Skip to main content

Pete Bessone

Pete Bessone's path to the National Hockey League was one of the more unlikely roads travelled.

Bessone's NHL career consisted of just six games with the Detroit Red Wings in the 1937-38 season. He picked up one assist and six penalty minutes. He went on to a long career in the minor leagues, despite a heart ailment that, at the time, saved him from military duty even though it looked like his hockey career would end. But he returned to the ice and was an AHL fan favorite with Pittsburgh and Cleveland, where cementing his reputation as a tough as nails defenseman.

Bessone was dubbed "the Massachusetts' Mauler" because of his aggressive play and the fact that he was born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He starred in football, baseball and hockey at West Springfield High School. His brief appearance in the NHL was unlikely enough as very few American players made it to the NHL back then.

But far more unusual is that Bessone's NHL career was pre-dated by five seasons of senior level hockey played in France (where he was often referred to as Pete Besson). Statistical records are a little sketchy at best, but Bessone played for a number of French teams in many tournaments between 1931 through 1936.

France has never been much of a power on the ice, and especially was not back then. Bessone was a cult hero over there, as he was the main gate attraction wherever in France he played. He was dubbed the "Babe Ruth of hockey in Paris."

Bessone also represented the United States at the 1934 World Championships, taking the silver medal behind only Canada. He scored two goals in the semi-final game vs. Germany.

Bessone returned to Europe following his playing days, coaching in France, Switzerland and Italy. He returned to America to coach in Springfield, but would be out of the game entirely by 1950.

He lived in Springfield most of the rest of his life, and moved to Florida in retirement. In 1989 he passed away at his daughter's house in Irvine, California when he suffered a heart attack. He was 76 years old.

Pete Bessone was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M