Herbert William "Buddy" O'Connor - Born June 21, 1916 in Montreal, Quebec – Died August 24, 1977 in Quebec was a Canadian ice Hockey centre.
Herbert "Buddy" O'Connor played pick-up Hockey while attending grade school and soon graduated to Montreal's city league and played his first game at the Montreal Forum at 12 years of age when his Bantam team made it to the city finals. By his mid-teens he discovered that he could not land a try-out with the Montreal Royal Juniors because the coach thought that he was too small. So, O'Connor took his Hockey talents to the Mount Royal Arena where the "B" league teams played. He earned a position with the Crane Juniors playing on a line with Pete Morin and Crane tore up the league, defeating the Royal Juniors for the city title. O'Connor was 17 when he and Morin were asked if they wanted to tour Europe with a Canadian Hockey team. Although Buddy wanted to go, his mother insisted that he stay in school and finish his studies at St. Willibrord High School where he was studying accounting. Morin went to Europe and Buddy stayed behind, though he was offered a position with the Royal Juniors, the team that initially considered him to be too small.
O'Connor lead the Juniors with 15 goals and 22 points in 1934-35 and was promoted to the Royals Senior team for the Allan Cup playdowns, scoring a goal in the only game he appeared in. The following year, he was with the Senior Royals to stay and was the Quebec Senior Hockey League's leading scorer in the 1938-39 season.
During his amateur days his rights were held at various times by both the Montreal Maroons and the Montreal Canadiens, but it was with the Canadiens that he made his National Hockey League / NHL debut on November 29, 1941 vs the Boston Bruins. He scored on Frank Brimsek in a 3-1 loss.
The 25-year-old rookie made the most of his opportunity. Playing with familiar Royals linemates Gerry Heffernan and Pete Morin, both small and speedy wingmen, the trio was dubbed the “Razzle Dazzle Line” for their high-speed mastery of offensive Hockey.
While Morin and Heffernan’s careers were short, O’Connor established himself as one of the most entertaining and talented players in the game. A masterful stickhandler and powerful skater who could control the puck as well with his skates as with his stick. O'Connor continued as a solid contributor with the Canadiens, helping them win Stanley Cup championships in 1944 and 1946.
On August 19, 1947., O'Connor was traded to the New York Rangers. He had 24 goals and 60 points that season to finish second in the scoring race by one point and was named NHL Second Team All-Star centre, behind former teammate Elmer Lach
He was also awarded the Hart Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy and was the first player to win both in the same year. These achievements were reflected in his being named Canada's athlete of the year for 1948.
O'Connor missed a significant part of the 1948-49 season due to injuries sustained in a car accident and saw his point production drop over the next three years before finishing his pro Hockey career with a Second Team All-Star nod as a member of the American Hockey League's Cincinnati Mohawks in 1951-52.
Buddy O'Connor was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.