Howie Young

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Howie Young
Born (1937-08-02)August 2, 1937
Scarborough, ON, CAN
Died November 24, 1999(1999-11-24) (aged 62)
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 175 lb (79 kg; 12 st 7 lb)
Position Defence/Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Chicago Black Hawks
Vancouver Canucks
Playing career 1954–1979

Howard John Edward "Cowboy" Young (August 2, 1937 – November 24, 1999) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player and actor, best known for his time in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings in the 1960s. He was born in Scarborough, Ontario.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Early years in Detroit[edit]

Young would break into the Red Wings lineup in the 1960–61 season, quickly earning a reputation as one of the toughest, most promising, and most troubled young defenders in the sport. He was blessed with a high level of natural skill and was one of the most fearsome bodycheckers in the game, but was tremendously undisciplined both on an off the ice, and a constant headache to the Detroit organization. He recorded 8 assists in his rookie season, and managed to lead the Wings with 108 penalty minutes despite playing in only 29 of the team's 70 games. In the playoffs, he would excel, appearing in all 11 games and scoring two goals in helping the Red Wings reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

He would split another season between the NHL and the minors before establishing himself as a regular in 1962–63. In his first full NHL season, he would record 9 points in 62 games and demolish the league record for penalty minutes, recording 273 to eclipse Lou Fontinato's old record of 202. His pugilistic exploits would earn him a place on the cover of Sports Illustrated in January 1963.

However, his drinking had by this point reached full-blown alcoholism, and despite his popularity in Detroit the team shipped him to the Chicago Black Hawks in the summer of 1963.

Los Angeles[edit]

Young's problems would follow him to Chicago, and their patience would run out even quicker than Detroit's did. Mid-way through the 1963–64 season, the team sold him to the Western Hockey League Los Angeles Blades.

In Los Angeles, he would be one of the Western League's most feared defenders, leading the league in penalty minutes in both his full seasons there while contributing offensively from the blueline. Handsome and charismatic, he would also foray into acting, with a minor role in the 1965 Frank Sinatra film None But The Brave.

In 1965, Young's life bottomed out, and he entered Alcoholics Anonymous. After sobering up, his play on the ice showed a marked improvement, and he finally began to harness his immense potential. He also managed to greatly improve his discipline on the ice and focus more on the game and less on fisticuffs.

Return to the NHL[edit]

Young started the 1966–67 season dominating the WHL, with 22 points in his first 29 games. More impressively, the once-volatile defender spent just 43 minutes in the penalty box. Impressed with his sobriety and improved play, the Red Wings sent three players to Los Angeles to reacquire him.

Back in the NHL for the first time in three years, Young played the best hockey of his career. In 44 games for the Red Wings, he recorded 3 goals and 14 assists for 17 points along with 100 penalty minutes. In 1967–68, he would spend another full season in Detroit, setting career highs with 17 assists and 19 points.

Dealt back to Chicago for the 1968–69 campaign, Young began to show his age. Now 32, he slumped to just 10 points in 57 games and seemed to have lost his physical edge. He would spend most of the following two seasons in the minors, with the exception of an 11-game stint with the expansion Vancouver Canucks in 1970–71, before retiring.

Comeback, WHA years and retirement[edit]

After a year away from the sport, Young would make a comeback in 1972, signing on with the WHL Phoenix Roadrunners. Despite being 35 and having played defence for most of his career, he returned as a forward, and was surprisingly successful. In 1972–73, he scored 20 goals and 38 assists for 58 points for the Roadrunners. In 1973–74, he was better yet, scoring 37 goals (6th in the league) and 68 points, and was named a WHL First-Team All-Star.

For the 1974–75 season, Phoenix was granted admission to the World Hockey Association, and Young stayed with the Roadrunners through the move. Now 37 and playing top-level pro hockey for the first time in 5 years, he continued to play well, recording 15 points in 30 games before being sold mid-season to the Winnipeg Jets. In Winnipeg he was reunited with his former Chicago teammate Bobby Hull, and delivered 13 goals in 42 games. He finished the year with solid totals of 16 goals and 22 assists for 38 points in 72 games.

