Tall Boys #7 – Bill ‘Red’ Hay

Posted: February 12, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Bill Hay - 1964-65 Topps Tall Boys

Bill was a rather lanky individual

As a kid, looking at the iconic players of the 1960s Black Hawks, it always was a no-brainer for me that Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita played together.  It just made too much sense – one of the best centres in league history was a teammate of one of the best wingers ever to play the game.  Between them, they combined for seven scoring titles and four MVPs.  Mikita was one of the great setup men of his era while Hull was the premier goal scorer. How could they not have been linemates?

Except they weren’t.  As I clued in later, Mikita spent the majority of the 1960s on the Scooter line with Mohns and Wharram, while Hull was part of the Million Dollar line with Murray Balfour and Red Hay.  The guy feeding that Bobby Hull slapshot and setting up all those goals wasn’t Mikita, it was Hay.

Hay is an interesting person to look at in the context of the “typical” NHL player of the 1960s.  His story is far better suited to today.  Coming out of junior, he opted for US college hockey, finishing a degree in geology at Colorado College.  He was also a two-time All-American. Upon graduating, Montreal (who owned his rights) loaned him out to Chicago’s WHL affliliate in Calgary.  After a year of watching him, Chicago swung a deal for his services.

Hay joined a Hawks team that was on the rise in 1959 and won the ’59-60 Calder as a 24-year-old rookie.  At 6’3″, he was a really big player.  Never a huge goal-scorer, he put up very good assist totals (being Bobby Hull’s centre helped), peaking at 52 in just 60 games in 1961-62.  He retired at 30 to go into business, was talked back into a half-season, then called it quits again when his rights were picked up by St. Louis in the 1967 Expansion Draft.

In total, Hay would score 113 goals and 386 points in 506 NHL games.

He would later become a part owner of the Calgary Flames and the long-time president/CEO of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

H/T to Joe Pelletier for a lot of the backstory.

Bill Hay - 1964-65 Topps Tall Boys back

Hay’s father played senior hockey at a time when that really mattered.

  1. commishbob says:

    Oh swell, another blog I’m going to HAVE TO follow closely! LOL It’s a wonderful set, maybe not gorgeous to look at but it’s just chock full of memories for me as the mid-60s was the height of my hockey fandom.

    I have just a couple of the Rangers and I’m really looking forward to seeing your take on the rest of the set!

  2. What a great idea for a blog! I’ve added you to my blogroll and will be reading every post. Love it!

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