Andy Hebenton

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Andy Hebenton
1962 Topps Andy Hebenton.JPG
Born (1929-10-03) October 3, 1929 (age 84)
Winnipeg, MB, CAN
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 182 lb (83 kg; 13 st 0 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Left
Played for New York Rangers
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1949–1976

Andrew Alexander "Spuds" Hebenton (born October 3, 1929) is a former professional ice hockey right winger, and holds the record for the longest streak without missing a game in professional hockey history.

Playing career[edit]

After playing junior hockey for a local Winnipeg team, Hebenton made his professional debut in 1949 for the Cincinnati Mohawks of the American Hockey League. The following season he moved on to the Victoria Cougars of the Pacific Coast Hockey League (subsequently renamed the Western Hockey League. He starred with Victoria for five seasons, his best year being 1955, when he scored 46 goals and was named to the league's First All-Star team.

The following season his rights were purchased by the New York Rangers of the NHL, for whom he played for eight seasons. He scored twenty goals or more five of those seasons, his best year coming in 1958–59, when he scored 33 goals and 29 assists and was the runner up for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for gentlemanly play, which he had won in 1956-57. After the 1962–63 season, the Boston Bruins acquired Hebenton in the waiver draft, for whom he played his final NHL season. He played 630 straight NHL games in all, breaking the record for the most consecutive games (a mark subsequently broken by Garry Unger in the Seventies and currently held by Doug Jarvis).

Hebenton's rights were sold by Boston after the 1963–64 season to the Portland Buckaroos of the WHL, and would remain in Portland for the rest of the league's history (barring two seasons in Victoria once more), becoming one of the WHL's all-time leading scorers and perennial stars, and never once missing a game. He was a perennial winner of the Fred Hume Cup for gentlemanly play, winning it nearly half the seasons it was offered, the final time when he was 43 years old.

Retirement[edit]

When the WHL folded in 1974, Hebenton played four games for the Seattle Totems in the Central Hockey League to wrap up his professional career, having played 26 professional seasons in all, a mark exceeded only by Gordie Howe in hockey history. He played two seasons for a version of the Buckaroos in semi-pro leagues before hanging up his skates for good.

In all, Hebenton played in 630 NHL games, scoring 189 goals and 202 assists for 391 points. He likewise played in 1056 PCHL/WHL games, scoring 425 goals and 532 assists for 957 points. Hebenton's remarkable consecutive games streak lasted at least from the 1952 season through to the end of the 1967 season—he missed three games in 1951 for the Victoria Cougars and two games in 1966/67 with the Victoria Maple Leafs so the streak was likely longer—for an unrivalled total of at least 1,054 consecutive games. By contrast, Doug Jarvis' professional streak—the second longest in history—is 988 games.

Career achievements[edit]

  • MJHL Second All-Star Team (1949)
  • PCHL Championship (1951)
  • WHL Championships (1965 & 1966)
  • WHL Second All-Star Team (1955, 1965 & 1970)
  • WHL First All-Star Team (1971 & 1973)
  • Lady Byng Trophy (1957)
  • Played in NHL All-Star Game in 1960
  • Fred Hume Cup Winner (Most Gentlemanly Player WHL) (1965, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 & 1974)
  • Currently fifth all-time in NHL for consecutive games played
  • Fourth all-time in WHL games played, third in goals scored, eighth in assists and fourth in points scored.
  • “Honoured Member” of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Ranked No. 53 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

Family[edit]

Hebenton's son Clay was a professional hockey goaltender between 1973–1980, most notably as the starting goaltender for the World Hockey Association's Phoenix Roadrunners in the 1977 season. It was the first time a father and son were active in professional hockey at the same time, followed by Gordie Howe and his sons Mark Howe and Marty Howe in the WHA in 1974.

References[edit]

Preceded by
Earl Reibel
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
1957
Succeeded by
Camille Henry