Young would retire again in 1975, but return to Phoenix late in the 1976–77 season after a nearly two-year layoff. Nearly 40, he scored just 1 goal and 4 points in 26 games. He would play low-level minor pro for another two seasons in Phoenix and Los Angeles before retiring again in 1979. He would make another comeback in 1985-86, picking up an assist in 4 games for the Flint Spirits of the IHL, an impressive feat at the age of nearly 50 in a league just a notch below the NHL.

Following his retirement, he would eventually move to New Mexico where he owned a ranch and served as a school bus driver. He also made other appearances as an actor. In 1989, he played an outlaw on the television mini-series Lonesome Dove, in 1990 he portrayed "Poe Possey" in the movie Young Guns II and he appeared in the 1997 television film Last Stand at Saber River starring Tom Selleck. He died on November 24, 1999 at the age of 62.

Young appeared in 336 games over 8 seasons in the NHL, recording 12 goals and 62 assists for 74 points along with 851 penalty minutes. In 98 WHA appearances, he scored 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points, along with 109 penalty minutes.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1953–54 St. Michael's Midget Majors THL
1953–54 Scarborough Scouts OHA-B
1954–55 Kitchener Canucks OHA 49 6 7 13 155
1955–56 Kitchener Canucks OHA 28 2 5 7 40
1956–57 Hamilton Tiger Cubs OHA 52 5 15 20 228 4 0 1 1 28
1957–58 Hamilton Tiger Cubs OHA 40 3 7 10 163
1958–59 New Westminster Royals WHL 4 0 1 1 26
1958–59 Chicoutimi Sagueneens QHL 50 4 16 20 180
1959–60 Rochester Americans AHL 68 7 7 14 170
1960–61 Hershey Bears AHL 33 1 5 6 160
1960–61 Detroit Red Wings NHL 29 0 8 8 108 11 2 2 4 30
1961–62 Detroit Red Wings NHL 30 0 2 2 67
1961–62 Edmonton Flyers WHL 24 3 15 18 97 12 3 10 13 49
1962–63 Detroit Red Wings NHL 64 4 5 9 273 8 0 2 2 16
1963–64 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 39 0 7 7 99
1963–64 Los Angeles Blades WHL 13 2 4 6 40 4 0 2 2 21
1964–65 Los Angeles Blades WHL 65 10 20 30 227
1965–66 Los Angeles Blades WHL 44 5 11 16 170
1966–67 Los Angeles Blades WHL 29 5 17 22 43
1966–67 Detroit Red Wings NHL 44 3 14 17 100
1967–68 Detroit Red Wings NHL 62 2 17 19 112
1967–68 Fort Worth Wings CPHL 5 1 2 3 12
1968–69 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 57 3 7 10 67
1969–70 Rochester Americans AHL 56 17 20 37 75
1969–70 Vancouver Canucks WHL 16 0 3 3 44
1970–71 Vancouver Canucks NHL 11 0 2 2 25
1970–71 Phoenix Roadrunners WHL 57 11 32 43 136 10 0 3 3 21
1972–73 Phoenix Roadrunners WHL 71 20 38 58 223 10 1 5 6 31
1973–74 Phoenix Roadrunners WHL 71 37 32 69 124 9 3 3 6 6
1974–75 Phoenix Roadrunners WHA 30 3 12 15 44
1974–75 Winnipeg Jets WHA 42 13 10 23 42
1976–77 Phoenix Roadrunner WHA 26 1 3 4 23
1976–77 Oklahoma City Blazers CHL 4 0 0 0 8
1977–78 Phoenix Roadrunners PHL 39 4 11 15 63
1978–79 Los Angeles Blades PHL 14 0 2 2 22
1985–86 Flint Spirits IHL 4 0 1 1 2
1985–86 New York Slapshots ACHL 7 0 1 1 18
NHL totals 336 12 62 74 851 19 2 4 6 46
WHA totals 98 17 25 42 109
WHL totals 394 93 173 266 1130 45 7 23 30 128
AHL totals 157 25 32 57 405


References[edit]

  1. ^ Laurie Lyon (November 29, 1999). "Lives Lived: Howard John Edward Young". The Globe and Mail. 

External links[edit]