Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Today in history: August 16

Three birthdays today
Alvin "Buck" Jones: A tough defenseman who played 123 games for the Capitals from the team's founding in 1939 through 1942, when he was dealt to the Providence Reds. He was one of the original Capitals. Buck had 14 goals, 12 assists and 175 penalty minutes in the blue and white. He got the first callup to Detroit prior to the Caps' founding, and then served two more stints with the Wings. After his trade to Providence, he also played for the Maple Leafs in 1943, totaling 50 NHL games. Like many pro hockey players, he left the game after the 1943 season to join the service, and returned in 1946, where he played nine more years in the minor pro and senior levels. He settled in Tampa, Fla. upon retirement. A native of Owen Sound, Ontario -- and a member of that town's sports Hall of Fame -- Buck was born in 1917. He passed away in 2007, six days after his 90th birthday. 

Bob Wiest: Capitals center in 1946-47, where he totaled 15 goals and 15 assists in 39 games. As a junior, he led the Ontario Hockey Association in scoring in 1942, but did not begin playing professionally until after WWII. He continued to play in the United States Hockey League and in Canadian senior leagues after his tenure with the Caps, scoring 24 goals with USHL Omaha in 1947-48. A native of Balgonie, Saskatchewan, he was born in 1922. 

Nick Harbaruk: Right wing who played 181 games for the Racers between 1974-77. Known as a strong defensive forward, he had some offensive punch. He had 45 goals and 44 assists, topping the 20-goal mark in 1975 and 1976. He spent most of the following season in the minors, but played 27 games for the Racers and was a key in their playoff sweep of Cincinnati. He had three goals and an assist in 13 playoff games in 1976 and 1977. Harbaruk played for the Racers at the end of a long professional career that began in 1964 with AHL Rochester -- shortly after winning the Memorial Cup with the Toronto Marlies. His career included 545 NHL/WHA games, 90 goals and 119 assists. He broke into the NHL with Pittsburgh in 1969 -- and was one of four players in the entire league with a college degree when he did, completing it while spending five years with the Central Hockey League's Tulsa Oilers. He played four seasons in Pittsburgh before going to St. Louis in 1973-74 and joining the inaugural Racers squad the following year. After retirement, he coached at Seneca College in Toronto, where his teams won three Ontario championships. Born in Drohiczyn, Poland in 1943 at the height of WWII, Harbaruk emigrated to Toronto with his family at age five. He passed away on March 10 of bone cancer. 

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