Edward Charles Kachur
Born: April 22, 1934 (Fort William, Ontario)
Died: December 16, 2014 (Thunder Bay, Ontario)
Member: Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame (1998)
Eddie Kachur, a stocky forward, played 96 games in the NHL with woeful Chicago Black Hawks teams. He had a 19-season career as a professional.
At 33, he popped in 47 goals for the Providence Reds to lead the American Hockey League in goal scoring.
Born to a family of Slovakian ancestry in Fort William, Ont., Kachur was league most-valuable player as a 13-year-old bantam player. He spent four seasons of junior hockey with the hometown Fort William Canadiens, emerging as a goal scorer in his third season.
The 5-foot-8, 170-pound right winger turned professional at age 19 with the Cincinnati Mohawks, helping lead the club to the International Hockey League championship in 1953-54.
He won another title the following season when the Shawinigan Falls (Que.) Cataracts won the Edinburgh Trophy as the world’s minor professional champions by defeating Edmonton Flyers 5-2 in a best-of-nine series.
The Cataracts were a farm club of the Montreal Canadiens. It is said Kachur lost out on the last roster spot in training camp in the fall of 1955 to a diminutive but speedy centre whose older brother was Maurice Richard. Henri Richard won the first of a record five consecutive Stanley Cup championships in his rookie year, a reminder of what might have been for Kachur.
In May, 1956, Kachur and Forbes Kennedy were sold by Montreal to the Black Hawks for $50,000. The Hawks were a terrible team and Kachur scored just five goals with seven assists in 34 games in the 1956-57 season. Two of his goals were scored against Gump Worsley of the New York Rangers.
He played well enough to earn a full-time roster spot with the Black Hawks in 1957-58. He again scored five goals with seven assists, skating in 62 games. The Hawks, with Glenn Hall in goal and flashy rookie Bobby Hull on left wing, managed to climb out of the basement and into fifth place.
Kachur’s NHL career was mostly unremarkable. He did play in the first NHL game to be broadcast nationally in the United States. On Jan. 5, 1957, the Columbia Broadcasting System carried a Saturday afternoon game pitting the visiting Black Hawks against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Rangers won, 4-1.
The forward played four seasons with the Buffalo Bisons, winning a Calder Cup as AHL champions in 1962-63; two seasons with the Sault Ste, Marie Thunderbirds; a miserable half-season with the Los Angeles Blades (scoring one goal in 22 games); and, a productive six seasons with the Providence Reds, where he was named an AHL First Team All-Star in 1967-68.
Kachur ended his pro career with two seasons as a playing coach with the Thunder Bay (Ont.) Twins (1970-71) and the Johnstown Jets (1971-72), by which time numerous injuries, notably to both shoulders, limited his effectiveness.
After returning to his home team, which had meanwhile amalgamated Fort William with Port Arthur to become Thunder Bay, he worked on the waterfront at the Manitoba Pool 3 grain elevator for 22 years.
In retirement, he and his wife Sheila (née Waino) operated Camp Sawmill Bay on Lac Des Milles Lacs in Upsala, Ontario.