For a young hockey fan born and raised in Southern Ontario, Thursday evening took on a special meaning each new hockey season. Sure, it wasn't Hockey Night In Canada, but it came close enough. It was the only night of the week I wouldn't procrastinate and made a determined effort to finish my homework - A.S.A.P.. I wanted no distractions when it was time to tune into Channel 11 (CHCH-TV) from Hamilton, Ontario. It was game time for Hamilton Red Wings Jr. "A" hockey from the old barn - The Hamilton Forum. It may not have been the Montreal Forum, however, for a hockey starved youngster it really didn't matter. I recall the wonderful play-by-play performed by Norm Marshall and hosting duties/commentary by Sandy Hoyt. Coach Eddie Bush pacing behind the Red Wings bench, his fedora firmly in place.
There were the players - Rene Leclerc, Bart Crashley, Real Lemieux, Pete Mahovlich, Ed Hatoum and Danny Lawson. And there was Fred Speck, who passed away earlier this month.
Fred Speck played in one game for the Hamilton Jr. Red Wings in the 1962-63 season. He would spend the following 5 seasons playing centre for the Wings. His finest year in Hamilton was his last. In 1967-68, Speck scored 31 goals and added 54 assists for 85 points in 52 games.
Fred Speck played 28 games in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks. He scored 1 goal and recorded 3 points. The bulk of his playing career (1968-69 to 1977-78) was spent in various professional leagues. Also, he played in the WHA with 3 teams.
The highlight of his career came in 1970-71 with the AHL Baltimore Clippers. When all was said and done, he captured a spot on the AHL First All-Star team; won the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award (Top Rookie); won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy (Top Scorer); won the Les Cunningham Award (MVP).
Frederick Edmondstone Speck was born on July 22, 1947 in Thorold, Ontario. He passed away on February 10, 2011 in Hamilton, Ontario.