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.


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

Unknown 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!

Anonymous,  4:47 PM  

I am another one of many whose life Red has touched. My dad introduced me to our neighbor Red when we lived on Lakeside road in Ontario. I was probably only 7 years old but he made such an impression on me I have enjoyed a life long love for the game of hockey. Playing and watching the game have greatly enriched my life. In sure meeting Red at an early age had a great deal to do with that. Thank you Red Armstrong.
He gave me a stick which I still have, but I think it deserves a better home. Please let me know if there is any interest.

Anonymous,  6:18 PM  

I used to listen to Amerk games on my transistor radio under my pillow. Red Armstrong was by far my favorite player!

Anonymous,  3:10 PM  

Mychal ... I was a linemate with your Dad when we were playing minor hockey in Owen Sound and won the midget Ontario A championship 2 years in a row beating Port Colbourne in the early fifties. We had a full arena each time and enjoyed a ride up and down main street in a Fire Truck and alot of folks came out to cheer. I have those pictures with your Dad and all the players plus the 2 hockey crests. I was reading a story of the 1965 Toronto Maple Leafs where they mentioned Darryl Sly. Your Dad & I used to play against him in Collingwood in the fifties. When the Rochester Americans were in Toronto for 10 weeks (1967) ?? your dad and Darryl took me out to lunch with the team and then took me to meet your mother and you. You were just a baby and they were so very proud to have a son. When we were in our teens we used to chum together and go to dances at Sauble Beach. There are many good stories, wish I could meet you. Jim M

Anonymous,  2:02 PM  

Does anyone remember the game in Springfield where Red fought a Kings player, then the fight resumed in the penalty box, then spilled out into the lobby? I believe the cops got involved at that point and put handcuffs on both players and took them to the police station and considered booking them for assault because it happened off the ice. I don't remember who the Kings player was. Does anyone else remember this or have I got it wrong?

Unknown 6:46 PM  

If anyone has any autographs by my dad, Red, I would purchase it from you, or trade it for my Boston Bruins Bobby Orr autograph stick. Also any stories, good or bad please email me them also. Please email me at
Michael David Armstrong

Anonymous,  8:27 PM  

My Dad played junior b hockey in Sarnia with your father. He shared many fond stories and your Dad was in most of them. He considered your dad one of the toughest and best players in the league. They won 2 junior b championships

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