Joseph Cooper - Born December 14, 1914 in Winnipeg, Manitoba – Died April 3, 1979 in Tifton, Georgia was a Canadian professional ice Hockey defenceman.
Cooper played his junior Hockey for the Winnipeg Columbus Club in 1932 for 2 games and then 11 games in 1932-33.
In 1933-34 Cooper played for the Selkirk Fisherman junior club, scoring 12 goals in 13 games. He would also play one game for the Fishermen senior team.
Cooper then played for the Eastern Hockey League's New York-Hamilton Crescents, posting 19 points in 21 games in 1934-35, earning First Team All-Star honors.
The Philadelphia Ramblers of the Can-Am Hockey League then signed Cooper for the 1935-36 season. He accumulated 86 penalty minutes in 48 games while scoring 15 points and again earning league First Team All-Star recognition. Cooper's strong defensive play in Philadelphia captured the attention of the New York Rangers of the NHL, who gave Cooper a one game tryout that season, which earned him a contract for the 1936-37 season.
At 6' 1" and 200 pounds Cooper was one of the largest players of his day and his strength made him one of the toughest players in the league, something the Rangers were looking for.
Cooper would score his first NHL goal in the 1937-38 season.
The Rangers traded Cooper to the Chicago Black Hawks for Alex Levinsky and $5,000, January 16, 1939. He would play 17 games for Chicago, scoring 3 goals and 6 points, but spent the majority of the season back with the Philadelphia Ramblers, who were now in the International American Hockey League, where he scored 8 goals and 23 points in 35 games.
Cooper re-established himself as an NHL regular in 1939-40 and only missed 12 games for Chicago over the course of the next three seasons, highlighted by his first 20 point season in 1941-42.
World War II interrupted his career in 1942, but he found time to play 12 regular season games with the Ottawa Commandos of the Quebec Senior Hockey League. The Commandos advanced to the Allan Cup final against the Victoria Army team from British Columbia, who they defeated 3 games to 1 to win the 1943 Allan Cup championship. Cooper scored 4 goals and 6 assists during the 12 game playoff run.
Cooper played 10 games the next season with the Commandos before returning to the NHL with Chicago for 13 regular season games and 9 playoff contests as the Black Hawks advance to the Stanley Cup final.
Cooper had the finest offensive season of his NHL career in 1944-45 when he had 4 goals and 17 assists for 21 points in 50 games.
Cooper was claimed off waivers by the Boston Bruins on September 7, 1945, but before he could suit up, he was sold back to Chicago, where he would play his seventh and final season with the Black Hawks.
The Black Hawks sold Cooper back to the Rangers for cash, November 1, 1946. Back in New York, he scored 10 points in 59 games in what would turn out to be his final NHL season.
In March 1947 the Rangers and Montreal Canadiens had some sort of a disagreement which resulted in an all out brawl. Cooper squared off with big Murph Chamberlain. With one ferocious punch, Cooper knocked Chamberlain off his feet, and over the sideboards into the timekeeper's booth. some called it the "Hardest Punch in NHL History"
Cooper was traded to the Cleveland Barons (AHL) by the Rangers with Ab DeMarco for cash, May 5, 1947, and would play 24 games with the Barons
Cooper was then traded to the Hershey Bears (AHL) by Cleveland, with Babe Pratt for Hy Buller, December 24, 1947. Cooper played 29 games for the Bears to conclude his Hockey career.
Cooper's NHL totals were 30 goals and 66 assists for 96 points and 442 penalty minutes in 420 games played.
Eastern Amateur Hockey League First All-Star Team (1935)
Canadian-American Hockey League First All-Star Team (1936)
Quebec Senior Hockey League Championship (1943)
Allan Cup Canada Senior Championship (1943)
Joe Cooper is an Honored Member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.