Thursday

Red Armstrong

Owen Sound, Ontario's Norm "Red" Armstrong was a long time minor leaguer. He was an excellent AHL player, but it was his love of the physical game that earned him his cup of coffee in the National Hockey League.

On December 15th, 1962 Red Armstrong was called up for his first NHL game. The Leafs were looking for some added truculence with Bobby Baun and Bob Nevin out of the lineup with injuries.

Now I do not know if this is factual or just myth, but there is a story out there that Armstrong had trouble getting on the ice for his first shift. As the story goes, the first time coach Punch Imlach called for him to go out, he called for "Red" and Red Kelly jumped out instead. The next shift Imlach called out "Armstrong" and captain George Armstrong jumped out. The anxious rookie could only watch from the bench.

What I do know for sure is that when Red Armstrong finally did make it out on the ice, he made sure he was noticed. On his first shift he scored a goal!

Armstrong would play a total of 7 games with the Leafs that season before returning to the minor leagues. He would go on to become one of the most popular players in Rochester Americans history, playing 9 full seasons. In 1985 the Amerks even retired Armstrong's jersey #6.

Armstrong worked the summers as a steelworker. After retiring from the Amerks in 1973 he immediately took his lunch bucket and punch card back to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where he worked for the Algoma Steel plant. A year later he would did on the job after losing his balance and falling from a great height. He was just 35 years old.

7 comments:

Anonymous,  7:11 AM  

I really liked that piece. It was very emotional for me being his son. Thank you for that.
The one part you did leave out though was that his first time on the ice he scored in 13 seconds....the fastest scored goal by a rookie and the Maple Leafs do not have that in the record books. Thank you again for posting the article.
Michael (Mychal) David Armstrong

Anonymous,  1:54 PM  

Do you have a photo of Red back in the day?

Anonymous,  9:02 PM  

To Michael Armstrong's comment

My name is Erica, and your dad happens to be my grandfather. My dad was adopted.

I was wondering how I could reach you.

Anonymous,  9:32 AM  

Red was without question one of the most popular players ever to wear a Rochester Americans jersey. My all time favorite. He was a great guy as well as a respected AHL veteran player. I regret he never got to see his jersey hung in the rafters in Rochester. Who luvs ya...... Red!

Anonymous,  7:49 PM  

I recall Red's season with our EPHL Sudbury Wolves (62-63) - I sat with my dad at the boards, behind the screen. I recall my dad yelling out 'hey Red' in warm up -Armstrong skated to the boards, and they shared a joke. I thought -wow. My dad knows this guy ! pretty good stuff -I was 9 at the time...great memories of one of my early hockey heroes !! C Anderson sudbury

Tom Murphy 9:17 PM  

Red used to date my neighbor Marlene...who was hot....and would bring us hockey sticks and pucks. He' d drive down the street in his yellow convertable Cadillac I believe and always had time to say hi. We loved him when we were kids on Gorsline St. in Rochester.

Unknown 2:15 PM  

"Norman" was my mom's favorite when I was a kid in Rochie!
Red knocked me flat on my face during a skating drill at hockey camp, then he told me how not to get knocked on your face. We all loved Red!

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