Ken Mosdell

One of the NHL's top defensive specialists in the 1940s and 1950s was Montreal born Ken Mosdell.

Kenny Mosdell, a four time Stanley Cup champion with the Canadiens, saw big ice time as the Habs #1 shutdown guy. Mosdell would get the call every time the opposing team sent its No. 1 line into action. If it was Boston, he'd be out there against Milt Schmidt; if it was Detroit, he'd be checking Sid Abel of the Production Line, which had Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay as the wingers; if it was Toronto, No. 18 Mosdell would be all over the Leafs' Syl Apps.

And he'd be on every penalty kill, which back in those days did not end when the opposition scored a goal. On a two-minute penalty, the specialty team units were out there for the duration and the opposition could score as many times as possible before the penalty ended.

Though he was a scorer in the junior ranks, Mosdell's tireless skating, along with his poke- checking and stick-handling abilities, convinced coach Dick Irvin he was more valuable as a puck-control defender.

He joined the junior Montreal Royals as a 17-year-old in 1939 and was the team's leading scorer for the next two seasons. In the 1941 Memorial Cup playoffs, he scored 10 goals in 10 games as the Royals became the first Montreal team to reach the final before losing to a Winnipeg team that had Glen Harmon, another future Canadiens star, on its roster.

Mosdell caught the eye of Hall of Famer Eddie Shore and was drafted by the Brooklyn Americans, the only season the former New York Americans operated under that banner.

His time in New York city was brief thanks to World War II. For the next two seasons, Mosdell played with Royal Canadian Air Force teams in the Quebec Senior Hockey League before playing half a season with Canadiens in 1945.

For the next 10 years, Mosdell was a standout with the Canadiens, playing on Cup winners in 1953 and '56. He did more than play solid defence. In an era when 20 goals was a solid contribution, he had back-to-back 22-goal seasons in 1953-54 and 1954-55. He really benefit from Elmer Lach's chronic injuries. When Lach was hurt, Mosdell assumed the top center spot playing with Rocket Richard and Bert Olmstead. When Lach was back on the ice, Mosdell returned to his defensive concentrations, never once complaining.

Mosdell, an English speaking Quebecois, became great friends with Rocket Richard, the iconic symbol of French Quebec. They're families became close, which was no small feat as the Richards did not tend to socialize much. The Mosdells taught the Rocket to speak English.

After 12 years with the Canadiens, Mosdell - along with Eddie Mazur and Bud MacPherson - was sold to Chicago for $55,000 on May 17, 1956. After 25 games, Mosdell quit and came back to Montreal to be with his wife Lorraine and their three children.

The Canadiens had a right to recall after the trade. Mosdell played with the senior Royals in 1958-59 and was called up for the Stanley Cup final that season, when he would win his fourth Cup.


Anonymous,  4:37 PM  

I had the great honour of caddying for, and becoming friends with Mr. Mosdell in the 1970's. He was always very nice to me, and I will never forget him. I still have a place in Vermont where he and his wife used to spend their summers, and when ever I pass their house I often think about driving him around in his Harley davidson golf cart, what a trip for a Ten year old kid!!! Thanks Mr. Mosdell.

Anonymous,  3:20 PM  

After hockey, Ken opened a garage in Montreal's West End. My father worked across the street from Mosdell's Garage, and the two became good friends. As a child, I had the opportunity to meet him several times, he was a true gentleman.

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