Bryan Hextall

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Bryan Hextall
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1969
Born (1913-07-31)July 31, 1913
Grenfell, SK, CAN
Died July 25, 1984(1984-07-25) (aged 70)
Portage la Prairie, MB, CAN
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 182 lb (83 kg; 13 st 0 lb)
Position Left wing/right wing
Shot Left
Played for New York Rangers
Playing career 1933–1948

Bryan Aldwyn Hextall (July 31, 1913 – July 25, 1984) was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who played for the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League (NHL). Considered one of the top wingers of the 1940s, he led the NHL in goal scoring twice and in points once. Additionally, he was named a first-team All-Star three times, and a second-team All-Star once.

Hextall scored the overtime winning goal that clinched the 1940 Stanley Cup for the Rangers. He is the father of one of hockey's greatest families, as his sons Bryan Jr. and Dennis, and grandson Ron all had lengthy NHL careers. Bryan Sr. was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Grenfell, Saskatchewan in 1913, Hextall grew up in Poplar Point, Manitoba. He played his first hockey there, winning the Manitoba juvenile championship in 1929–30.[1] He played junior hockey with the Winnipeg Monarchs in 1931–32 before switching to the Portage Terriers with whom he won the Manitoba Junior Hockey League scoring title in 1932–33.[2]

Hextall began his professional career in 1933–34 with the Vancouver Lions of the North West Hockey League (NWHL). He played three seasons in Vancouver,[3] leading the NWHL in scoring with 27 goals in 1935–36. He moved onto the Philadelphia Ramblers of the International-American Hockey League the following year, again leading the league with 27 goals.[1]

The New York Rangers brought Hextall up for three games in 1937, and he made the team full-time in 1937–38.[4] A left-handed shooter, Hextall played his "off wing" – right wing – at a time before it was common practice.[1] He scored at least 20 goals seven times in his career, mainly while playing on the Rangers' top line with Phil Watson and Lynn Patrick.[4]

Hextall led the NHL in goal scoring and was named a first-team All-Star for the first time in 1939–40.[1] He was one of the Rangers' top players during the 1940 Stanley Cup Final against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hextall scored a hat trick against the Leafs and added an assist to lead the Rangers to a come from behind victory in game two of the series,[5] and scored the overtime winning goal in the sixth game that clinched the third Stanley Cup championship in Rangers history.[6] The Rangers would not win another for 54 years.[1]

A second All-Star selection followed in 1940–41 as Hextall again led the NHL in goal scoring and finished in a tie for second in overall points.[7] He led the league in points in 1941–42; his total of 56 standing seven better than second place.[8] Additionally, he was named to the first All-Star team for the third consecutive season.[9]

Hextall scored career highs in goals, 27 and points, 59, in 1942–43 and was again named a post-season All-Star, this time on the second team.[3] In addition to being a top scorer, Hextall was also durable. He appeared in 340 consecutive games for the Rangers between 1937 and 1944.[4] His streak came to an end in 1944 when Canadian war authorities denied him a permit to cross into the United States.[10] The Rangers' attempts to regain his services were unsuccessful,[11] Unable to play in the NHL, Hextall regained his amateur status and played senior hockey briefly with the St. Catharines Saints in the Ontario Hockey Association's senior division.[4]

The conclusion of World War II allowed Hextall to return to the Rangers in 1945–46, however his return was short-lived. He was hospitalized with a liver ailment,[1] an illness that ruled him out of the season after just three games, and led to fears it would end his career.[12] Hextall overcame doctors expectations,[4] appearing in all 60 games for the Rangers in 1946–47.[1] After a final season in the NHL in 1947–48, Hextall split the 1948–49 American Hockey League season between the Cleveland Barons and Washington Lions before announcing his retirement.[3]

Hextall was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969,[1] and is an honoured member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. Additionally, the Manitoba hall named him to its all-century second All-Star team.[2]

Off the ice[edit]

He was the first of three generations of Hextalls in the NHL.[4] His sons Bryan Jr. and Dennis both had long careers, and his grandson Ron was a longtime goaltender in the league.[13]

Hextall battled circulation problems in his lower legs following his retirement, an ailment that ultimately led to the amputation of both legs below the knee in 1978. Artificial legs allowed him to maintain his hobby of hunting.[4] He died of a heart attack at his home of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba in 1984.[4]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1931–32 Winnipeg Monarchs WJrHL 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 0
1932–33 Portage Terriers WJrHL 12 10 8 18 6 2 0 0 0 4
1933–34 Portage Terriers MJHL 7 6 4 10 8
1933–34 Vancouver Lions NWHL 5 2 0 2 0
1934–35 Vancouver Lions NWHL 32 14 10 24 27 8 0 0 0 10
1935–36 Vancouver Lions NWHL 40 27 9 36 65 7 1 2 3 15
1936–37 Philadelphia Ramblers IAHL 48 29 23 52 34 6 2 4 6 6
1936–37 New York Rangers NHL 3 0 1 1 0
1937–38 New York Rangers NHL 48 17 4 21 6 3 2 0 2 0
1938–39 New York Rangers NHL 48 20 15 35 18 7 0 1 1 4
1939–40 New York Rangers NHL 48 24 15 39 52 12 4 3 7 11
1940–41 New York Rangers NHL 48 26 18 44 16 3 0 1 1 0
1941–42 New York Rangers NHL 48 24 32 56 30 6 1 1 2 4
1942–43 New York Rangers NHL 50 27 32 59 28
1943–44 New York Rangers NHL 50 21 33 54 41
1944–45 St Catharines Saints OHA Sr. 1 0 1 1 0
1945–46 New York Rangers NHL 3 0 1 1 0
1946–47 New York Rangers NHL 60 20 10 30 18
1947–48 New York Rangers NHL 43 8 14 22 18 6 1 3 4 0
1947–48 Cleveland Barons AHL 32 12 17 29 14
1947–48 Washington Lions AHL 25 6 6 12 2
NHL totals 449 187 175 362 227 37 8 9 17 9

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bryan Hextall biography". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Bryan Hextall biography". Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bryan Hextall statistics". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Podnieks, Andrew (2003). Players: The ultimate A–Z guide of everyone who has ever played in the NHL. Toronto: Doubleday Canada. pp. 349–350. ISBN 0-385-25999-9. 
  5. ^ "Rangers spot Leafs two goals and then go on to win by 6–2". Lewiston Daily Sun. 1940-04-04. p. 9. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  6. ^ McNamara, Harold (1940-04-15). "Rangers take Stanley Cup, beating Leafs in overtime, 3–2". Montreal Gazette. p. 18. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  7. ^ "Cowley took honors in hockey scoring". New York Times. 1941-04-18. p. 27. 
  8. ^ "Hextall of Rangers wins puck crown". Milwaukee Journal. 1942-03-17. p. 7. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  9. ^ "List Brimsek on ice team". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1942-04-07. p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-13. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Boston Bruins hopeful of finishing close to top". The Maple Leaf. 1944-10-23. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  11. ^ "Rangers suppress Hawks as warm-up for Leafs". Toronto Daily Star. 1945-01-25. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  12. ^ "Hextall is out". Montreal Gazette. 1945-11-29. p. 17. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  13. ^ Kravitz, Bob (1986-12-01). "Old block, quite a chip". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bill Cowley
NHL Scoring Champion
1942
Succeeded by
Doug Bentley