Monday, September 24, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Hank Bassen

While the west seemed to be the best for this week's AGM, he did make a name for himself but coming out of nowhere in order to get to the NHL and would be noticed from the lower leagues-- though the translation to the NHL game didn't go as planned. This week, the profile of Hank Bassen.

Bassen started off playing for his hometown team, the Calgary Buffaloes of the Western Canadian Junior League starting in the 1949-50 season, finishing his rookie season with a 11-18-1 record in 30 games, while his sophomore season; Bassen played 37 games and went 8-27-2 with the Buffaloes and was loaned out for a game to the Medicine Hat Tigers, losing that game. It was a bounce back year in the 1951-52 season, as Bassen went 21-17-4 in 42 games, then 0-3 in the playoffs. For the 1952-53 season, Bassen played in 30 games, compiling a 14-13-3 record, then again going 0-3 in the playoffs.

Moving out east for the 1953-54 season, Bassen played for the Chatham Maroons of the Ontario Senior League, putting together a 22-30-3 record. The 1954-55 season brought Bassen to the AHL's Buffalo Bisons, where he would play in 37 games and finish up with a 13-19-5 record.

An interesting turn allowed Bassen get some NHL playing time as he would replace the suddened injured Al Rollins for the Chicago Blackhawks and play in 21 games for the Hawks, finishing with a 4-9-8 record for that season. The 1955-56 season had Bassen in 12 games for the Hawks and posting a 2-9-1 record, but spent the bulk of that season in Buffalo going 26-23-4 in 55 games, then posting a 2-3 playoff record.

For the 1956-57 season, Bassen went back out west to Calgary to play for the Western League's Calgary Wranglers, where he would play in 68 games and post a 29-35-4 record, then 1-2 in three playoff appearances.

Even while not with the team, the Blackhawks traded Bassen away with Johnny Wilson, Forbes Kennedy, and Bill Preston to the Detroit Red Wings for Glenn Hall and Ted Lindsay in July of 1957. That didn't make Bassen go back out east, as he would stay in the Western League in the 1957-58 season with the Seattle Totems, putting together a 27-27-6 record, then going 5-4 in the nine playoff appearances.

The Red Wings traded the rights to Bassen away in May of 1958 to the AHL's Springfield Indians, where Bassen would appear in 29 games and put up a 13-14-2 record. Bassen was then traded by Springfield to the WHL's Vancouver Canucks for the 1959-60 season, where Bassen compiled a 44-19-6 season, the a 9-2 playoff record, helping win the WHL Championship. Bassen also was awarded the Leader's Cup for League MVP and Outstanding Goaltender Award.

The Detroit Red Wings claimed Bassen back in the 1960-61 season in the IntraLeague Draft, where Bassen would be behind Terry Sawchuk-- getting into 35 games with a 13-13-6 record and 1-2 playoff record. The 1961-62 season saw Bassen play 27 games with Detroit, posting a 9-12-6 record in those games. The 1961-62 season also had Bassen play with the AHL's Pittsburgh Hornets (4-4-1) and EPHL's Sudbury Wolves (1-2-0).

It was another split season in the 1962-63 season for Bassen playing in 40 contest for the Hornets (15-23-2) and 16 for the Red Wings (6-5-5), while Bassen played in Cincinnati for the CPHL's Wings for seven games (0-6-1), 26 for the Hornets (9-15-2), and only one for the Red Wings (0-1-0) in the 1963-64 season. Bassen was firmly planted in Pittsburgh for the Hornets in the 1964-65 season, playing in 57 games and finishing with a 24-25-7 record.

Shipping back to Detroit for the 1965-66 season for 11 games and finishing off with a 3-3-0 record, while in the 1966-67 season, he would only play in eight games for the Red Wings (2-4-0), then ten games for the Hornets (6-3-1).

The Red Wings would trade Bassen to the newly expansion Pittsburgh Penguins for Roy Edwards before the 1967-68 season. He would play 25 games for the Pens and go 7-10-3 record before retiring from hockey.

After hockey, Bassen opened an excavating business and did manage the Calgary Jr. Buffaloes between 1984-86. Bassen's son, Bob, would go on to play 765 NHL games from 1985 until 2000. Hank Bassen would pass away from heart failure in May of 2009.

In a pinch, Bassen would be there-- that's how he got his name "Mr. Emergency" as he filled in during a time where back-ups weren't used frequently. Yet, he did have an affinity for the West and towards the end Western Pennsylvania. He seemed to always keep digging and was able to achieve the NHL dream over and over-- though there was time between appearances and plenty of up-and-down travels.

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