Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Pulford, Bob

Pulford, Bob

Bob Pulford was raised in suburban Toronto and spent his formative hockey career in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. He was an All-Star with the Weston Dukes of the Ontario Hockey Association Junior B League in 1952-53 before moving up to play Junior A with the Toronto Marlboros. There he was coached by Toronto legend Turk Broda, and proved to be a pivotal performer in Toronto's back-to-back Memorial Cup championships of 1955 and 1956.

Pulford was promoted to the Leafs for the 1956-57 season and proved to be a hard- working, two-way player who excelled at checking the game's top scorers. "Pulford is one of my private headaches," said Gordie Howe, "because he has to be classed as one of hockey's greatest forecheckers. There's a deep knowledge of the game in his forechecking, hook, poke check, strength of arms, quickness, the whole bundle of wax."

He played with Toronto for 14 seasons and won four Stanley Cups with the Leafs during that time. Pulford scored one of the more important goals in Leafs history when he beat Rogie Vachon at 8:26 of the second overtime period to give the Leafs a 3-2 win over Montreal in game three of the 1967 finals. The Maple Leafs traded him to Los Angeles in 1970 and it was as a King that he finished his playing career, in 1972.

Pulford had graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964 after seven years of night school and had prepared well for the days when his playing career would be over. He stepped behind the Kings bench after retiring and guided them for five years before being named coach and general manager of the Chicago Black Hawks in 1977, eventually working his way up to the position of senior vice-president with the club.

Although he could have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for his quarter of a century as a Black Hawks' executive, Bob Pulford was inducted, in 1991, in the Player's category.

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