March 04, 2013
Lieutenant Bill Benson
The New York Americans, a long defunct team now, signed the junior star out of Winnipeg in 1940. With their roster depleted by World War II commitments, the Amerks needed the promising youngster to fill in.
Benson played in 22 games in 1940-41, scoring 3 goals and 7 points. He was finding his stride in 1941-42, scoring 8 goals and 21 assists for a respectable 29 points in 45 games.
But then Benson gave up his NHL career, also offering his services to the Canadian military effort. He joined the Canadian Navy as a Lieutenant aboard the frigates, HMCS Cloyoquot and HMCS Grou.
Upon the completion of his Navy duties, Benson resumed his hockey career in 1946, but he would never return to the NHL. He played 5 seasons in the AHL, briefly with the Cleveland Barons before enjoying a good run with the Pittsburgh Hornets.
Upon his retirement as a hockey player Benson returned to the Winnipeg area and worked in the insurance business. He would live in Winnipeg the rest of his life, although he wintered in Vancouver later in life. He was an accomplished amateur sailor and loved bridge.
Benson, a Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame inductee in 1986, passed away in 2012 after a long battle with Alzheimer`s.