August 27, 2015

Chuck Holmes

Chuck Holmes was a long time hockey player out west.  He starred in Edmonton as a junior and a pro, and later in Seattle. He also got a brief chance in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in the 1950s, totalling 23 games.

Holmes is the son of Lou Holmes, who was also an Edmonton junior and professional star. Lou also played briefly in the NHL - 59 games with Chicago from 1929 through 1931.

Son Chuck played his junior hockey in Edmonton with the powerhouse Oil Kings. In 1955 they lost the Memorial Cup final to the St. Catherines Teepees, but what a team those Oil Kings had. Holmes' teammates included Norm Ullman and Johnny Bucyk.

Chuck, who later in life went by Charlie, turned pro in the Red Wings organization, but he mostly played in the minor leagues in his 15 year pro career.

Fortunately for Chuck, the Red Wings farm team was in Edmonton. For most of the first decade in Holmes' career was spent at home with the Edmonton Flyers.

Holmes was a consistent if unspectacular player. He earned a reputation as a hard player to play against, though his penalty minute totals suggest he was usually a clean player.

Aside from a couple of stops with teams like the Pittsburgh Hornets and Portland Rosebuds, Chuck would settle in Seattle and become a fan favorite with the Seattle Totems.

Though it certainly was not easy transition.

Holmes was once very much hated by the Totems's fans. One night Holmes and the Edmonton Flyers were visiting Seattle. Holmes found himself in a scrum along the boards only to have a male fan reach over the low glass and attack him with a piece of a hockey stick. An angry Holmes turned around to return the favor, but accidentally hit a female fan in the head in the process. The fans began pelting Holmes with debris and beer. Police had to convince him to not return to the game.

The woman, by the way, needed a few stitches but was fine. She later sued the Totems for a small settlement.

Two years later Holmes would join the Totems. Fans would learn to love his hard hitting game that made him a first team WHL All Star in 1968.

Holmes would live the rest of his life in the Pacific Northwest, including many years on beautiful Bainbridge Island. He briefly coached the Totems, but with Seattle continually losing players to the parent Vancouver Canucks due to injury call ups, the team floundered. Soon enough he was removed as coach and became a roofer.

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