Carl "Chook" Smith, Windsor NS hockey legend
The picture has faded, but for those who remember seeing Chook Smith play hockey, the memories are as vivid as ever.
Prior to the Royals home opener Oct. 22, 2010, the club recognized a local hockey legend — Carl "Chook" Smith — in a pre-game ceremony.
The 81-year-old played hockey until just two years ago, spanning a hockey career of more than 70 years.
In a book written in 1975 entitled Nova Scotia's Sports Personalities, Smith was described as the Old Man River of professional hockey.
Smith began playing senior hockey in Windsor in 1947-48 under coach Burt Sleep and played along well-known Windsor stars Ab and Harry Ettinger, Munroe MacDonald, Ken Cavanaugh and Stan Pion.
Smith concluded his active competitive hockey career in 1974-75 at the age of 48. One year earlier, during the 73-74 season, he helped lead the Windsor Maple Leafs to the Maritime Intermediate A Hockey Championship. This team was inducted into Windsor's Hockey Hall of Fame in September 2007 and was described by team captain Brian Redden as one of the best, if not the very best hockey team ever produced in this town.
Redden said this team, "had senior greats such as Jimmy Beckman and Smith and Jacques Allard but also great junior sharp shooters of the day such as Billy Boyd.”
The team defeated the Charlottetown Islanders in a best-of-five series to win the championship before jam-packed crowds at the old Hants Exhibition Arena.
Besides being a member of this 73-74 team, Smith also signed a tryout form with the NHL's New York Rangers in 1948 and was instrumental in playing for eight valley hockey league championships while also having a distinguished Maritimes senior career playing six seasons including finishing in the top 10 in scoring in the 1959-60 and 60-61 seasons.
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