Benny Woit

Benny Woit had a long professional hockey career - 18 seasons altogether - but just 5 full seasons in the NHL. In those 5 NHL seasons Woit was fortunate enough to win 3 Stanley Cups - more than most players get in long time career.

"I was fortunate" remembers Woit. "I just happened to be with the right guys I guess. Guys like Lindsay, Howe and couldn't go wrong with that bunch."

Woit's statement is typically understated, always downplaying his role. In reality Woit was a valuable if not noticeable member of the 3 championships. While he was a quiet, unassuming man off the ice, Woit was a bit of a hunter on the ice. He was a very defensive minded blueliner (he also briefly saw some action on RW during his career) who loved to take the body.

The one guy who appreciated Woit more than most was Red Kelly, the Red Wings superstar defenseman who often wandered into the offensive zone. He could do so secure in the fact that Woit, his defense partner, had the back end covered.

"I loved to play with Benny Woit," said Kelly. "He wasn't necessarily the fastest of the best skater in the world, but he could skate and he could hit. And when Benny would hit them, they knew they were hit. He delivered solid checks. I would be carrying the puck, and Benny would be hitting, and we'd work well together. Benny always had a great attitude, but Jack Adams liked to ride him all the time."

Adams was the Red Wings tyrannical boss, and he had many whipping boys. Woit was one of his favorite targets, but Woit would learn a unique way to deal with it.

"After a game, Jack would come into the dressing room and head straight to Benny," explained Kelly. "Pigeon-toed Adams would stand in front of Benny chewing him out for something real or imagined. After this happened a few times, Benny figured out what to do. He would rush in, grab an orange or two, and then he would toss the peels on the floor. Now Jack would come flying toward Benny, and he would slip on the peels and forget what he was saying! Benny was quite the jokester."

It was in junior hockey that Woit, a two time Memorial Cup champion as well, first became noticed for his incredible body work. In one game he drilled a foe named Ray Gariepy so hard that Foster Hewitt, who was broadcasting the game, "nearly jumped out of the booth!" Gariepy eventually picked himself off of the ice and continued to play. "I don't think he knew who he was for a couple of weeks" joked Woit.

"I tried to hit them in the NHL but they were a little faster and a little better. I caught a few of them, though it wasn't good enough. That was our game."

Woit was traded to Chicago in 1955 where he spent a year and a half before going to the minors in 1956. He continued his career there until 1966 when he returned to Northern Ontario, Thunder Bay to be exact, where he worked as a longshoreman, something which he did in the summer time even when he played in the NHL.

"The boat comes in. We get on, load the pipes and give him what he wants," describes Woit of his days since hockey. He also loved to hunt and fish and work around the home.


c56quad 11:51 AM  

Not many people caught my Dad with his head down! Good one Benny! Fierce competitors who did what was needed and succeeded!

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