Harry "Yip" Foster

Yip Foster was hockey's original big man.

While nowadays it is not uncommon to see very tall hockey players even in the junior ranks, Yip Foster was a giant of a defenseman in the 1930s when he played at 6'6" tall and 200lbs. He must have been an intimidating sight for any opposing forward. The average size of players back then was below 6 feet tall and below 200lbs.

While today's NHL giants tend to be quite agile, I suspect Foster was not as nimble. He may have had passable foot skills, though, as he was was also a celebrated rugby player and noted footballer.

Despite his size he appears to have been far from the blue line monster we like to see from giants. In 83 career games over 4 seasons he only picked up 32 PIMs. He also scored just 3 goals and 2 assists in his NHL career.

He played for Boston, the New York Rangers and Detroit. There was some dispute over his playing rights. In September of 1927 the Rangers signed him, though Toronto claimed they already had the Guelph, Ontario native's rights. The matter was only settled when the Rangers agreed to send Eric Pettinger to the Leafs as compensation for the signing.

While Foster's NHL career was somewhat short, his life as a professional hockey player lasted all the way until 1947, spanning nearly 20 seasons.

He settled in Wayne, Michigan and worked with an aircraft company. He died on June 4th, 1978 at the age of 70 years old.


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