Goalie "Red" Henry:
An All-Star Netminder

Goalie "Red" Henry: An All-Star Netminder: was another great Owen Sound goalie who played for the love of the game.


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In January 1947, Frankie Brimsek, the Boston Bruins’ goaltender informed his club that he would need some time away from the team as he had just found out that his 11-month-old son was dying. In the 1940s NHL clubs only carried one goalie, so a replacement had to be found.  

A call was made to the Hershey Bears to borrow "Red" Henry for a game against the Montreal Canadiens. The Owen Sound native made his NHL debut against the star-studded Canadiens featuring "Rocket" Richard. In front of a crowd which numbered 13,900, almost the size of his home town, Henry turned aside the Canadiens to record a 3-0 shutout victory.

Gord "Red" HenryGord "Red" Henry Hershey Bears - Paul White Sports Photograph Collection

Despite this stellar performance, this did not mark the beginning of a career in the NHL for Gord Henry. Instead, he returned to Hershey where he would spend the next nine years playing with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League with the exception of a few trips to fill in for the Boston Bruins. The fact that he spent most of his career in the AHL did not matter to Gord Henry. He told his brother-in-law, Bill Williams of Leith, that he preferred Hershey to Boston and that he played hockey because he loved the game. Where he played did not matter. What mattered was that he played!

Gordon "Red" Henry was born on August 17, 1926 in Owen Sound. He played minor hockey and after playing for the Midget and Juvenile, teams he tended goal for the Owen Sound Orphans in the Ontario Intermediate League. Henry began his professional career with Hershey in the 1943-44 season at the age of 22.

Until the 1946-47 season he shared the goaltending duties with Harvey Bennett. Late in that season Bennett was injured and Henry was called upon to play the entire playoffs. This playoff series was probably the highlight of Gord's career. Hershey won the American League championship and Gord Henry recorded a league record five shutouts in the playoffs. These heroics ended the two-goalie system in Hershey. Until the end of his career Gord Henry was THE goalie in Hershey!

Goalie "Red" Henry
Stars in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Another highlight of his career occurred on April 11, 1953. The Boston Bruins were playing the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup playoffs. When their regular goalie could not play, the call went out to Hershey for Henry. On that night Gord faced Jacques Plante in the Montreal nets and once again Henry turned aside the vaunted Montreal attack for a 4-1 Boston victory.

Confidence is the mark of a good goaltender. Although Gord did not play regularly in the NHL he was happy and content to play the game at which he was so good. He was a wily veteran and never displayed an overawe about the NHL Bill Williams tells an interesting anecdote which reveals much about Henry's character.

On an occasion when he had been called up to Boston. All-star defenseman Bill Quackenbush instead of clearing the puck around the boards out of the Boston end, he fired the puck straight up the ice from behind the net. An opposition player intercepted the puck and fired it into the net before the startled Henry could react.  

Quackenbush made an uncomplimentary comment about the goal and Gord responded by saying words to the effect "I may have let it past me, but even in the minor leagues up in Owen Sound, the defensemen know enough to shoot the puck out along the boards, not up the middle!"

In 1952 Gord Henry shared the goaltending position on the American League All-star team with Cleveland's Johnny Bower. Gord Henry earned the admiration of team mates and opposition alike. After a game against Springfield, Eddie Shore, arguably the best defenseman in the history of the NHL, until Bobby Orr, commented on a play that Henry had made to defeat Shore's team.

"The stop Henry made in the second period on Eddie Olson was one of the smartest pieces of goaltending I've ever seen. The way Henry cut Olson's angle to nothing by having nerve enough to skate out and meet Olson's charge was the biggest single play of the game as far as I was concerned."

In 1955 Henry retired from the Hershey Bears. His knees were affecting his play and he had been in a terrible car accident. His love of the game did not die with his retirement. He returned to Owen Sound and played with the Mercury's.  

In 1957-58 he backstopped the Meaford Knights to the OHA championship. When he returned to Owen Sound from Hershey, he purchased a farm at the Irish block. In October 1972 Gordon "Red" Henry passed away at the very young age of 46.

I would like to thank Bill Williams for sharing not only his stories about his friend and brother-in-law, but for also allowing me to view Gord Henry's scrapbook of his career and the memorabilia which was gathered during his career.

A version of this story first appeared in my Sports History column in the Owen Sound Sun Times in 199. For more information about Owen Sound's hockey history, check out my latest hockey book, Journey Through Owen Sound's Hockey History.

More Great Information Pages
About Owen Sound Hockey History

The 1920s Owen Sound Hockey Stars made there mark in amateur ranks and then many of them went on to careers in the NHL and other professional hockey leagues.

The 1927 Owen Sound Greys with a priest serving as coach named Jack Spratt and not one experienced defenseman were an unlikely Canadian National Hockey Championship team.

