Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday John Quilty

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By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh

John Quilty was born on January 21st, 1921, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He began playing juniors as a 16-year-old forward for the Glebe Collegiate (High-ON) from 1936 to 1937. After that year, John joined the Ottawa City Junior Hockey League (OCJHL) and suited up the next three campaigns for the team. In 1939, John helped lead the team to the Memorial Cup, and although the team was eliminated in five games, the forward exemplified remarkable skill by scoring an astounding 11 goals and 16 points.

After impressive stints in both junior leagues, the Montreal Canadiens made a bee-line for the 6’0, 180-pound forward and signed the free agent to a several-year deal. John joined the team for the 1940-1941 season and shined his freshman year. He dominated the league offensively, notching 18 goals and 34 points in 48 contests, leading him to be the apparent winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the best rookie of the year. He also placed first among all players with five power-play goals that season.

John suited up for Montreal again the following season from 1941 to 1942 but failed to rekindle his freshman success. Still, the forward was productive for the Canadiens, producing 12 goals and 24 points in 48 appearances. As World War II was going on, many NHL players were either drafted or volunteered to serve their military, and John decided to volunteer, joining the Royal Canadian Air Force. Due to joining the R.C.A.F., John was able to stay sharp on his skates and continue to play competitive hockey in Toronto and Vancouver.

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From 1942 to 1943, John suited up for the Toronto RCAF (OHA-Sr.) and left his mark by contributing six goals and 15 points in only nine games. The following year, he joined the Vancouver RCAF (NNDHL) and was outstanding for the team as he put up impressive 12-14-26 numbers in only 14 appearances. Unfortunately, due to the on-going war, John could not play for a whole year from 1944 to 1945 and then only appeared in two games with the Ottawa Senators (QSHL) from 1945 to 1946.

John eventually returned to the NHL in 1946, suiting up for just two games with the Montreal Canadiens before being sent down to the American Hockey League to play for their minor-pro affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons (AHL). After just five appearances with Buffalo, the forward was traded to the Springfield Indians in exchange for George Pargeter. At the very end of the 1946-1947 season, John would be traded again, sending the 26-year-old forward back to Montreal (NHL).

He began the 1947-1948 campaign with Montreal, producing six points in 16 games, before being traded to the Boston Bruins with Jimmy Peters for Joe Carveth. John finished the season as a utility forward for the Bruins, appearing in the odd game to fill in for an injury or healthy scratch. He ended the year by playing ten games as a Bruin and collecting four points with the team. Unfortunately, John suffered a compound fracture of his leg at some point during the season, and because of that, he would not return to the NHL.

After leaving the NHL, John continued to play hockey for three different teams and leagues from 1947 to 1952. After the 32-year-old put up 9-27-36 numbers in 40 games and was named MVP of the ECSHL, he officially retired from the hockey world in 1952.

Throughout his four-year tenure in the NHL, John appeared in 125 games, finishing his career with 36-24-70 numbers with 81 PIM. John Quilty passed away at his home in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on September 12th, 1969, at the age of 48.

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