September 19, 2015

Gerry Ehman

Gerry "Tex" Ehman may be best remembered to many as a star scout for the New York Islanders from 1974 through to 2003.

When Ehman passed away in 2006 from lung cancer, he was recognized as one of the key builders of the Islanders dynasty in the early 1980s.

"Tex was a good friend and a great hockey man," said Al Arbour, the Isles' legendary coach. "He is going to be missed by all of us."

"Tex was my buddy," Torrey said. "The Islanders and our fans have lost a great one. His accomplishments for our franchise will never be forgotten."

Not everyone realizes Ehman had a very successful career as a player, too. Ehman played eight seasons in the NHL with Boston, Detroit, Toronto and Oakland. He retired as a player in 1971 having scored 96 goals and 116 assists in 429 games.

Ehman spent parts of four seasons in the NHL during the Original Six days - no easy feat as there was much fewer jobs around compared to nowadays.  But he would spend most of the 1960s buried in the Leafs system and playing in the minor leagues.

In 1963-64 he was the leading scorer in the American Hockey League and was recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs in time to help them win the Stanley Cup.

Ehman was teammates on the championship squad with a defenseman named Al Arbour, who first hired him in St. Louis in 1972 and later recommended him as a scout to Islanders general manager Bill Torrey, who knew Ehman from his days with the Golden Seals.

The Seals, of course, arrived in the NHL expansion wave of 1967-68. That allowed a lot of career minor leaguers to finally earn a NHL paycheck, including Ehman. He would spend four seasons as a serviceable forward for the Seals. He regularly challenged the 20 goal mark (he even scored the first hat trick in Seals history) while providing solid defensive play, too.

Teammate Tracy Pratt called him "a great, honest player and two-way specialist. He was a real student of the game and very reliable. If he said he had his man, he had him locked up."

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