Nelson Pyatt

Gaining notoriety early on in the the local Elks minor hockey system, Nelson Pyatt made the jump to the junior ranks in 1970 when he was recruited by the Port Arthur Marrs to play for the legendary Albert (Ab) Cava.

That initial campaign, Pyatt did not disappoint in the tightly-contested Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League.

In the three-team loop, which featured a plethora of local talent on each side, the Marrs finished in top spot with the help of Pyatt who garnered rookie of the year laurels and went on to be named the league’s top centre.

First place Port Arthur would eventually meet the Westfort Hurricanes in the TBJHL final where the Marrs proved their worth by winning the Jack Adams Trophy as league champions, taking the best-of-seven affair if five outings.

Advancing to the Centennial Cup playdowns, Pyatt’s Port Arthur side battled hard and rallied for a series triumph over the Sudbury Wolves.

However, their campaign came to an end in the Eastern Canadian semifinals as they were clipped in five games by the eventual east winners, the Charlottetown Islanders.

Pyatt was credited with seven points in five match-ups, including a trio of tallies.

From there he went to the Ontario Hockey Association, joining the Oshawa Generals, who were coached by Lakehead legend Gus Bodnar.

In two seasons at forward with ‘The Gennies’, Pyatt contributed at nearly a point-per-game pace with 78 in 80 contests.

His efforts in the OHA helped him get taken in the third round, 39th overall, in the 1973 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings as well as in the fifth round, with the 59th pick in the World Hockey Association’s Draft that same year as the Minnesota Fighting Saints tabbed him with a selection.

After making his NHL debut with Detroit back on October 13, 1973, Pyatt made five appearances with the Red Wings before being sent to Europe to play for the London Lions, the brainchild of Detroit owner Bruce Norris, who had a vision of forming a European professional league that would affiliate with NHL clubs.

While it never materialized, Pyatt produced 62 points in 61 match-ups across Europe with a squad made up largely with Red Wings draft picks and prospects, including fellow Thunder Bay native Murray Wing.

Returning to North America the following year, he split time in the Motor City and in the AHL before being acquired by the Washington Capitals.

After 93 games with Washington, Pyatt moved on to the Colorado Rockies where he added more games to his NHL resume.

He would be a mainstay in Colorado for the better part four seasons, appearing in 189 NHL games picking up 39 goals, 36 assists and 75 points along the way.

After some time in the Central Hockey League in 1979-80, Pyatt headed back to Europe where he put up solid numbers in Germany and Austria to wrap-up his pro career.

Through seven seasons he dressed in 296 NHL games and supplied 134 points, including 71 goals.

He also racked up 335 more points in the minor pro and European ranks in 219 appearances there.

In terms of hockey cards, Colorado would provide the bulk of Pyatt’s presences there.

His rookie card would be included in 1976-77 O Pee Chee set (Card No. 98) as well as a place in 1977-78 O Pee Chee set with Card No. 252.

They currently range in price from $1-2.

He can also be found as a rookie and a member of the Washington Capitals in the 1976-77 Topps (Card No. 98), which sells for around a dollar.

Pyatt is also featured in the 1976-77 O Pee Chee Capitals team leaders card (No. 396) with Gerry Meehan, Yvon Labre and Tony White. That goes for around $3-4.

Following in their father’s footsteps, Pyatt’s sons Taylor and Tom both played in the NHL.

Tom also helped Canada win back-to-back World Junior Hockey Championship gold in 2006 & ’07.

Nelson Pyatt was inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame back in 1999.