March 10, 2015

Slim Halderson

Harold Halderson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba a week into 1898. He appears to have been born as Halldor Halldorson, but the family anglicized their named despite the strong Icelandic heritage in Winnipeg back in those days.

Not that it mattered - he grew quickly and topped out as a giant, at least in the hockey world at that time, at 6'3". His nickname Slim stuck with him forever.

Described an excellent stick handler and playmaker and a deceptive skater, Halderson had a long and interesting career in hockey.

Halderson grew up playing hockey in Winnipeg, starring at the junior and senior levels. He was part of a strong Icelandic hockey community, though the city didn't initially warm to them. In fact the Icelanders were looked down upon at that time, as if they were second class citizens.

Hockey helped to change that when a surprise team known as the Winnipeg Falcons - made up primarily of players from Icelandic families - won the Allan Cup and represented Canada at the very first Olympic hockey tournament. The Falcons, in their yellow Canada jerseys, won gold by defeating Czechoslovaks 15-0, USA 2-0, and Sweden 12-1.

Halderson returned to Canada and played a season of senior hockey in Saskatchewan before turning pro with the Victoria Cougars of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association - the western rival of the eastern based National Hockey League. He played several strong seasons in the beautiful British Columbia capital city. In 1925 the Cougars became the last non-NHL team to win the Stanley Cup. In the process Halderson and Frank Frederickson - Halderson's teammate from Winnipeg - became the first players in history to win both an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup.

The PCHA collapsed in 1926. The Victoria Cougars were purchased by American interests and moved to Detroit where they eventually became known as the Detroit Red Wings. Slim moved to Michigan too, but finished the 1926-27 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In a combined 44 games Halderson scored 3 goals and 5 points in an otherwise un-noteworthy year.

That was the end of Slim Halderson's NHL career, but he continued to play on at several different levels until 1937. He travelled to Quebec City, Newark, Kansas City, Wichita and Tulsa, all to chase pucks.

Halderson finally hung up his blades in 1937 and returned to Winnipeg where he worked for the Manitoba Liquor Commission until he retired in 1961. He passed away in 1965.

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