Hockey Gods


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Uploaded By: PRESIDENT on March 11th, 2014

Gordon Blanchard "Duke" Keats (Born March 21, 1895 in Montreal, Quebec – Died January 16, 1972 in Victoria, British Columbia) was a Canadian professional ice Hockey centre who played for the Toronto Blueshirts of the National Hockey Association (NHA), Edmonton Eskimos of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) and the Boston Bruins, Detroit Cougars and Chicago Black Hawks of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Keats was born in Montreal, Quebec and at a young age moved with his family to North Bay, Ontario where he was given his nickname of "Duke" at the age of six. He joined the Cobalt Mining League at the age of 14, and three years later was being paid $75 a week to star in the league.

Keats joined the NHA's Toronto Blueshirts in 1915 and finished fifth in league scoring that year. After playing part of a second season with Toronto in 1916–17, he enlisted in the Canadian military and as a member of the 228th Battalion, spent the following three years fighting in World War I.

Keats settled in Edmonton, Alberta after the war and joined the Edmonton Eskimos of the Big-4 League in 1919, leading the league in scoring in both 1919–20 and 1920–21. Officially an amateur league, there were rumours that Keats and several other players were secretly being paid a professional salary to play in the Big-4. The team officially turned professional when it helped form the WCHL in 1921 with Keats as the league's greatest star. He played for the Eskimos in all five seasons of the league's existence and was named a First-Team All-Star at centre in each.

One of the most gifted offensive players of his time, legend has it that he once collected a puck in his own zone and scored a goal after skating the length of the ice surface backwards. Keats led the Eskimos in scoring in 1921–22, recording 31 goals and 24 assists in 25 games, to lead the Eskimos to the top record in the league and the WCHL final where they lost to the Regina Capitals. The Eskimos again finished with the league's top record in 1922–23, and again faced the Regina Capitals in the final. The Eskimos avenged the previous season as Keats scored the championship winning goal in overtime of the second game. Keats and the Eskimos went on to lose the 1923 Stanley Cup Final to the Ottawa Senators.

Facing financial ruin, the Eskimos sold the rights to Keats and six other players to the Boston Bruins for $50,000 in 1926. He played half of the 1926–27 NHL season in Boston before he was traded to the Detroit Cougars, along with Archie Briden, in exchange for Frank Fredrickson and Harry Meeking. Keats began the following season in Detroit but was suspended early in the season after swinging his stick at a spectator in Chicago who was heckling him. He missed three weeks of play as a result. The day after his reinstatement, the Cougars sent him to the Chicago Black Hawks for Gord Fraser and $5,000 cash.

After three games with Chicago in 1928–29, he left the team and helped organize the Tulsa Oilers of the American Hockey Association (AHA), and was the league's top scorer that season. He played parts of two more seasons in Tulsa before taking a season off in 1931–32. Keats returned to Edmonton in 1932 as a player, coach and owner of a reformed Eskimos team. He played two seasons before retiring as a player.

Keats went on to coach several teams in the Canadian prairies and briefly worked for the Black Hawks before settling in Victoria, British Columbia in 1947 where he worked for the government and served as president of the Victoria Commercial Hockey League.

Keats was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958, and into the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame in 1964

Sourced from Credited to McDermid Studio.


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