Alexander Peter Viskelis
Born: May 21, 1935 (Montréal)
Died: August 13, 2013 (Montréal)
Alex Viskelis scored an overtime goal in Game 6 of the International Hockey League’s championship final in 1958, saving his Indianapolis Chiefs from elimination. The Chiefs followed his dramatic goal with another victory in the final game to claim the Turner Cup.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound left-winger was a product of Montreal’s crowded amateur hockey scene. He skated for the Montreal Junior Royals at age 18 in 1953, scoring 13 goals in 55 games. He skated for three junior teams the following season — Montreal Junior Canadiens, Jonquiere (Que.) Marquis, and St. Catharines (Ont.) Teepees — before joining the Chatham (Ont.) Maroons, a senior team, in 1955.
Viskelis showed great puck sense in the 1956 Allan Cup playoffs. While he had scored just six goals in 25 regular-season games, he notched seven goals (and added four assists) in 17 games of the Allan Cup series. He opened the scoring in four games of the Eastern Canada finals against the Saint John (N.B.) Beavers, helping to send the Maroons into the finals in British Columbia against the Vernon Canadians.
While Chatham won the opening game by 7-1, the Canadians roared back to win four sraight and claim the Allan Cup in a series played in Vernon, Kelowna and Kamloops.
Viskelis enjoyed his most productive season the next year, scoring 18 goals with 17 assists in 52 games.
He then spent three seasons with the Chiefs in the IHL, playing 128 games. He scored 23 goals with 56 assists.
The 1958 Turner Cup finals pitted the Chiefs against the Louisville (Ken.) Rebels. On March 31, a scoreless third period sent Game 6 into overtime with the score at 2-2. The Rebels led the series and needed only a goal before a raucous home crowd to claim the championship, but Chiefs goalie Cliff Hicks, a cast on his stick hand, turned aside all shots. After 7 minutes and 30 seconds of overtime, Viskelis took a goalmouth feed from defenceman Billy Short to redirect the puck past rebels goalie Lou Crowdis for the game winner and to send the series to a Game 7.
The next night, the Chiefs prevailed, 3-2, as the referee waved off what appeared to have been a last-second tying goal by the home Rebels.
After leaving hockey, Viskelis returned to Montreal, where he worked for many years at a Coca-Cola bottling plant until retiring. He was a lifelong resident of the Montréal neighbourhood of Point St. Charles, where he had been baptized at Saint Casimir’s Parish and where he attended Canon O’Meara elementary school.