August 17, 2013

Bo Elik: Bo "Nose" Hockey

Bo Elik was a promising player with the word superstar splashed all over him. However he never achieved superstar status. Don Cherry thinks he knows why.

Elik was a fast skating, sharpshooting left-winger in North Bay, Ontario when he opted to turn professional in 1956-57 with the Cleveland Barons. Elik immediately impressed, being named as the AHL's rookie of the year and a first team All Star after a 40 goal, 80 point season in 61 games. He duplicated his efforts in a second season in the AHL, again earning a berth on the All Star team.

This young hot shot was perhaps too much of a hot shot for his own good though. Elik was destined to be promoted to the NHL until he crossed one of the game's all time most ferocious players in Larry Zeidel.

Don Cherry explains the incident:

"We were playing the Barons in Hershey one night, and they were beating us. Elik would come to the center red line, dump the puck into our end and yell: "Go chase it Larry!"

Since it was a loose puck in his end of the rink, Larry went skating in after it and lugged it out before passing it to one of our forwards. But Elik got a hold of the puck again, wheeled around, came up to the red line, dumped it in again and snapped: "Go chase the puck, Larry. Chase the puck!"

Instead of chasing the puck, Larry drew back his stick like a harpoonist and drove it right up Elik's nose. The blood gushed like water coming out of a whale's spout. As a postscript, Larry shot back: "Now you chase it, Bo!"

Elik was never the same player after this episode."

In a word - ouch!

The Barons apparently also subscribed to Cherry's conclusion and traded him to the Rochester Americans. Elik also bounced around with the Providence Reds, Pittsburgh Hornets and the WHL's Edmonton Flyers, never coming close to achieving the status he had as a AHL rookie.

In what proved to be his final season, 1962-63, Elik was finally given his cup of coffee at the NHL level. He appeared in 3 games with Detroit and played sparingly.

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