Pat Egan

Back in the 1940s few defensemen were tougher than Pat "Boxcar" Egan.

Born in the small town of Blackie Alberta in 1918, the Egan family moved to Calgary where Egan became a rink rat if there ever was one. And it paid off. His love of the game took him all the way to the National Hockey League.

After being claimed by the New York Americans, Egan spent his rookie professional campaign with the 1938-39 Seattle Seahawks of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. He scored an impressive nine goals and 11 assists that season. But the 5'10" and 190lb defender proved to be one of the most rugged rearguards around. His 185 minutes in penalties led the league.

Egan brought his hard-hitting approach east in 1939-40, playing with Eddie Shore's Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League. He also got his first taste of NHL action, participating in 10 games, scoring 4 goals and 7 points.

Egan stuck with the Amerks for good in the 1940-41 season. He entered the league with an established reputation for his toughness, which meant he was test with fists and liberal use of sticks with great frequency. The rookie passed the test nicely, earning instant respect from his peers.

As time went on he also developed a reputation as a good skater with a heavy shot. With the weak NY Americans team he was relied on to rush the puck out of the zone and man a point on the power play. By his second season in the NHL the pugnacious Egan was named a 2nd Team NHL All Star on defense. He scored 8 times and assisted on 20 others that season, all while leading the NHL with 124 PIMs.

The following year Egan traded in his hockey uniform for a military uniform. He enlisted with the Canadian Army, though was stationed in Montreal, far from the danger of European battlefields. He spent his off time playing hockey in military leagues.

Egan returned to the NHL in 1943-44, but due to financial difficulties his New York team had folded. The Detroit Red Wings had secured Egan's playing rights, though his stay in the Motor City was short. By mid-season he was moved to Boston. He finished the season strongly in Beantown, picking up an impressive 24 points in 25 games with the B's.

His offensive numbers would fall off, but he became a fan favorite in Boston for the next five seasons. With his hard-hitting, rambunctious style, he became an all around solid presence. He was unforgiving with his physical play in his own zone.

Traded to the Rangers before the 1949-50 season, Egan spent his last two NHL campaigns back in New York, this time with the Rangers.

Though he would exit the NHL in 1951, but he continued playing for seven more seasons in the AHL and WHL. He did some double duty as a player-coach before stepping behind the bench full time. He was very successful in his long stay with the Springfield Indians of the AHL, winning three consecutive championships to start the 1960s.

Over his 20-year playing career he had a total of 554 NHL games played, 77 goals, 153 assists, 230 points, and 776 minutes in the penalties.

After he gave up coaching he took a job in Operations at Northeastern University in Boston for 22 years. He died on June 3rd, 2008.


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