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July 31, 2015

Murray Hall

It is debatable if Murray Hall was a better hockey player or a better golfer.

Hall was born in Kirkland Lake but he grew up in nearby rural Tarzwell where his family owned the general store. He grew up falling in love with the game on frozen Round lake before moving to town. The family moved to Oakville later so his father could work at the Ford plant.

That allowed Hall to opportunities to better both is hockey game and discover golf. Soon enough he was leaving home to play junior hockey with the St. Catherines Teepees. Soon enough he was close to being a scratch golfer, too.

Hall would help the Teepees win the Memorial Cup in 1960, scoring seven goals and 21 points in 14 playoff games. The following season he showed his promise over the whole season, scoring 35 goals and 76 points in just 48 games.

At the same time, thanks to Oakville's more forgiving winters, Hall also earned his Canadian Professional Golf Association card. The golf game came naturally to him, though his competitive career on the links would have to wait until he was done competing on the rinks.

Not that the NHL opportunities came easily. Despite brief appearances with Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota, Hall spent nearly a decade toiling in the minor leagues, while working as a golf pro in the summer time.

His most successful stop was in Vancouver with the WHL Canucks (plus he probably loved the year round golf in Vancouver!) When the Canucks became an NHL expansion franchise in 1970, the popular Hall was an easy choice to make the jump to the NHL.

Hall would spend a season and half with the NHL Canucks. His first season was quite strong, scoring 21 goals and 59 points while playing on a line with Orland Kurtenbach and Wayne Maki. Hall finished fourth on the team in scoring behind Andre Boudrias, Maki and Rosie Paiement.

Hall struggled in the first half of the 1971-72 season, scoring just six goals in 32 games. They demoted him to snowy Rochester.

Hall probably didn't like the golf in Rochester, nor the pay check. So he jumped at the opportunity to play with Gordie Howe and sons with the Houston Aeros. He enjoyed four strong seasons in the WHA, all while honing his golf game on the courses around Texas.

Hall played through to 1977, playing one last season with Oklahoma City of the Central Hockey League. He then returned to Ontario, setting up a skate sharpening business while playing senior hockey for the Alexanders.

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