July 04, 2015

Ed Sandford

Ed Sandford was an honest, hard working winger. Though he was never a superstar, you would have believed he was the best player in hockey if you only watched his 11 playoff games in 1953.

Sandford was a terrific junior player out of the famed St. Mikes Majors team. Some of his teammates at the Catholic Boys School were Gus Mortson, Red Kelly, Jim Thomson and Tod Sloan. The Bruins, looking to replace some aging stars, signed up Sandford and by 1947, at the age of 19, the large winger had made the NHL full time.

"Right out of the blue, I got an offer to play for the Bruins - contract and all. At first I wasn't sure I wanted to go to Boston. The idea of giving up school weighed on me and then there was the possibility of taking night courses. I finally decided to give the Bruins a shot, and am I ever grateful that I made that decision!"

Ed didn't set the league on fire right away. He scored 10 goals and 16 goals in his first two years respectively. In year 3, 1949-50, he scored just once in 19 games as he fractured his ankle in a November game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Sandy" recovered from the injury in time for the 1950-51 season. The workmanlike player has a fond memory about the 1951 playoff series against Toronto, even though his Bruins lost the series.

"In those days the city of Toronto had what they called a Blue Law, which meant that you couldn't play professional sports on Sundays. That was when Toronto was a very conservative town," said Ed

"Well, the second game was on March 31, 1951, which was a Saturday night. That was no problem except that the score was tied 1-1 after three periods, and we went into overtime. Into the extra session we went and still there was no score, except that now it was getting closer and closer to midnight - and Sunday, when no pro hockey could be played!"

"Finally, the game was stopped at midnight, a 1-1 tie and a washed out game. But the law was the law so we headed for Boston and Game Three on April Fools Day!"

Sandford's favorite playoff stories must come from the 1953 playoffs when Sandy's Bruins pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of hockey, as the B's shocked Gordie Howe's Detroit Red Wings.

After a game 1 7-0 trouncing of the Bruins by Gordie and the Wings, Sandford, playing on a line with Johnny Peirson and Fleming Mackell, caught fire. He scored 6 goals in the next 5 games, as the Bruins beat Detroit 4 games to 2.

The Bruins Cinderella story would ultimately fall short though, as in the final round the mighty Montreal Canadiens were able to knock off the Beantown upstarts. Sandford continued to be hot however, and ended up leading all playoff participants in scoring with 8 goals and 11 points in 11 games.

Sandford, who played in 5 consecutive NHL all star games from 1951-1955, remained a Bruin until his last NHL season - 1955-56. He was initially traded to Detroit in a monstrous deal which saw nine players pack up their houses. Sandford was accompanied by Real Chevrefils, Norm Corcoran, Gilles Boisvert and Warren Godfrey in exchange for Terry Sawchuk as wall as Marcel Bonin, Vic Stasiuk and Lorne Davis.

Sandford's stay in the Motor City was extremely brief, as he was traded to Chicago after just 4 games in the Red and White. After being traded for Metro Prystai, Sandy played 57 games for the Hawks before retiring.

Sandford returned to the Boston area following his retirement and became involved with a small brokerage firm. He did that for about a decade before he returned to the NHL as an off-ice official.

"I had a very enjoyable career and I was fortunate to remain connected to hockey and to have been able to follow the game in the 37 years or so since I played in the NHL. I've been fortunate to have seen a lot of hockey and to have witnessed the evolution of the game

No comments: