Walter Alexander Hnatiuk
Born: February 12, 1927 (Brantford, Ontario)
Died: October 30, 2014 (Brantford, Ontario)
Wally Hnatiuk was a fast skater with a reputation for a hard shot who spent two seasons as a minor-league professional before ending his career as a senior player in Ontario.
Born in Brantford, Ont., he played a season of junior-B hockey with the hometown Brantford Lions before joining the junior-A Hamilton Lloyds for the 1945-46 season. Hnatiuk signed with the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL and spent the following season with the Galt Red Wings, where his teammates included future NHL players Marty Pavelich, Fred Glover and Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Terry Sawchuk.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound right winger turned professional with the Philadelphia Rockets of the American Hockey League for the 1947-48 season. The forward fractured his left ankle in a game against the St. Louis Flyers and missed several weeks. He wound up playing in just 35 games, scoring two goals with three assists.
Hnatiuk wound up on the West Coast the following season, playing for the Portland Eagles of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. He scored 16 goals and added 26 assists in 65 games.
He returned to his home province in 1949, playing parts of four seasons in the senior Ontario Hockey Association with te Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen and the hometown Brantford Redmen.
Once back in Brantford, Hnatiuk joined his brother in operating the family’s auto-finishing business.