February 06, 2016

Ken Randall

Ken Randall was born in Kingston, Ontario way back in 1888. A very aggressive player, Randall played both as a left wing and defenseman, making his professional debut during the 1909-10 season.

He debuted with the Brantford Indians in the OPHL (Ontario Professional Hockey League). He scored 10 goals in 10 games and played really well. The next season Ken led the Port Hope Professionals (EOPHL) with 19 goals in only 6 games. He played one game with the Montreal Wanderers (NHA) in 1911-12.

The following season Ken went in search of new pastures and found himself on the east coast, playing for the Maritime Hockey League (MPHL) and the Sydney Millionaires. According to the people who saw Sydney play, Ken was the only star player on the team. He went on to score 17 goals in 12 games that year and Sydney qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs. They were soundly beaten by the Quebec Bulldogs and future Hall of Famer Joe Malone who scored 9 goals in one of the games.

Randall's fine play prompted Toronto Blueshirts manager Jack Marshall to give him a tryout. Ken played two games for the Blueshirts but blew his chance and went back to play for the Sydney Millionaires where he racked up 28 goals in 24 games He led all playoff scorers with five goals in two games. In 1914-15 Ken led the MPHL and Sydney with 11 goals in 8 games.

Prior to the start of the 1915-16 season Ken got another chance with the Toronto Blueshirts (NHA) and this time he didn't fail in his attempt to impress the Toronto management. He scored seven goals and twelve points in 24 games and piled up 111 PIMs. During the 1916-17 season Ken played for both Toronto and Montreal Wanderers, scoring 12 goals in 18 games as well as having 81 penalty minutes

Ken was one of the tough guys of the early era. "The Pepper Kid" was a no-nonsense player who was involved whenever there was trouble on ice or a fight. He received many fines and suspensions during his Toronto days in the NHL. His on ice "escapades" included being a runner-up in the penalty minute department during NHL's inaugural season (1917-18) when he had 96 penalty minutes (behind Joe Hall's 100). That same season he was the most penalized player during the playoffs with 33 penalty minutes in just seven games.

One of the more hilarious moments in NHL history occurred on February 23rd, 1918 as the Arenas played Ottawa. The league suspended Randall and league president insisting he would not be allowed to play until he paid his $35 in unpaid fines. Legend has it that on this night Randall showed up ready to play, and before puck drop he paid referee Lou Marsh $32 in bills and $3 in pennies. Marsh may have found the incident funny, at least until somebody accidentally knocked all the coins onto the ice, delaying the game.

Randall may have been the most fined man in the NHL's early days. He was routinely fined for brawling, attacks with his stick and swearing. He was constantly swearing.

But it seemed to work for Randall. He was never considered to be a star player but he helped the Toronto Arenas win the Stanley Cup in 1918, and again in 1922 (this time with the re-branded St. Pats).

On December 14th, 1923 Randall was traded to Hamilton along with some cash for Amos Arbour, George Carey and Bert Corbeau. Ken went on to be the playing-manager for the Hamilton Tigers but since managing wasn't his forte he was soon replaced by Percy Lesueur.

In 1925 Ken continued on his controversial path when the team went on strike, demanding extra pay, right before the Stanley Cup playoffs. Soon thereafter the Hamilton franchise was purchased and transferred to New York to become the Americans. Ken played two seasons in the "Big Apple" before leaving the NHL for good in 1927. Ken Randall played a total of 217 NHL games, scoring 104 points, including 69 career goals. He also had 503 penalty minutes. In fifteen playoff games he added another four goals and five points and 67 penalty minutes.

He played a couple of more seasons in the Canadian Professional and Canadian-American Hockey League as well as the Ontario Professional Hockey League before trying his hand at coaching.

Randall went on to work many jobs once he left the ice - from plumbing and steamfitting to working at a sporting goods store, a dairy and some hotels.

After complaining of an non-diagnosed illness for several weeks, Ken Randall died of a heart attack on June 14th, 1947. He was 59 years old.

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