Samuel Russell "Rusty" Crawford - Born November 7, 1885 in Cardinal, Ontario – Died December 19, 1971 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan was a Canadian ice Hockey left winger and coach.
Crawford grew up in the township of Cardinal, learning to play Hockey in the winter on the St. Lawrence River.
Crawford later moved to Saskatchewan, settling in Prince Albert. He played with the Prince Albert Mintos for the 1909-10 season. Originally the Mintos were amateur (senior level), The league was not openly professional to begin with. Prince Albert and the Saskatoon Westerns were accused of professionalism. Their players were asked to sign affidavits confirming their amateur status. When the players refused to sign, the two teams were suspended. They joined the Saskatchewan Professional Hockey League / SPHL for the 1910–11 season. Crawford scored 26 goals in 7 games, leading the Mintos to the SPHL championship. He joined the Saskatoon Hoo-Hoos for the 1911–12 season. Both the Mintos and Hoo-Hoos issued challenges for the Stanley Cup in the year Crawford played with them, but his teams were eliminated from the competition by other teams.
Crawford signed with the Quebec Hockey Club, known as the Quebec Bulldogs for the 1912-13 National Hockey Association / NHA season. He scored just 4 goals in 19 games for the Bulldogs, but the team finished first in the NHA during the season, winning the O'Brien Trophy, and retained possession of the Stanley Cup they had won the previous season.
Crawford played in the first game of a 2 game total goals Stanley Cup challenge by the Sydney Millionaires on March 8, 1913. He scored 3 goals in the game, which the Bulldogs easily won 14-3. Crawford did not play in game two, won by Quebec 6-2.
The Bulldogs would leave on a train the next day, to join a exhibition series that was underway in New York City, and played 2 games vs the Montreal Wanderers at the St. Nicolas Rink. Wanderers won the first game 9-5, with the Bulldogs taking the second game 5-3.
Quebec once again would be back on the train, this time heading the the West Coast of Canada, to play in another exhibition series, this one a best-of-three series vs the Victoria Senators (Aristocrats). The Quebec team had to take the train to Vancouver, and then the Steamship Ferry to Victoria, which was the capital of British Columbia. The Senators had requested a challenge series with Quebec, but would not travel to Quebec City, but would play a series in Toronto. Bulldogs would not agree to defend the Cup on any other ice than their home rink. The Senators would win the best-of-three exhibition series, with Crawford scoring 1 goal in the first game and 2 goals in the second game.
Crawford played for the Bulldogs for another 4 seasons, becoming one of their best goal scorers, with 15, 19, 18 and 11 goals scored over those four years. Crawford finished 10th overall in league scoring with his 19 goals during the 1914-15 season.
Crawford started the 1917-18 season with the Ottawa Senators, but after scoring just 1 goal in 11 games, was released and then was signed by the Toronto Hockey Club on February 9, 1918. as a free agent. Crawford scored 2 goals in nine games for the Torontos, as the team was now referred to, along with Toronto Arenas.
In the 1918 National Hockey League / NHL Playoffs, which were the 1st in League history, the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Hockey Club (Arenas) played a 2 game total goals series in which the winner would advance to the Stanley Cup championship series. Toronto won the first game at Mutual Street Arena 7-3. Crawford had no goals in the first game, but at the second game, played at the Jubilee Arena in Montreal, Crawford scored 2 goals, both of which tied the game at the time (2-2 and 3-3). Montreal won the game 4-3, but Toronto won the series 10-7 on total goals.
Crawford was a sub / spare player for Toronto during the five game series vs the Vancouver Millionaires and never played a game, in which Toronto won the 1918 Stanley Cup.
Crawford played another season in Toronto, and then signed with the Saskatoon Crescents of the Saskatchewan Senior Hockey League / SSHL for the 1919-29 season, playing two seasons there before the formation of the Western Canada Hockey League / WCHL, where he joined the Saskatoon Sheiks/Moose Jaw Sheiks for the 1921-22 season. The team was reorganized as the Saskatoon Crescents Hockey Club in April 1922, and Crawford played another season there, before joining the WCHL Calgary Tigers.
Crawford played three seasons for the Tigers, helping them win the 1924 WCHL championship, where he scored 1 goal in a two game series vs the Regina Capitals. Calgary would then play the Vancouver Maroons, with Crawford having 1 assist in the best-of-three Western Canadian final. After dropping the first game in Vancouver, the Tigers came back to defeat the Maroons 6–3 at home, and again 3–1 at a neutral site game in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The victory earned the Tigers the right to play for the Stanley Cup, the first such opportunity for a Calgary-based club. The Tigers would play the Montreal Canadiens in the final. Crawford played in the series, but had no points, as the Canadiens dominated the best of three final , winning 6-2 and 3-0.
Crawford had a solid 1924-25 season with the Tigers, scoring 12 goals during the season and helping them into the playoffs. During the off season, Calgary traded Crawford (along with Reg Mackey) to Vancouver for Art Duncan. Crawford had 0 points for the Maroons in 14 games played, and they released him at the end of the 1925-26 season.
Crawford went East, signing with the Minneapolis Millers of the new American Hockey Association / AHA. The Millers reached the league championship series in that first year, losing to the Duluth Hornets. Crawford scored 3 goals in the playoffs.
Minneapolis had another solid season in 1927-28, with Crawford scoring 4 goals during the season, and another 3 goals in the playoffs, as the Millers won the 1928 AHA Championship (Harry F. Sinclair Trophy).
Crawford played until 1930 with the Millers (4 seasons), then returned to Prince Albert to retire. He also played some senior Hockey with the Mintos there, helped out with coaching, and did some farming in nearby Spruce Home.
Crawford was said to have never missed a game of Hockey due to injury in his entire 21 year career.
Crawford is the only player to have played for a major-league team in every Canadian province that had such a team (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Québec). He played for the Vancouver Maroons, Calgary Tigers, Saskatoon Crescents, Toronto Arenas, Ottawa Senators and Quebec Bulldogs in his career. He was also on teams from 3 different provinces that went to the Stanley Cup final.
Noted Hockey Historian and author of the 3 volume "The Trail of the Stanley Cup" Charles L. Coleman, wrote this about Rusty Crawford on page 584 of volume 1 "A tireless backchecker and a great team player, Rusty was one of the best"
Rusty Crawford was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
- Samuel “Rusty” Crawford was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1977.
- Russel “Rusty” Crawford was inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.