April 29, 2015

Norm Corcoran

Norm "Corky" Corcoran had a long professional career - 16 years long, to be exact - mostly in the American Hockey League. He did play 29 NHL games, mostly with Chicago but also with Boston and Detroit.

Corcoran was a junior star in his hometown of Toronto with the St. Mikes Majors. His final junior season in 1950 he moved down the road to St. Catherines. It was with the Teepees that he felt he really developed into an elite hockey player, thanks to the tutelage of coach Art Jackson.

 It was Boston's scout, the former NHL star Baldy Cotton, who encouraged the Bruins sign him. They convinced him to turn pro for 1950-51, even though he still had two seasons of junior eligibility left. Corcoran later admitted that he regretted not staying with coach Jackson for at least one more season.

Corcoran reported to the Bruins farm team in Hershey and formed an effective combination with linemates Red Sullivan and Jack McIntyre. Aside from three random call-up games to the Bruins he spent five straight seasons with Hershey.

Corcoran's first real shot at the NHL came in the 1955 Stanley Cup playoffs. He was called up for the post-season and appeared in four games. He didn't score a point, but he held his own and did not look out of place.

Among the more impressed were the Detroit Red Wings. They were sure to included Corcoran when they made a blockbuster deal with the Bruins involving the goaltending great Terry Sawchuk and seven other players.

Corcoran's stay in Detroit was one of the more bizarre in NHL history. His first game in Detroit - after playing in only three NHL regular season games - was in the NHL All Star game. Back then the All Star Game opened the NHL schedule, with the defending Stanley Cup champions taking on the best from the other Original Six teams. Even though Corcoran was not part of Detroit's championship team several months earlier, he was able to participate in a NHL All Star Game.

Shortly after Corcoran was then traded to Chicago in exchange for Walt Blaisdell. However Blaisdell balked at the trade and refused to move to Detroit. He went so far as to say he would not play in Detroit for a month, as he was going to get married and go on his honeymoon! As a result the trade was overturned and Corcoran returned to the Wings.

Corcoran did appear in two games with Detroit but spent most of the first half of the season with their farm team in Edmonton. By January 1956 Corcoran finally did get to report to Chicago, as a new trade was arranged for cash and minor leaguer Gord Pennell. Cocoran played finished the season with 23 games played with the Hawks, scoring one goal and four points.

Despite the Hawks status as one of the weaker teams in the league at that point, Corcoran never returned to a NHL lineup. He would spend the next 10 seasons as a vagabond in the minor leagues.

Corcoran's penalty minute totals rarely suggested he was a true heavyweight by any stretch. Not that he couldn't have learned a few tricks about grappling and fisticuffs from his uncle Jack. He was a boxing and wrestling promoter!

Corcoran was also a notable field lacrosse star as a youth, as well. He also excelled at baseball, but fishing was a true love.

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