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March 04, 2015

Tiny Defenseman Was No Patsy: Patsy Callighen

His name was Francis Charles Winslow Callighen. But his teammates knew him simply as Patsy.

He may have been 5'6" and 175lbs, small for a defenseman in any era. But he was a rough and tumble customer. Twice as a pro he led his league in penalty minutes, and the other years he was up among the leaders. He was described, at the minor league level, as a "mainstay of the defense through his ability to break up fast plays of the opposing teams, hard body checking and dependability."

Born in Toronto Callighen played his junior hockey with the powerhouse Owen Sound team that challenged for the Memorial Cup regularly, though Callighen never did win that championship.

He turned pro in 1926-27, playing with Springfield Indians of the long gone Canadian-American Hockey League. He would play with Springfield the vast majority of his career, later also playing in the International Hockey League most notably with the Cleveland Falcons.

But in his second year as a pro he joined the NHL's New York Rangers. He didn't play very much. He got into 36 games (in a 44 game schedule) and never scored a single point. He did, typically, sit in the penalty box a fair amount, totalling 32 PIMs.

Callighen also played in all 9 post-season games for the Rangers that year. That's important because the spring of 1928 saw the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup championship.

That one season concluded Callighen's NHL story. Lots of time on the bench or penalty box. And a Stanley Cup championship!

Patsy Callighen passed away on October 16th, 1974. He was survived by his only child, a daughter named Patsy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, there is a misprint. My grandfather died in 1964, not 1974.

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