September 08, 2016

Bill "Red" Johansen

Norwegian born/Thunder Bay, Ontario raised Bill Johansen played one game in the National Hockey League in 1950.

Johansen was perhaps better known by his nickname Red and sometimes known by the last name Johnson. By the late 1970s he became best known as Trevor Johansen's dad. The younger Johansen followed in his father's footsteps. He was junior star and Memorial Cup champion with the Toronto Marlies who went on to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Dad, too, was a Memorial Cup champion, helping the Port Arthur West End Bruins win Canada's national junior championship in 1948.

Bill went on to play for the Toronto Marlboros at the senior hockey level, winning the Allan Cup as Canada's national senior champions in 1950.

Bill would play just one game for the Leafs, substituting as an emergency replacement player due to an injury to Teeder Kennedy.

"I was playing centre for Marlie Seniors. One Saturday night they called me up to the Leafs because Ted Kennedy had gotten hurt. I played between Bill Ezinicki and Harry Watson. I thought I did pretty well but we got beat by Boston, 3-0.

But that was the only game the lanky center in the NHL. He would go onto play a long career in the minor leagues as a playmaking center. He believed at some point the Chicago Black Hawks inquired about acquiring his NHL rights for the purpose of a try out, but the Leafs simply refused to let go of his rights.

Johansen returned to Thunder Bay in the second half of the 1960s. He played senior hockey and coached youth hockey while establishing a successful sheet-metal business.

By the way: Bill Johansen may have had the oddest middle name in NHL history. That's because his middle name was the Norwegian name Odd. Short for Oddball he'd joke.

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