Cy Whiteside

Cyril E. Whiteside

Born: March 27, 1932 (Innisfail, Alberta)
Died: January 7, 2014 (Woodland Park, Colorado)

A bashing defenceman who spent as much time in the penalty box as on the blue line, Cy Whiteside engaged in several infamous brawls in a peripatetic career.

His most notorious incident came in a game while captain of the Colorado College Tigers when, infuriated by a referee’s call, he cross-checked the official to the ice, not once, but twice. He resigned from the college team two days later.

ImageIn a 1959 International Hockey League game, he got into a fight with opponent Danny Summers. Two policemen separated the players as they were dispatched to the penalty box. It did not take long before the fight resumed off the ice. This time, four policemen were needed to separate the combatants and escort them to the dressing rooms.

In a 1964 game, Whiteside suffered a gash to his forehead that needed eight stitches to close. Despite the injury, he managed to be one of two instigators of a bench-clearing brawl during which he was assessed 20 penalty minutes. In another 1964 game, the defenceman was assessed a match penalty for stick fighting and fined $25 by the league.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenceman accumulated more than 100 penalty minutes in each of his first five full seasons in the IHL.

When he was signed before the 1963-64 season by the Des Moines Oak Leafs, an Iowa newspaper hailed him as “the top defenceman in Triple A hockey.” Whiteside was an IHL First Team All-Star in 1960-61 and 1961-62, while earning a berth on the Second Team in 1962-63.

Born in Innisfail, Alta., Whiteside grew up in Wetaskiwin. He played junior hockey for the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Crows Nest Pass Lions for a season before spending two seasons with the senior Moose Jaw (Sask.) Millers.

In 1954, the bashing blue-liner moved to Scotland to play for Ayr Raiders under coach Stan Obodiac, the future publicity director for Maple Leaf Gardens.

Back on his home continent, Whiteside suited up for three different senior teams in 1955-56 — the Ponoka Stampeders, Spokane Flyers and Kamloops Elks — before enrolling at Colorado College, where he graduated with a geology degree in 1959.

In the IHL, never known as a league for the faint of heart, he skated for the Denver Mavericks, Minneapolis Millers, Fort Wayne Komets and the Oak Leafs. He wound up his career playing  senior hockey in Alberta with the Drumheller Miners and Calgary Stampeders, helping the latter win the Western Canadian championship in 1969. He was unable to get leave from work to join the team for the Allan Cup championship, which was won by the Galt (Ont.) Hornets.

Whiteside worked in the oil patch with Centron Pipe Systems for 32 years. He was also a part-owner of the Oklahoma Stars hockey team when he lived in the state.

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