Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Punch Broadbent

Harry Broadbent was nicknamed "Punch" for a couple of reasons: he had knockout scoring punch with a knack for scoring at clutch times; and he was also one of the best fighters in his era in the NHL.

Born in Ottawa, July 13, 1892, Broadbent played most of his career in the nation's capital. After playing three years of senior hockey in the Ottawa area, Punch turned pro when the Ottawa Senators and the National Hockey Association was formed. In his first season, 1912-13, he scored 21 goals and two seasons later he bettered his exploits to 24 goals.

Punch put his hockey career on the backburner in order to serve his country for three years in World War 1. Punch returned triumphantly and sporting a Canadian Military Medal for his heroic combat service overseas.

In 1919, Broadbent resumed his career with the Senators, only now the NHA was extinct and the NHL was the premier league. Punch stayed five seasons in Ottawa, earning 3 Stanley Cup championships. He only played in 8 games in his first NHL season, but whoed he had what it took in 1919-20, his second season. He scored 19 goals in 21 games and added 5 points in 5 playoff games. He also showed his mean streak as witnessed by his 42 PIM in those 5 playoff games.

Punch was born and bred in Ottawa and loved the area. He never wanted to leave the city and for a while refused to play other NHL teams.. In fact on New Year's Eve 1920, the Sens sold him and Sprague Cleghorn to Hamilton, but Punch refused to report and retired instead. Hamilton then traded him to the Montreal Canadiens, but again Punch refused to report. Eventually Punch's playing rights were returned to Ottawa and Punch returned to the ice. He only played in 9 games that year because of his refusal to play, scoring 4 goals and 1 assist.

The Senators were counting their lucky stars the following season. After trying to move Punch, he returned to team and had one of the greatest seasons in NHL history. He scored a league leading 32 goals and 46 points in 24 games. He also set the long standing NHL record of scoring at least one goal in 16 consecutive games!

However in 1924 the Senators were again looking to sell him. Punch and Clint Benedict were sold to the Montreal Maroons. This time Punch did report and played in Montreal for 3 seasons, and earned a 4th Stanley Cup in 1926. Punch returned to Ottawa for the 1927-28 season. The following season he played for the New York Americans. It proved to be Punch's final season of hockey. The next year he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He scored 122 goals and had 45 assists in his 11 NHL seasons, adding 12 goals and 7 assists in 42 playoff games. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962, Harry Broadbent died March 6, 1971, at the age of 77.


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