By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Real Chevrefils was born on May 2nd, 1932, in Timmins, Ontario, Canada which is located in the middle of the city of Toronto and the panhandle of the Hudson Bay to the North. He would venture south to Barrie, Ontario, to play his junior hockey with the Barrie Flyers. Per Wikipedia, his time in Barrie was an important timeframe in his development as he was ranked as the second-best junior hockey player in the Canadian nation behind the National Hockey League Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau. During his final season with the Barrie club in the Ontario Hockey Association, Chevrefils attracted major attention from the professional levels of the game when he posted 52-51-103 numbers in only 54 games in 1950-51.
The Boston Bruins came calling for the playing services of Chevrefils and signed him to start his professional career as again per Wikipedia Bruins Head Coach at the time Lynne Patrick had high hopes for the upcoming star with all his accolades in previous years of junior hockey. Real would start in the Bruins minor-pro system with the Hershey Bears in the 1951-52 campaign posting 20-28-48 numbers in the first 34 games that season. Also, in that regular-season as a 19-year-old, Chevrefils would get the call to play in the NHL for his parent Bruins club and finished the season appearing in 33 games to end the year and had 8-17-25 numbers.
In June of 1955 and after spending almost four full seasons with the Original six franchise in Boston, Chevrefils was traded to the Detriot Red Wings along with Ed Sanford, Norm Corcoran, Gilles Boisvert, and Warren Godfrey for legendary goaltender Terry Sawchuck, Vic Stasiuk, Marcel Bonin, and Lorne Davis per the great folks at HockeyReference.com. Real would only spend half a calendar year under the Red Wings control playing in 38 games and posting offensive numbers of 3-4-7 in that timeframe.
Chevrefils would be on the move again this time vis trade back to Boston in January of 1956 when the Wings sent him packing along with Jerry Toppazzini for Lorne Ferguson and Murray Costello. Upon his return from the Motor City, Real would play another four years with the Bruins, but his games played and offensive numbers were dwindling quickly, finishing his career with the Black N’ Gold producing 52-39-91 numbers in his final 169 games in the NHL. Reals’ best hockey season would come as a 24-year-old in the 1956-57 campaign, where he posted 31-17-48 numbers and would end his NHL time contributing 104-97-201 totals in 387 games spanning an eight-year professional career.
After the 1958-59 season, Chevrefils would continue the rest of his playing days in the EPHL with Sudbury, in the WHL with Winnipeg, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco wrapping his days on the ice for good following the 1963-64 season in the International Hockey League with the Windsor Bulldogs. Real suffered from alcoholism for the majority of his life particularly when he turn pro to end his teen years. While playing his last year of hockey in Windsor, he was often on the “lighter” side of being a hockey player, and per Wikipedia, the Boston organization would suggest “bulking” up by having a few beers while eating his meals.
This theory of gaining weight didn’t exactly help Chevrefils, who spent many in Alcoholics Anonymous in previous years seeking help that was offered by NHL managers. One story I read, former Red Wings General Manager Jack Adams hired private investigators to follow Real and report on his daily doings. This was a thorn in Adam’s side, and the Hall of Fame GM was forced to pull the trigger on trading him which landed him back with the Bruins.
Chevrefils passed away on January 8th, 1981, at the age of 49 at a Windsor, Ontario Hospital. On his headstone located in an upper corner, a Boston Bruins emblem was placed, signifying his life long allegiance to the NHL organization, who gave the outstanding hockey player his first and final chance to be his very best