THE FORGOTTEN NHL ALL STAR GAME, BUFFALO NY 1959
(Thanks to Peter B. Campbell, Paul Patskou and George Kuhn for the story and the photo)
On this day in hockey history, February 17th 1959 an NHL All-Star Game was played to benefit Bill Dobbyn, a highly-regarded 23-year-old NHL Rangers prospect defenseman who was getting experience with the Rangers farm team, the AHL Buffalo Bisons. Dobbyn had lost an eye after he was accidentally clipped by a stick during an American Hockey League game.
9,368 fans packed a sold-out Memorial Auditorium to see the NHL’s finest play their hometown Herd. Future NHL Hall-of-Famers; Johnny Bower, Glen Hall, Pierre Pilote, Bill Gadsby, Ted Lindsay, Johnny Buczyk, Bobby Hull, Donnie Marshall, Brian Cullen, Forbes Kennedy and Ian Cushenan were just some of the bright stars on the NHL squad that night.
They were coached by the unlikely duo of New York Rangers head coach Phil Watson and Black Hawks bench boss Rudy Pilous. Sworn enemies since their junior amateur coaching days, they managed to put aside their differences for this charity event.
The Bisons were managed by Fred Hunt and Frank Eddolls. Master of Ceremonies Ralph Hubbell started the night off with an emotional introduction of Bill Dobbyn. The roof was almost blown off the top of the Aud when the crowd rocked the building with a two-minute standing ovation.
“It was thrill to meet all those players.” Dobbyn said. “I remember them all shaking hands with me, telling me I had a bright future.”
Dobbyn received various cash awards and gifts from a host of different charities. The event raised more than $25,000 for Dobbyn to start his life over with, though he would eventually lace up his skates again a few years later and played with several teams in various minor leagues. He finally retired after playing with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League in 1968.
As for the game, “Terrible Ted” Lindsay scored twice to lead the All-Stars to a 6-2 win. Bill Dineen bagged the two Bisons goals during the third period to make the score a little more respectable. Dobbyn said afterward “I shall be grateful to them. Words simply cannot express my gratitude or that of my parents.”
All-Stars lineup — G: Glenn Hall (CHI), Johnny Bower (TOR), Bruce Gamble (NY).D: Pierre Pilote (CHI); Warren Godfrey (DET); Bill Gadsby, Lou Fontinato (NY); Albert Langlois, Ian Cushenan (MTL); Fern Flaman (BOS).F: Bobby Hull, Ted Lindsay, Eddie Litzenberger (CHI); Johnny Bucyk, Don McKenney, Jerry Toppazzini (BOS); Ron Stewart, Brian Cullen, Bert Olmstead (TOR); Andy Bathgate, Earl Ingarfield (NY); Forbes Kennedy (DET); Donnie Marshall (MTL).Bisons lineup — G: Marcel Paille.D: Ivan Irwin, Frank Martin, Gus Mortson, Ron Ingram, Doug Barkley.F: Larry Wilson, Dick Gamble, Wally Hergesheimer, Orland Kurtenbach, Eddie Kachur, Bill Sweeney, Billy Dea, Bruce Cline, Bill Dineen, Parker MacDonald, Gerry Foley.
First period — NHL1: Lindsay (Litzenberger) 1:11. NHL2: Bathgate (Ingarfield, Olmstead) 5:30. NHL3: Cullen (Bathgate, Olmstead) 12:28. Penalties — Buf: Wilson (tripping) 8:24. NHL: Toppazzini (tripping) and Langlois (holding) 17:46.
Second period — NHL4: Lindsay 2 (Litzenberger, Hull) 6:48. NHL5: Olmstead (Cullen) 11:51. NHL6: Langlois (Toppazzini, Cushenan) 18:01. Penalties — none.
Third period — BUF1: Dineen (Mortson, MacDonald) 4:31. BUF2: Dineen 2 (Irwin) 19:06. Penalties — none.Shots — All-Stars: 10+18+12=40. Buffalo: 8+7+10=25.Referee: Eddie Powers. Linesmen: Bob Barnes and Jack Bell.
Att.: 9,368 (sellout)