March 25, 2016

Lou Crawford

The city of Belleville, Ontario should be known as Crawfordville.

The city's most famous family has to be the hockey mad Crawfords, led by father Floyd, a member of the 1959 World Champion Belleville McFarlands. No one in Belleville is more synonymous with hockey in Belleville than the patriarch Floyd.

Five of Floyd's seven sons played professionally, and all played junior or college. The talented Bobby and charming Marc played in the NHL. Marc later became more successful as a NHL coach, and brought brother Eric, who never played pro, to the NHL coaching ranks as well.

Lou Crawford, the fifth of the eight children including his two sisters, grew up in the immense shadows of his father Floyd and brothers Bob and Marc. But Loud, too, made it to the National Hockey League.

Lou, like most of the family, was a scrappy player who survived on heart and effort more than his average skill level. But his desire took him far - a Memorial Cup championship with the Kitchener Rangers in 1982 and two AHL Calder Cup championships, with Rochester in 1983 and Adirondack in 1989. He emerged as a 15 goal, 35 point man at the AHL level.

His hands may have not scored him a lot of goals, but they were the key to his hockey career. He was far more likely use his hands in other ways, even though he somehow seemed to lose his gloves in the process. He racked up a hard earned 1827 career penalty minutes in 650 AHL games, taking on the league's most notorious tough guys.

All of this earned Crawford 26 game trial with the Boston Bruins in his pugnacious career. He was able to chip in with a couple of goals and an assist, as well as fights against Rob Ray, Barry Beck and Ken Baumgartner. Coach Mike Milbury had a soft spot for Lou, and rewarded him for all the dues he had paid in the minor leagues.

Lou went on to a successful coaching career. First he coached back in Belleville, with his famous father watching every move from the stands. He went on to coach St. John's in the AHL before becoming a long time scout.

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