|5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
183 lb (83 kg)
|Teams||Detroit Red Wings|
New York Rangers
|Born||March 15, 1926,|
Montreal, QC, CAN
|Died||August 03 1968 (aged 42),|
Cleveland, OH, USA
|Pro Career||1943 – 1953|
Hyman (Hymie or Hy) Buller (15 March 1926 – 3 August 1968) was a Canadian ice hockey defenceman. Nicknamed the “Blueline Blaster” because of his penchant for hitting opposing players above the skate toe and below the pads, Hy Buller was one of two Jewish professional hockey players in the 1940s and 1950s. He was on the Eastern Hockey League’s (EHL) Second All-Star Team in 1943, the American Hockey League’s (AHL) First All-Star Team in 1949 and 1951, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Second All-Star Team in 1952, and he played in the 1952 NHL All-Star Game. Hy Buller was greatly admired by hockey legends Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard, and other contemporaries not only for his solid plays but also for his good sportsmanship. He played in five NHL seasons, first for the Detroit Red Wings and later for the New York Rangers, before retiring in 1954. He died from cancer in 1968.
He was born in Montreal but his fanily moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1929.In the 1930s and ‘40s, there was one team in Saskatoon that scouts would come to see. The boys in this club were required to attend weekly church services and Hy Buller, as a Jew, was not eligible to join. However, Hy’s natural abilities were too exceptional to overlook and in 1942, at the age of 16, he was offered a spot in the New York Rangers’ Winnipeg training camp. Hy’s parents were hesitant at first because he was an excellent student. He had graduated two years early and could easily have gone to university. But Hy’s zeal for hockey could not be shaken and in the fall of 1942 he began playing for the Eastern Hockey League’s New York Rovers along with two other Saskatoon boys, Vic Lynn and David Livingston.
After one season with the New York Rovers, Hy Buller made his debut in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings. In 1944, there were only six teams in the NHL so space was limited; because of this Hy Buller was demoted to the American Hockey League in the 1944-1945 season. He was sold to the Hershey Bears and played for them for three seasons, during which they were runners-up for the pennant twice before eventually winning the title in 1946-1947. Hy was traded to the Cleveland Barons mid-season and helped them set a league record of thirty undefeated games, as well as win the championship. Hy Buller spent a total of eight years in the American Hockey League. In his final year with the Cleveland Barons they won the Calder Cup, and Hy, who at that time held the record for most all-time points scored by a defenseman, was awarded a spot on the AHL All-Star Team, a position he had held a couple of years before in 1948-1949.
In 1951 Hy was traded to the New York Rangers, and after much deliberation moved his young family to the city. In his first year Hy played defense alongside Allan Stanley and his performance matched the Rangers’ record for a defenseman. He won the West Side Association of Commerce Trophy as the Rangers’ most valuable player and came in second for the Calder Trophy; he was also the first rookie defenseman to be chosen for the NHL All-Star second team. Hy Buller’s connection to the large Jewish population in New York was used by the Rangers’ management to attract a new audience to the home games. Banners emblazoned with the Star of David were hung from Madison Square Garden and his faith was frequently reinforced by sports writers.
In 1954, Hy was traded to the Montreal Canadiens but before the season began he announced his retirement from hockey. Hy retired mostly because he did not want to uproot his family again but also because an NHL salary was not substantial. And his physical condition was weakened as a result of the injuries he had suffered throughout the course of his career.
[edit | edit source]
- Hy Buller at Detroit Redwings: Team History
- Hy Buller's career stats at The Internet Hockey Database
- Buller, Hy at Jews in Sports
- Hy Buller at Joe Pelletier’s Greatest Hockey Legends: The Hockey History Blog
- Hy Buller's biography at Legends of Hockey
- Hy Buller at New York Rangers: History
- The Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia
- The Scribe
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