing weight was only 175 pounds, not particularly hard for a body checking defenseman.

Moe played at a time when there were only two other Americans playing in the National Hockey League, Frank Brimsek and John Mariucci, both United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinees.  A fractured vertebra limited his Stanley Cup playoff appearances to one game. 

1974 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

When Fido Purpur stepped on the ice with the St. Louis Eagles in 1934, he became, up to that point in time (1974), North Dakota’s only native son to play in the National Hockey League.  With hockey developing at a fast pace, no doubt more of the Sioux state’s sons were seen in major league rinks.

Purpur made the NHL when he was twenty and when the Eagles folded after the 1934-35 season, he signed with the American Hockey Association – St. Louis Flyers.  He stayed with the Flyers until 1942 when he returned to the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks.  In St. Louis, Purpur was idolized by the fans because of his gutsy play, great speed, and small stature, but also because he always took time out to talk to the fans and sign autographs for the youngsters.  His best year of many good years in St. Louis was 1938-39 when he scored 35 goals and 43 assists in the regular season and three goals and three assists in the playoffs as St. Louis won the Harry F. Sinclair Trophy emblematic of the league championship.

The Blackhawks obtained Purpur with the idea of teaming him on a line with Max and Doug Bentley.  He was also the player they used to shadow the great Montreal player, the legendary Maurice “Rocket” Richard.  “I followed him everywhere,” recalls Purpur. Playing all fifty games for the 1942-43 Blackhawks, he scored 13 goals and 16 assists. The following year, the Hawks made the Stanley Cup finals losing to Montreal 4 games to 0, but in the semi-finals Purpur had a strong series against Detroit scoring a goal in the fourth game of the five game series.  He played with both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings in 1944-45, appearing with the latter in the finals against Toronto.

Completing his professional career with St. Paul of the United States Hockey League in 1947, Purpur returned to North Dakota where he was coach at the University of North Dakota from 1949 to 1956.  He was the father of six hockey playing sons.