Raised in the city’s East End, John Bednarski was a tenacious hockey player who was not scared to mix it up.
Heading to Manitoba to play junior in 1970, Bednarski joined the West Kildonan North Stars where he picked up 37 points, including 10 tallies, and 229 penalty minutes.
Later in the 1070-71 campaign, he went to the Winnipeg Jets of the then Western Canadian Junior Hockey League.
In 80 career match-ups with the Jets, including playoffs, he would score five times and assist on 18 others, while serving another 229 minutes in the sin bin.
Moving to 1972-73, Bednarski made the jump to the pro ranks after inking a deal with the NHL’s New York Rangers.
There he made his professional debut with the Rangers’ AHL farm club, the Rochester Americans.
With the Amerks, he contributed 14 goals and 24 assists, along with 205 penalty minutes under second-year head coach Don Cherry, helping Rochester make a long-awaited return to the playoffs.
After that, Bednarski would split time with the Rangers and the Providence Reds of the AHL.
Earning 2nd Team AHL All-Star recognition in 1973-74, he had a career single-season high 61 points, while adding 222 PIMS.
That earned him a promotion to New York the following season where he ended up skating in 35 contests with the Rangers and another 25 in Providence.
Bednarski followed that with 59 appearances on Broadway, with the Blue Shirts, getting his second career goal, and chipping in with eight helpers as well as 77 minutes in the penalty box.
After that, he only appeared in five games with the Rangers, but did see his rookie cards produced in both O Pee Chee’s and Topps 1976-77 release, (Cards No. 231), which go for around $1.
A three-year stint with the AHL’s New Haven Nighthawks, saw him play 215 times and pick up 164 points along with another 354 PIMS.
In 1979-80, Bednarski was well travelled, making a brief stop in Edmonton, with the Oilers, before playing mainly with the Adirondack Red Wings (AHL) and the Cincinnati Stingers (CHL).
He then spent the entire 1980-81 campaign back in Rochester before concluding his playing run in the pros with the Erie Blades (AHL) in 1981-82.
In total, Bednarski dressed in 100 NHL games, and added another 576 in the AHL.
His combined totals in those two leagues had him appear in 676 contests, notching 96 goals and 303 assists with penalty minute totals of 1,230.
He was also a four-time AHL All-Star on defence, earning the honours twice each on the 1st & 2nd teams.
After retiring, he would be part of two trading cards sets once his playing days were over.
One was in 1988-89, (Card No. 125) in the Edmonton Oilers 10th anniversary commemorative set and another was in the 1989-90 New Haven Nighthawks 20th anniversary set with Card No. 2.
Beginning in 1985, Bednarski served as a colour commentator on Rochester Americans radio and television broadcasts for two decades.
That body of work, plus with his time skating for the Amerks, along with his significant charity work in the Rochester community, earned him place in the Americans Hall of Fame back in 2007.