Gus Giesebrecht

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This article is about Roy "Gus" Giesebrecht, the Canadian National Hockey League player. For the German historian, see Wilhelm von Giesebrecht.
Gus Giesebrecht
Gus Giesebrecht.jpg
Born (1917-09-14)September 14, 1917
Pembroke, ON, CAN
Died December 27, 2006(2006-12-27) (aged 89)
Pembroke, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 177 lb (80 kg; 12 st 9 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 1937–1942

Roy George "Gus" Giesebrecht (September 14, 1917 – December 27, 2006) was a professional ice hockey centre who played 135 games in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings. During his career he accumulated 27 goals and 51 assists for a total 78 points. Giesebrecht was widely regarded by fellow players and NHL coaches as one of the most promising rookies in the league at the time.[1] He scored a hat trick in the first period of the first game he saw on-ice action with the Red Wings,[2] and scored the game-winning goal against the Chicago Black Hawks that advanced the Red Wings to the 1941 Stanley Cup Finals.[3]

Despite his early promise, World War II brought Giesebrecht's professional hockey career to an end. He chose to leave the Red Wings, volunteering for the Canadian Army. He was deployed to the European theatre as a corporal in the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and saw action in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Giesebrecht opted not to return to professional hockey at the conclusion of the war, deciding instead to return to his hometown of Petawawa, Ontario, where he ran his family's business until his death in 2006.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Giesebrecht's junior career began at the age of 16 with the Ottawa St. Malachy's of the Ottawa City Junior Hockey League (OCJHL), with whom he played for the 1933–34 season, skating in 15 games and scoring 6 goals and 11 assists for 17 points. The following season, he divided his times between the OCJHL's Ottawa Senators, the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the Ontario Valley Junior Hockey League (OVJHL) and the Pembroke Falcons of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA). Giesebrecht spent the 1935–36 season back with the OVJHL's Pembroke Lumber Kings.

Giesebrecht broke into the amateur leagues with the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets of the Eastern Amateur Hockey League. He skated with the Yellow Jackets for the 1936–37 season, scoring 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points in 47 games. He began the 1937–38 season with the Detroit Pontiacs of the Michigan Ontario Hockey League, with whom he led the league in scoring prior to turning pro.[4]

Gus Giesebrecht, left, and Byron McDonald as members of the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets in 1937.

Near the end of the 1937–38 season, Giesebrecht began his professional career with the Pittsburgh Hornets of the International-American Hockey League (IAHL).[4] He returned to the Hornets (then the farm team for the Detroit Red Wings) for the start of the 1938–39 season.[5] By December 1938 Giesebrecht was being called up to play for the Red Wings.[6] Placed on a line with Hall of Famer Syd Howe, Giesebrecht distinguished himself as a rookie centre for the Red Wings in February 1939 when he scored three goals in the first period in a 7–3 victory over the New York Americans.[2] He skated in 28 games with the Red Wings that season, tallying 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in regular season play. Giesebrecht also joined the Red Wings for the playoffs, netting 2 assists in 6 games.

Giesebrecht began the 1939–40 season with the Red Wings, but found himself sent down to their farm team—the IAHL's Indianapolis Capitals—after scoring only 4 goals and 7 assists in 30 games.[7] He tallied 10 goals and 9 assists for 19 points in 21 games during regular season play with the Capitals and skated in 5 playoff games, scoring 4 goals and 1 assist. Giesebrecht returned to the Red Wings for the 1940–41 season, scoring 7 goals and 18 assists in 43 games, including the opening goal in a 2–1 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks on "Jack Adams Night," a tribute to long-time Red Wings manager Jack Adams.[8] He faced the Black Hawks again in the Stanley Cup semi-final round, scoring the game-winning goal in sudden-death overtime that eliminated the Black Hawks and sent the Red Wings to the finals.[3] They were ultimately defeated by the Boston Bruins in four straight games.

The 1941–42 season again found Giesebrecht splitting his time between the Red Wings and their farm team Indianapolis Capitals (in the newly renamed American Hockey League). He spent the majority of the season in Detroit, netting 6 goals and 16 assists in 34 games, and seeing a 2-game call-up for the Stanley Cup finals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.[9] Giesebrecht found the championship that had eluded him his entire professional career, however, with the Capitals, scoring 1 goal and 3 assists in 10 games to defeat the Hershey Bears and win the Calder Cup.

Giesebrecht's professional career came to an untimely end in 1942 when he volunteered for the Canadian Army during World War II. He served as a corporal in the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, Ordnance Field Park. His unit landed at Normandy one month after D-Day, and saw action in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. He turned down an offer from Jack Adams to return to the Red Wings at the end of the war, and instead worked at his family business and played senior hockey.[1] Giesebrecht died on December 27, 2006 and was buried in Ottawa, Ontario.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1933–34 Ottawa St. Malachy's OCJHL 15 6 11 17 4
1934–35 Ottawa Senators OCJHL 5 7 7 14 0
1934–35 Pembroke Lumber Kings OVJHL 5 7 3 10
1934–35 Pembroke Falcons NOHA 4 4 4 8
1935–36 Pembroke Lumber Kings OVJHL 8 12 12 24 8 2 3 0 3 3
1936–37 Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets EAHL 47 12 18 30 11
1937–38 Detroit Pontiacs MOHL 28 23 25 48 2 3 2 1 3 0
1937–38 Pittsburgh Hornets IAHL 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0
1938–39 Detroit Red Wings NHL 28 10 10 20 2 6 0 2 2 0
1938–39 Pittsburgh Hornets IAHL 24 6 6 12 4
1939–40 Detroit Red Wings NHL 30 4 7 11 2
1939–40 Indianapolis Capitals IAHL 21 10 9 19 0 5 4 1 5 0
1940–41 Detroit Red Wings NHL 43 7 18 25 7 9 2 1 3 0
1941–42 Detroit Red Wings NHL 34 6 16 22 2 2 0 0 0 0
1941–42 Indianapolis Capitals AHL 15 6 7 13 4 10 1 3 4 0
NHL totals 135 27 51 78 13 17 2 3 5 0


  1. ^ a b c McRae, Earl (November 10, 2006). "War ended NHL career". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Americans beaten by Red Wings, 7–3". The New York Times. February 6, 1939. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Associated Press (March 31, 1941). "Red Wings Advance to Stanley Cup Finals by Defeating Chicago in Overtime". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Pittsburgh ice team in quest of first title". The Daily Times (Rochester and Beaver, Pennsylvania). March 30, 1938. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Burcky, Claire (October 23, 1938). "Hornets Face Bruin Icers On Saturday". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Hornets Play At Hershey". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 29, 1938. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Good news for you, Jack". The Windsor Daily Star. March 8, 1940. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ Vaughan, Doug (February 15, 1941). "Wings celebrate "Jack Adams Night" by beating Hawks". The Windsor Daily Star. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Leafs Win to Even Stanley Cup Series—Flyers Top Ports as Final Opens". The Montreal Gazette. April 15, 1942. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 

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