Bob Turner

On a team that sported Rocket Richard, Jean Beliveau, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Jacques Plante, Doug Harvey, Henri Richard, and Dickie Moore, it comes as little surprise that defensive defenseman Bob Turner might be the least known member of the Montreal Canadiens great dynasty of the late 1950s.

Turner starred with his hometown Regina Pats (junior hockey) and Regina Capitals (senior hockey) before joining the Montreal Canadiens for the latter half of the 1955-56 season. Turner played solidly, turning a 33 game audition into a spot on the vaunted Montreal Canadiens defense.

Talk about incredible timing. The rookie would play solidly, and despite his inexperience he played in all of Montreal's playoff games en route to the first of what would prove to be an unheralded 5 consecutive Stanley Cups!

In total Turner would play 6 seasons in Montreal, scoring just 8 goals in those years. But his job was not about scoring goals, but rather preventing them. Turner took great pride in his trade. The Canadiens reportedly paid a bonus of $1000 to all of their defensemen if the team had the fewest goals against in the whole league.

"We always looked forward to that," said Turner, who was never one of the higher paid players in a very low paying era.

Although he contributed to 5 Stanley Cup championships by the time he played 279 games in the NHL, he never felt he had any security in his job.

"I wasn't one of the stars on the team," he admits. "I was just hanging on by the skin of my teeth."

In the summer of 1961 Turner was traded to Chicago where he would play 2 more seasons. He even blossomed into an 8 goal scorer in 1961-62.

But in 1963 Turner found himself demoted to the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. He was quite bitter about the move, considering it a low blow that he did not deserve.

"I think it was more of a move to embarrass you. That's one of the reasons there's a union in the league now. They didn't want me to quit. I think they wanted to cut my salary. So I said I was packing it in."

After just one season in Buffalo, Turner packed his bags and returned to his native Regina. He would operate a vending machine business while coaching the Regina Pats for 10 years. Turner's highlight as a coach came in 1974 when he led the Pats to the Memorial Cup championship.

Turner would later become a successful real estate agent.


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