PRAISED for his efforts that saw him perform admirably on the ice, Steve Black proved his mettle on many occasions, while suiting for numerous clubs over a decade long run as a player.
Recognized as an assiduous skater as well as a tremendous checker, Black began his competing in the junior ranks locally as a 16-year-old back in 1943 with the Port Arthur Flyers.
Undaunted by his youthfulness, the tenacious left winger did his part in a Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League championship for Port Arthur.
They did drop a two-game, total-goal series versus a HMCS Griffon side (10-9) in the district final, but since the winners were not allowed to compete for the Memorial Cup, it was the Flyers that moved on.
Port Arthur did earn a 3-1 series triumph over the St. James Canadians from Winnipeg, with Black scoring three times to give the Lakehead a team in the western final for the first time in 11 seasons.
They would however get extinguished by the Trail Smoke Eaters to end their bid at a Memorial Cup after a trio of closely-contested match-ups.
After being picked up by the West End Bruins for their western playdown run in 1945, he wrapped up his junior days a season later, helping guide the Flyers to another TBJHL title.
The 1946-47 campaign saw an onslaught of Fort William products head west and suit up the Oakland Oaks in the Pacific Coast Hockey League.
This included Black, along with Henry (Pop) Backor; John Raynak; Pete Wywrot; Alf Baccari and Don MacDonald.
Black, Backor and Raynak finished one-two-three in team scoring with 79, 73 and 65 points respectively.
From there, it was a two-year stint in the AHL with the St. Louis Flyers that saw Black register 100 points in 120 outings while playing alongside Backor and Raynak.
His play there caught the attention of the legendary Jack Adams of the Detroit Red Wings, who inked the fellow Lakehead product to a deal with the NHL club.
Black went on to dress in 82 contests with Detroit in 1949-50, making his NHL debut, October 12, 1949 against Boston, collecting his first league point a week later vs. the New York Rangers and notching his initial goal, Oct. 29 of the year at Montreal.
In the end, he was also on the Red Wings roster that won the Stanley Cup in the spring of 1950.
Appearing in the 1950 NHL All-Star Game he was later traded by Adams to Chicago, along with Lee Fogolin Sr., after Black opted not to stay with the Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Indianapolis Capitals.
He appeared in 39 games with the Blackhawks to round out his NHL tenure.
After a stop back in St. Louis in 1951-52, he finished his professional career with the Calgary Stampeders (WHL)
That saw him win yet two other crowns in 1954 as the Stamps won their league and also the Edinburgh Trophy, a best-of-nine affair against the Quebec Hockey League-winning Quebec Aces, five games to one.
Returning home, Black played senior for the Fort William Beavers squad that took part in the 1957 Patton Cup western final against the Spokane, Wash., Flyers.
Despite the Beavers playing very few contests that year, he did score twice and doled out three assists, including one on Pete (Peppy) Gvora’s overtime winner in Game 3, but it wasn’t quite enough that saw Spokane prevail four games to two, that included one tie as well.
Getting into coaching, he stood behind the bench for many years with the Fort William Hurricanes organization, to cap off 40 years of involvement in hockey.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, back on September 30, 1995, Steve Black rightfully earned his place among the many of the Lakehead’s elite, for his many accomplishments in the game.
- H.K.’s CARD CORNER
- The Cards
- The Cards
- Thunder Bay Twins: 1970-77
- Thunder Bay Twins: 1977-84
- Thunder Bay Twins: 1984-91
- Bombers: 2004-05
- Twins: 2008-09
- Thunder Bay Flyers: 1984-2000
- SIJHL – JR. A: 2001-02
- SIJHL: 2012-22