Benny Grant: Memorial Cup Champ grew up in Owen Sound and enjoyed a hockey career, which included a surprising turn of events that led to a stint in the NHL.

"Buck" Jones, like most Canadian boys, dreamed of playing in the NHL. Little did he realize that one day he would wear the sweater of an NHL club and would be the idol of youngsters like himself!

The Chin Brothers dominated in their hockey league which drew attention from the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ralph "Cooney" Weiland skated from a Memorial Cup championship in Owen Sound, to a Stanley Cup in Boston to fame as a U.S. college hockey coach.

The Crescent Club has a long history of sponsoring sports teams and leagues in Owen Sound providing consistent management and financial assistance to athletics.

"Cyclone" Taylor was hockey's first superstar. Born in Tara Ontario, he was involved in a controversy in Ottawa which still has not been resolved.

Doug Brindley: From Maple Draft Choice to a role in Slap Shot: a Memorial Cup champ; coached by Don Cherry; and he played in the WHA; what more could a Walkerton Ontario native ask for in a hockey career?

The Durham Yellowjackets hockey team was a force to be reckoned with in Ontario Intermediate hockey in the 1930s.

Goalie "Red" Henry: An All-Star Netminder: Another great Owen Sound goalie who played for the love of the game.

"Hap" Day was a Hall of Fame hockey player, coach and general manager as well as a life-long Toronto Maple Leaf.

Norm Locking Chicago Black Hawks & Former Owen Sound Grey was known for his hard and deadly shot in Al Capone's Chicago.

Harry Lumley spent his Hall of Fame hockey career tending the nets for four NHL clubs and he spent one period of a hockey game goaltending for a fifth NHL team.

Henry Kelso: Owen Sound Sports Legend not only contributed to the sporting life of his students, he also had a significant influence on the rest of their lives.

Junior Hockey Commentary: Should there be controversy about the use of non-local hockey players? This article was written in 1998 in response to a letter to the editor in the Owen Sound Sun Times.

Meaford Knights Hockey: The 1953-54 Championship Knights' line-up had of several pairs of brothers. Many felt that the brothers made a winning difference.

Newspaper Sports: Owen Sound Hockey History was detailed in the pages of the Owen Sound Sun Times in detail in the days before the radio and television eras.

Owen Sound Hockey's early history some references suggest started in the 1880s. However there are records of organized hockey teams beginning in the early 1900s.

Owen Sound was a Hockey Hotbed in 1950-51: Their fans were hockey crazy during this OHA Senior A Championship season as their star-studded team marched to an Allan Cup victory.

The 1959-60 Owen Sound Greys: A Tough Act to Follow: Tragedy struck this hockey team of young men, yet they persevered.

The 1960s Owen Sound Greys Stars who went on to NHL action including Brian Perry, Doug Brindley, Jim Schoenfeld, and Jack Lynch brought Owen Sound a reputation as a hockey hotbed!

Owen Sound Attack: The arrival of this new OHL team is the latest chapter in the Owen Sound region's rich hockey history.

Owen Sound Goalies: Why does Owen Sound produce so many fine goaltenders? There must be something in the water! 

Some Great Owen Sound Greys. The history of this hockey team is a story of players who were not only local boys, but came from many locations to hone their skills.

Owen Sound Hockey Heritage stretches from rural farmhouses on Saturday night to backyard rinks to cheering for local hockey successes and hockey heroes.

Owen Sound Junior Hockey History began almost one hundred and twenty years ago and is rich with championship teams, great players, and dedicated fans. 

Owen Sound's New Arena in 1938 opened a new era in Grey and Bruce counties with the first artificial ice making machine in western Ontario north of Kitchener.

Owen Sound Platers: Ray McKelvie the quiet and knowledgeable leader behind the success of the 1999 hockey team.

Pat McReavy enjoyed a long hockey career which brought him three championships, the Stanley Cup, the Allan Cup and a World Hockey Title.

Paul MacDermid, born in Chesley Ontario, through hard work and determination enjoyed a 12 year NHL career, before keeping junior hockey alive in Owen Sound by working with a group citizens to purchase the Attack OHL franchise.

"Red" Armstrong, a fiery spirited hockey player, known more for his fierce checking than his scoring prowess surprised even himself on his first NHL shift.

Red Leckie was more than a good hockey player. He played for the team, not for himself. Outside hockey, he responded when he saw a need in his community.

Southampton hockey history in the early years featured a distinct line of defense in the local arena, and stories of interesting "road" trips.

Tommy Burlington: the Greatest North American Never to Play in the NHL captured scoring titles in every league that he played, bringing comparisons to NHL greats.

Owen Sound Hockey History is rich with stories of championship teams, star hockey players, and community support.

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