July 22, 2016

Charlie Sands

A native of Fort William, Ontario, Charlie Sands was a center and right winger with four NHL teams.

In total Sands played in 431 NHL contests in the 1930s and early 1940s. He scored 99 goals and

The speedy Sands signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1932, though he did not join the big club until the following year. His big break was a season ending shoulder injury to Leafs star Ace Bailey.

Sands impressed in his debut. Globe and Mail sports editor M. J. Rodden described Sands as "a conscientious, hard working player who packs quite a bit of weight" who may "prove himself just the man the Leafs need in this time of trial."

Sands did well playing three games and collecting three assists. It earned him a full season with the Leafs in 1933-34 where he collected eight goals and eight assists in a full season.

After just one season with the Leafs Sands was traded to the Boston Bruins where he enjoyed five solid seasons. Three times he challenged the 20 goal mark three times. He would win a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 1939.

Sands joined the Montreal Canadiens in in 1939 for four seasons after a trade for Herb Cain. He enjoyed four solid seasons as a support player in Montreal.

He would wind up his career with a few games for the New York Rangers.

In 1944 Sands hockey career took an unexpected turn. He ended up in California, playing and coaching for several teams - most notably the Hollywood Wolves.

And, yes, he did complete the Hollywood dream. Sands appeared in the 1946 Hollywood movie production called "Gay Blades." It was a story about a big league hockey star who is scouted by a Hollywood movie company who wants him to star in their movie. No, Sands was not the star of this show. The lead actor was a fellow named Allan Lane. Sands, along with former NHLers Bob Gracie, Ossie Asmundson and Bud Cook, all played background roles for the on-ice scenes.
Sands remained in California and was employed at the famous Hollywood Bowl at the time of his early death in 1953. He was just 42 years old.

In 2011 Charlie Sands nephew Jim Sands created a critically acclaimed one-man theatre show called Charlie: A Hockey Story.

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