Battleship Leduc

Bob Kelly of 1970s Philadelphia Flyers fame wasn't the first player to be nicknamed "Battleship." "Battleship" Leduc of the Montreal Canadiens was so synonymously known by his nickname many people did not know his actual first name was Albert.

Leduc joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1925-26, but he was strictly a substitute defenseman. Back in those days the top players played most of the game, only spotted by the substitutes for short rests or for penalties. Leduc was said to be "far from a polished skater and his crude style did not suggest he was qualified to be a regular."

Despite his reserve status, he was a fan favorite. "His aggressive scrambling play made him very popular with the fans and his appearance on the ice drew lots of applause," wrote Charles Coleman in Trail of the Stanley Cup. "When he got up a full head of steam it seemed uncertain if he could be stopped or stop himself. This is how he earned the sobriquet of Battleship."

Leduc played most of his 10 year NHL career with Les Canadiens, scoring 56 goals and earning 552 penalty minutes in 383 games. He was a big part of Montreal's back to back Stanley Cup championships in 1930 and 1931.

After retiring in 1935 he became a coach in Quebec and Providence before returning to his hometown of Valleyfield he financed his own team and helped the town build a new arena. He would give Toe Blake his first coaching job.

Leduc reportedly became a rather wealthy man, making a good part of his fortune in the distillery business. He was not afraid to share his wealth as he helped out down-on-their-luck former Montreal players like hooley Smith and Dunc Munro.

He retired to Miami late in life, dying in Montreal on July 31st, 1990.


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