July 13, 2016

Les Douglas

Les Douglas, known to his fans as either Dead-Eye Douglas, Dynamite Douglas or The Perth Bullet, was born in Perth, Ontario in 1918. He was the fifth of six children of the vice-president of a local mill.

It was in picturesque Perth that Douglas became a notable junior hockey star. This was especially evident in 1937 when he implausibly led the Perth Blue Wings on a bid for the Memorial Cup as Canada's junior champions. Perth eventually bowed to Oshawa in the semifinal, but scouts definitely noticed Douglas. How could they not? He scored 27 goals and 45 points in just 12 games!

Les Douglas, described as "a hard-nosed, playmaking centreman" won no fewer than six professional hockey scoring titles in the 1940s and 1950s. Yet he could only crack a NHL lineup 52 times in his lengthy career.

In 1949-50 Douglas was the obvious choice as American Hockey League MVP as he paced the Cleveland Barons with 100 points - then a nearly unthinkable scoring accomplishment. Carl Liscombe, a couple of AHL seasons earlier, was the first and only other player in pro hockey history to crack the century mark.

Despite his lack of time in the NHL, Douglas did earn a Stanley Cup ring with Detroit in the spring of 1943. He had made a strong late season impression with 13 points in 21 games. That earned him a regular spot in the Wings playoff line up, where he continued to score with three goals and eight points in ten post season contest. 

For his efforts Douglas not only got to hoist the Stanley Cup but he was given a traditional Stanley Cup championship ring to commemorate the achievement. Unfortunately for Douglas he lost his in his backyard garden in Kingston. 

Unfortunately Douglas' NHL career was quickly put on hold thanks to World War II. He spent two years in the Canadian Army, and when he returned tot he Red Wings in 1945, his spot had been filled. 

Douglas continued to dominate at the minor league level, always ranking near the top of the scoring race. He returned to the NHL for a 12 game cameo in 1946-47.

After turning 35 Douglas retired from pro hockey and tried his hand as a playing-coach in senior hockey in Sarnia and then Kingston.

Douglas would settle in Kingston, working for Alcan for many years. He would always remain active on the local hockey scene by coaching and organizing minor hockey. 

Cancer would claim Les Douglas life in 2002. He was 83 years old. 

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