December 01, 2010

Meet Bill Brydge

Bill Brydge began his NHL career on the Toronto St.Patricks blueline (the St. Pats became the Maple Leafs in 1927-28) after a successful career with Port Arthur where helped the Bearcats win the Allan Cup in 1925 and 1926.

Brydge must have failed to impress Conn Smythe that season. Smythe traded Brydge to Detroit (then known as the Cougars) in 1927-28. He would report to the minor leagues for the next two years before joining the team regularly in 1928-29.

Again Brydge played the full season but was on the move in the summer time, this time to the New York Americans. It seems Brydge didn't do a whole lot to impress with the Cougars in his one season. In fact his most notable legacy there may have been his dental record. He lost a few teeth in a February game with Boston when Eddie Shore, who had been knocked goofy by Reg Noble earlier, checked Brydge into the boards hard. Shore received a major penalty for his actions.

Brydge joined the Amerks for the 1929-30 season, finding a permanent NHL home, playing there until 1936. He seemed to really cement his standing in 1930-31 after he was paired with newly acquired Red Dutton.

Brydge developed a reputation as a feared open ice hitter. The stocky defender was noted for his play at both ends of the ice. He and Dutton were counted on heavily in the defensive zone, but both contributed on the score sheet too. Three times he was in the top ten of defensemen scoring in his career.

Of course, hockey players' true stature is measured in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Playing for weak teams named St. Pats, Cougars and Americans did not give Brydge much of a chance to compete for the silver chalice. In 9 seasons (368 regular season games) Brydge's team only made the playoffs once (1929 with Detroit). After 2 games, he was out.

The Amerks granted Brydge his unconditional release in 1936. He was slowing down and the Amerks had acquired Joe Jerwa to take his place. Rather than bury him in the minor leagues like so many teams would do back in those days, the Americans showed Brydge respect for his contributions with the out right release. Brydge controlled his own future.

Brydge never did catch on with another pro team. Instead he moved to Kirkland Lake, Ontario where he coached the Lake Shore Blue Devils, winning the Allan Cup in 1940. He also held a job with the Donald Ropes and Wire Cloth Company until 1947 when he became ill.

Born in 1901, Bill Brydge died November 2nd, 1949.

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