August 19, 2015

Gerry Couture

Gerry "Doc" Couture played a key role in Detroit's Stanley Cup championship in 1950.

A proud native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Couture was born in 1925. He attended St. Joseph's School and became a popular hockey star, playing on Church League winners in 1936 and 1937.

Couture went on to play junior hockey for the Saskatoon Quakers in 1941-42 and 1942-43 and then captained the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for two seasons. He also played some senior hockey at this time, including while serving with the Navy in - of all places - in landlocked Saskatoon! The Saskatchewan city is around 1600 kilometers away from the Pacific Ocean!

Couture turned pro in 1945 with the Detroit Red Wings. He would play with the Wings for parts of seven seasons, often playing with Gerry Gee and Pete Babando. He had his best season in 1949-50 when he scored 24 goals, tied for seventh most in the entire NHL. He would add another five goals in the playoffs, picking up the scoring slack after Gordie Howe was lost to his infamous skull fracture in the Toronto . With Couture's timely goal scoring the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.

Hockey is a what-have-you-done-lately business, however. Couture had a bad following season, and was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in the summer. He would only play ten games with the Habs. In a less than festive move, the Canadiens demoted him to the minor leagues on Christmas Day, 1951.

Couture later spent two seasons with the Chicago Black Hawks. In total Couture played 385 regular season National Hockey League games between 1944-45 and 1953-54 with the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks. Over that time, he scored 86 and assisted on 70 for 156 points. Gerry played 45 more games in the Stanley Cup playoffs, adding 16 points.

After spending some time in Calgary with the old Western Hockey League, he returned to his beloved Saskatoon in the late 1950s to play and coach.

As a youth Couture was also an outstanding tennis player. He and Johnny Leicester teamed together in doubles, playing in two Canadian championships and once a Mexican Davis Cup doubles team.

Gerry Couture died on July 13, 1994.

No comments: