Skip to main content

Bill Bennett

Bill Bennett was the youngest member of the Warwick, Rhode Island family to play in the National Hockey League, but he certainly wasn't the smallest. At 6'5" and 235 pounds Bill was one big hockey player in any era, but especially in the 1970s.

Bill is the son of Harvey Bennett, a long time AHL goalkeeper with Providence who also spent a season with the Boston Bruins during World War II. Harvey had 5 sons who all played pro hockey, three of which played in the NHL - Curt, the most successful, Harvey Jr., a big center, and Bill. Brothers Jim (CHL) and John (WHA) also played.

Unlike his brothers, Bill never attended college. The Bennett offspring were somewhat legendary on the college circuit, especially at Brown University where Curt, Jim and John all starred. Harvey Jr. played at Boston College. But Bill went straight from high school to the pro ranks, signing for a season with Columbus Owls of the weak IHL in 1976-77. Perhaps Bill and his supporters felt that with his size he could jump to the pro game quicker than others and that maybe the college route wasn't quite for him. And perhaps aided by brothers Curt and Harvey Jr.'s success at the NHL level the Boston Bruins were quick to sign Bill to a free agent contract.

By the end of his first pro year Bill was playing at a higher level of minor league hockey, playing in the playoffs with the Rochester Americans of the AHL. He played two more seasons in Rochester, blossoming into a 30 goal scorer in 1978-79. That same season Bill was brought up to the NHL for his first taste of action - a 7 game stint where he impressed 1 goal and 4 assists!

The WHA collapsed in the summer of 1979, and the NHL took on its 4 remaining teams. The result was an expansion draft to stock the 4 teams, and Bill was left unprotected by the Bruins. He was picked up by the nearby Hartford Whalers. He played in 24 games with the Whalers that 1979-80 season, scoring 3 goals and 6 points, but finished the year in the AHL

Bill never made it back to the NHL. He spent the next two years struggling through injuries as he bounced around with 3 minor league teams. By the summer of 1982, Bill gave up the game.

Bill returned to Rhode Island and is very active in the family sporting goods business, Bennett Sports, to this day.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M