Lionel Grant Heinrich
Born: April 20, 1934 (Churchbridge, Saskatchewan)
Died: April 21, 2014 (Cranbrook, British Columbia)
Lionel Heinrich learned to skate on outdoor ponds in his hometown of Churchbridge, a Saskatchewan village on the Yellowhead Route near the Manitoba border.
Heinrich spent three seasons with the Humboldt (Sask.) Indians junior team before turning professional with the Hershey Bears for the 1954-55 season. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound defenceman scored eight goals with 15 assists in 54 games.
Midway through the 1955-56 season, Heinrich was promoted to the parent Boston Bruins, who were in last place in the six-team NHL. The 20-year-old defenceman and 19-year-old rookie winger Allan Nicholson were called up to the struggling Bruins, while Lorne Davis, Eddie Panagabko and Orval Tessier were demoted.
A week later, Heinrich scored a first-period goal on the power-play against Al Rollins of the Chicago Black Hawks to tie the score at 1-1. The assists went to Fern Flaman and Bill Quackenbush. Chicago’s Leo Fogolin was serving a minor penalty. No other goals were scored in a game seen by just 4,880 fans in St. Louis.
In a 35-game NHL career, Heinrich would never score another goal. He had one assist and 33 minutes in penalties.
Heinrich spent the 1956-57 season with the Victoria Cougars. In a game in Winnipeg, the defenceman and Earl Ingarfield of the warriors engaged in a stick-swinging fight. Both were assessed match penalties and were later suspended one game each and fined $50. He played four games for the Quebec Aces before joining the Windsor (Ont.) Bulldogs, a senior team. He ended his career playing senior hockey with the Regina Caps.
Heinrich owned and trained thoroughbred horses. He moved to Cranbrook, B.C., in 1972, where he operated several businesses, including Tamarack Trailers. He was a hunter and a fisherman.
Heinrich died in Cranbrook, B.C., on the day after his 80th birthday.