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August 28, 2015

Archie Briden

Hockey players tend to be a vagabond bunch. But Archie Briden might be the only player in National Hockey League history who could say his journey to the NHL included a stop in Egypt.

Archie "Red" Briden was born in somewhere in Ontario in 1897. Sources say Renfrew, Hintonburg, Ottawa.

We known Calgary became his home as an adult.. He would spend his off-seasons from hockey working as an electrician for the city of Calgary.

And we know he would return to Ontario after his transient hockey career was over, residing in Haileybury at the time of his death in 1974.

Haileybury seems to have been his real home. He first made a name for himself on the ice as a 14 year old playing with men in the mining leagues. He was said to be the fastest skater on the ice. Those big, burly miners couldn't catch him. He fit right in off the ice, too. He had his own claim and could handle a placer pan as well as a hockey puck.

His big league hockey career got it's start in 1916 with Toronto of the National Hockey Association - forerunner to the NHL. His budding hockey career was cut short due to his enrollment in the Canadian military effort in World War I. He was enlisted with Canada's 159th Battalion, serving in France and then Egypt.

Though he never touched a puck for three years, he returned to the ice like he never missed a beat. Briden was a slender left winger, hence his other nickname - "Bones." To say he was well travelled is an understatement. He played for twelve different teams in a twelve year pro career.

That included brief NHL stops with the Boston Bruins, Detroit Cougars and Pittsburgh Pirates (where he played some defense) way back in the 1920s, scoring nine goals and fourteen points a combined 71 game career.

His big league career included Western stops in Seattle, Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary. His best years came in Alberta where he was noted as "a good goal-getter."

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