March 11, 2016

Mel Read

Mel Read's nickname gives an immediate hint about what kind of hockey player he was.

"Pee Wee" Read was small. Five-foot-five small. One hundred and sixty pounds small.

Not that he played small. The speedster played with an edge, as demonstrated in an incident involving Montreal's Maurice "Rocket" Richard.

Read was called up by the New York Rangers in the 1946-47 season. In a game vs. Montreal he managed to clip Richard with a real nice hip check, sending the Rocket skidding across the ice.

At the next face-off Read once again lined up against an unassuming Richard. But as soon as the puck was dropped, Richard reportedly spoke out with a quick elbow the naive and unsuspecting Read.

That was one of just six games Read would play in his National Hockey League career. He bounced around the minor leagues from Texas to Minnesota to Quebec before spending three impressive seasons out west with the Tacoma Rockets of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. He was a playmaking waterbug of a player, always making something happen with the puck.

Read would retire in 1952 and return to Quebec. He settled in Pierrefonds and worked for years as a sales agent for Wyant and Company. But he was most at home at the local rink where he coached, managed and officiated youth hockey.

Read passed away from cancer in 2005. He was 83.

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