Gordie Poirier

This is Gordie Poirier. His NHL career consisted of 10 lone games with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1939-40 season. He picked up a lone assist in what at first glance was a pretty unimpressive career in hockey.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Poirier was from a tiny town of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, the same town more modern NHL players Barry Dean and Zack Smith are from. The town probably would never have existed if the Canadian Pacific Railway did not set up a construction camp in the area a couple of decades earlier. Even to this day the beautiful village is a very rural home to a small number of families.

Yet somehow this rural kid became a very worldly traveller. And it was thanks largely to hockey.

Details are sketchy, but Poirier did not stay in Maple Creek too long. At some point he moved to Montreal where he played junior hockey with several teams from 1931 through 1934 and senior hockey with the Montreal Sr. Canadiens in the 1934-35 season.

That's when things get interesting. Poirier spent the 1935-36 season in Italy, playing with a team called Diavoli Rosso Neri Milano. According to the Society for International Hockey Research his obituary said he coached Italy's national team in preparation for the 1936 Olympics as well!

From there he moved to Britain after being recruited by a fellow named Don Penniston. Poirier became a legendary player in the BNL. He played with the black and yellow Brighton Tigers before and after World War II, also appearing with Harrington Racers late in his career. He was elected to the British Hockey Hall of Fame in 1948, even though he did not hang up his skates until 1951!

Here is how he is remembered in Britain:

With his dark, dashing good looks and amazing hockey skills, Gordie was an immediate success and soon became the star of the Brighton Tigers. The crowds would scream the roof down as he scored one goal after another, leaving the opposing team players in total disarray. This was perhaps something to do with his ability to shoot a puck at a defending goal keeper at over 100mph. I mentioned he played in Britain pre and post World War II. He spent 7 seasons from 1939 through 1946 back in Canada where he was enlisted in the war effort. From 1941 forward he was stationed in Ottawa and played with several senior league teams.

But in the 1939-40 season he was based in Montreal, serving with the Royal Canadian Medical Corps. He starred with the senior team in St. Hyacinthe, playing on a line with brothers Tony and Albert Lemay (both of whom would also serve and play with Poirier in war efforts in Ottawa and star in Britain with the Wembley Lions).

But it was Poirier who caught the eye of the Montreal Canadiens. He signed on with the Habs in February, 1940, playing the 10 games.

His NHL career was not particularly noteworthy but his life was fascinating. After he hung up his skates in Britain he apparently returned to Canada and opened a restaurant and an import business. He passed away from a heart attack on May 25th, 1972. He was living in Montreal at the time.


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