Ian Cushenan

This is Ian "Crash" Cushenan, a tough as nails defenseman in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was generally a 5th or 6th defenseman, sometimes only playing the enforcer role when needed.

Cushenan played in a total of 129 NHL games, spread over 5 seasons. He never stayed in one place too long. He played with Chicago, Montreal, New York and Detroit in that time. He was part of Montreal's Stanley Cup championship team in 1959.

He scored just 3 goals and 11 assists in his career, and much to my surprise barely averaged a penalty minute a game - 134 in his career. I was surprised his PIMs were so low based on the following story written by Stan Fischler, the basis of my first impression of him:

"Montreal, February 28th, 1959. Rangers vs. Canadiens. John Hanna got a notion that Ralph Backstrom of Montreal kicked his skates from under him. When John landed atop Ralphie he thought it was as good a time as any to punish the Hab. Which he did, with assorted rights and lefts. But John didn't bargain for Jean Guy Talbot or, for that matter, the rest of the Canadiens who came tohis rescue. Once the Pier Sixer really started only Jacques Plante and Gump Worsley remained spectator players.

"As soon as the fighting really got hot, individual feuds were settled (or at least were tried to be settled.) "It seemed that all the Canadiens wanted to get a piece of Jim Bartlett," wrote Dink Carroll in the Montreal Gazette. "He was decked by Dickie Moore, Marcel Bonin and Ian Cushenan."

"After disposing of Bartlett, Cushanen challenged several Rangers and was particularly successful against Hanna. "If we had to pick a champion in this Battle Royal," Carroll continued, "it would have to be Cushanen who won several decisions once he got warmed up."

The fights never officially ended - they just petered out. "What probably stopped it," said Dink, "was that the "players were tired from throwing punches."

Cushenen stopped throwing punches for good in 1966, retiring as a minor leaguer. He later went on to teach graphic arts at Mohawk College in Brantford, Ontario.


Anonymous,  4:42 PM  

Ian and I coached high school hockey in Cleveland. I consider Ian one of my best friends. Bob hines

Anonymous,  5:38 PM  

I played pee wee and high school hockey for Mr Cushenan was a great coach didnt understand his ways back then, but looking back he was a great man he knew the game!

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