Saturday, June 2, 2012
After playing two seasons with the Springfield Indians in the Canadian-American Hockey League, Ott Heller, born on this date in 1910, became a member of the New York Rangers in the 1931-32 season, when he split his time between the Rangers and Indians, playing 21 games with each club.
Heller, a defenseman, played full time for the Rangers in 1932-33, a season which concluded with New York winning its second Stanley Cup as Heller contributed 3 goals in 8 games after scoring 5 in 40 regular season games.
His career would come to be known for his skating ability, strong defensive play and his durability, as he would play nine seasons of 40 games or more from 1932-33 through 1940-41, with a high in points of 23, all assists, in 1938-39.
The following season would see the Rangers capture the Stanley Cup once again, as Heller's longevity would make him the only member of both the 1933 and 1940 championships teams.
The 1939-40 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers
In 1942-43, he was named captain of the Rangers, just the third one in team history. The next season Heller would set an NHL career best in points with 35, 12 more than in 1938-39, his only other season with 20 points.
During his 15th season with the Rangers, rarely ever missing a game, Heller was sent down to the St. Paul Saints of the USHL as New York was on it's way to it's fourth consecutive last place finish, necessitating a youth movement.
Despite no longer being in the NHL, Heller's career was by no means finished, as he would continue playing ten more seasons, starting in the American Hockey League in 1946-47 with the New Haven Ramblers, where he scored a career high 36 points.
After a second season with the Ramblers, he found a home with the Indianapolis Capitols for four seasons as a player/coach.
Heller would guide the Capitols to win the Calder Cup in 1950 before returning to New Haven, only thing time with the New Haven Nutmegs of the Eastern Amateur Hockey League in the final season of the team and league.
The Calder Cup winning 1949-50 Indianapolis Capitols
He played senior hockey with his hometown Kitchener Dutchmen in 1952-53 and lend his services to the Cleveland Barons for the AHL playoffs. Still not ready to hang up his skates, he played for the Marion Barons of the International Hockey League in 1953-54.
His carer would finally wind down with 18 games with the Valleyfield Braves and 6 games back with the Cleveland Barons in 1954-55 and 7 games of senior hockey with the Chatham Maroons in the Ontario Hockey Association in 1955-56 at 45 years of age.
Today's featured jersey is a 1939-40 New York Rangers Ott Heller jersey. The Rangers would introduce their diagonally lettered sweaters right off the bat in 1926-27 for their first season, changing the lettering from white to red in 1927 and adding the white outlines in 1928. The sweaters would then remain unchanged through the 1940-41 season, after which today's familiar serifed font would be introduced.