Hockey Gods



Uploaded By: PRESIDENT on November 30th, 2019

John F. Utendale - Born January 15, 1937 in Edmonton, Alberta - Died August 24, 2006 in Bellingham, Washington was a Canadian/American ice Hockey right winger and coach.

Utendale played his minor Hockey in Edmonton, playing his junior Hockey for the Oil Kings,

Utendale signed a pro contract with the Detroit Red Wings, and attended 3 or 4 of the teams practices, skating with Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Red Kelly and others. He didn't make the Red Wings team, but played Hockey for their affiliate in the Western Hockey League, the Edmonton Flyers for two seasons from 1956 to 1958.

NOTE - There was speculation at the time he was at the Red Wings training camp, that he reason he didn’t get to play with Detroit is Jack Adams, the coach and general manager at the time. It’s said that Adams objected to the fact that Utendale was dating a white woman and that was, perhaps, the major stumbling block that kept him out of the NHL.

Utendale would then head to Ontario, playing for the Windsor Bulldogs and North Bay Trappers during the 1958-59 season, while also playing 5 games for the Quebec Aces in the Quebec Hockey League / QHL.

Utendale played 5 games for the Sudbury Wolves at the start of the 1959-6- season, but was accepted into the University of British Columbia, where he received his teaching certificate one year later. He taught junior high school math, science, physical education, and coached all intramurals.

At the University of Alberta, John earned his Bachelor's degree in two years while playing amateur and semi-pro Hockey (Ponoka Stampeders and Edmonton Nuggets) to help pay the bills. He became the first Director of Physical Education at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Utendale earned his Master's degree at Eastern Washington State College (USA) while playing Hockey full time for the Spokane Jets of the Western Hockey League during the 1967-68 season.

Utendale never left Washington State, working for Western Washington State College / Woodring College. During his time as an educator, John never forgot Hockey, helping to found the Bellingham Area Minor Hockey Association, coaching the WWU Vikings Hockey club, and acting as Western Regional Director of the Amateur Hockey Association of the U.S. (AHAUS). John was also an assistant training coach to the United States Olympic Hockey team that went on to win gold at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.


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