December 04, 2011
Howie Young: Hockey's Troubled Soul
Raised by his grandparents in what is now southeast Toronto, Howie was blessed with natural athleticism. He wanted to be a cowboy like his idol, John Wayne, until he saw his first game at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Despite the fact he was an alcoholic by age fifteen, his play and ferocious style attracted NHL scouts and at 18 he was invited to Canadiens' training camp. Unfortunately, his hard partying ways left him hung over and sick and the Habs sent him home.
He played first in the OHL, then for the QMJHL Chicoutimit Sagueneens, where he racked up 180 PIM in 50 games. After that, he played one season for the WHL New Westminster Royals. He saw little action with them, playing only four games. Finally after two seasons in the AHL and 330 PIM, Young broke into the Detroit Red Wings lineup for the 1960-61 season.
His crushing bodychecks and fast, smart play helped Detroit to the 1961 Staley Cup Finals, and in 1962-63, compiled a then-record 273 penalties in 64 games. The same year, he made the cover of Sports Illustrated, despite being extremely hungover at the photo shoot.
Read the full Howie Young biography