August 03, 2010

Ron Huston

Reggie Leach was one of the purest goal scorers of the 1970s. Everyone remembers the Riverton Rifle sniping goals for the Philadelphia Flyers. However after being drafted by the Boston Bruins, few people remember he broke into the league with the California Golden Seals.

After three so-so seasons with the Seals, the Seals grew impatient for Leach to achieve his potential and traded him to Philadelphia. One major reason why Leach was selected to be sacrificed was because of Ron Huston.

"Huston's ability at right wing made it possible for us to deal Reg Leach for the group of young players we felt we needed" said GM Garry Young at the time. The Seals got Larry Wright, Al MacAdam, George Pesut and a 1st round draft pick (Ron Chipperfield).

Ron was a small, stocky but high scoring winger. Between 1962 and 65 he played junior hockey for Brandon Wheat Kings. After that Ron had a very successful time playing for the Cranbrook Royals out of the Western International Hockey League. In 226 games for Cranbrook, Ron picked up 398 points (181+217). During this time Ron led the league in both goals and points twice. Later on in his career he would go on and win an additional two scoring titles in the WIHL.

Then in the old and tough Western Hockey League Ron scored 84 points for Salt Lake Golden Eagles. His fine performance won him the rookie of the year award in 1973 and gave him a call up to the major league for the 1973-74 season. He scored 5 points in his first 4 games, and finished the year with 13 points in 23 games for the lowly California Golden Seals.

Ron, at age 29, finally made the NHL full time in 1974-75 when he played the whole season in the league. In 56 games he scored 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points. Leach meanwhile scored 45 times in Philly.

Ron played on a line together with Dave Hrechkosy and hard hitting Butch Williams. The three complemented each other very well.

"I'd sooner pass to my wingers," Ron said. "To me, that's just as satisfying as scoring myself."

Just when things were looking bright for Ron he decided to jump at a bigger contract from the WHA. He landed in Phoenix where he had some decent numbers with the Roadrunners between 1975-77. (125 points in 159 games).

After his WHA odyssey he returned to WIHL where he laced 'em up for Spokane Flyers. He immediately won the scoring title (his fourth in the WIHL) by scoring 119 points in 56 games. Ron played in the WIHL until 1983.

Ron may not have played or scored many points in the NHL, but he in fact scored over 1000 points as professional player and may have enjoyed two or three more solid seasons in the NHL if he had decided to stay.

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