Charles Henry :Chuck" Scherza - Born February 15, 1923 in Brandon, Manitoba – Died March 16, 2014 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA was a Canadian ice Hockey centre / left winger, coach, linesman and high school referee.
Scherza played his first junior Hockey with the Regina Abbotts of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League / SJHL, helping the Abbotts win the 1942 SJHL championship.
Scherza then played his final year of junior Hockey with the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey Association / OHA, helping the Generals win the 1943 J. Ross Robertson Cup as OHA champions and then reaching the final of the Memorial Cup championship. He scored 14 goals, 6 assists in 21 playoff games.
Scherza then turned pro with the NHL Boston Bruins for the 1943-44 season, playing on the so-called "Sprout Line" with fellow youngsters Don Gallinger and Bep Guidolin, scoring 1 goal, 1 assist in 9 games before the Bruins traded him to the New York Rangers for cash, November, 1943.
Scherza played only 5 games for the Rangers that season, scoring 3 goals, 2 assists, as his season ended, when after scoring his 2nd goal of the game vs his old team the Bruins, his momentum carried him into the goal post. He suffered a collapsed lung and two fractured ribs and spent the night at St. Clare’s Hospital, his season over.
Scherza returned to the Rangers for the 1944-45 season, and became the first Ranger to be part of scoring 2 penalty shot goals in one season. Scherza's goal on November 30, 1944 vs the Montreal Canadiens and Fred Thurier scored on January 18, 1945. Scherza scored just 2 goals in 22 games and spent the remainder of the season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, where he helped the Bears reach the 1945 Calder Cup finals.
The AHL Providence Reds acquired Scherza at the start of the 1945-46 season, and he would lead the AHL in penalty minutes with 81 that season.
Scherza would become a Reds legend during the 10 seasons he played there, as the Providence fans enjoyed his hard nosed style of playing and a tough customer who never backed down from a fight. His career penalty totals (539) rank third on the list of all Reds’ players in the team’s 51-year history.
Scherza helped the Reds win the 1949 Calder Cup as AHL champions, and was later named team captain for the 1950-51 season, a position he would hold for five seasons. Scherza and the Reds would also reach the 1952 Calder Cup finals. His best season in a Reds jersey - points wise, was the 1947-48 season when he scored 18 goals, 65 assists.
When Scherza finished his Reds career, he was second in games played with 649, third all time assists with 297, fourth all time in points with 436 and ninth all time in goals with 139.
Scherza also set several AHL records in his time in Providence, including fastest two goals (six seconds) as well as an ironman streak (309 games). (The fastest two goals was bested in 1952 when Norm Corcoran of Hershey scored twice in five seconds, while Bill Needham surpassed the consecutive games streak in 1961).
Scherza joined the Trois-Rivieres Lions of the Quebec Hockey League / QHL for the 1955-56 season, and then signed with the North Bay Trappers of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association / NOHA as a player / coach at the start of the 1956-57 season.
In his third season with the Trappers, Scherza was struck in the face by a stick wielded by a player with the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmnan. His left eye was later removed in an operation, ending his playing career. The Trappers, a senior team, then flew to Providence for an exhibition game against Scherza’s old team, raising about $4,000 for their stricken teammate.
Scherza had such a love for the game, even with one eye, he later became a AHL linesman and would also referee high school games in his adopted hometown of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Chuck Scherza is a "Honoured Member" of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, inducted in 1993.