OVER the years, the list of those from the Lakehead that were steadfast and rugged players remains extensive.
One such skater that consistently proved his mettle on the ice, home and away, was a hard-nosed defenceman by the name of Pete Goegan.
Never shy to get involved and mix it up in backing up his teammates, Goegan began his junior career with his hometown Fort William Columbus Canadiens side in 1951.
Over three seasons with the local Jr. Habs, he helped them win back-to-back Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League titles in 1953 and ’54, while appearing in 102 regular season and playoff contests, scoring 21 times, doling out 35 assists and amassing 420 penalty minutes.
After their initial championship, Fort William won their opening contest, 7-0 at home, in the playdowns, but then dropped four straight to the eventual Memorial Cup finalist St. Boniface Canadiens.
The following year, his club downed St. Boniface after winning the league, however they were ousted by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the western Canadian final.
Next came a roster spot with the senior Fort William Beavers squad in 1954-55.
His contributions helped the Beavers claim both the local title and the Patton Cup, emblematic of western Canada champs.
Heading to the Allan Cup, the Beavers were topped by the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen in five outings, who thus earned the right to represent Canada at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, where they won bronze.
After a year of senior hockey in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Goegan turned pro and won an American Hockey League crown with the Cleveland Barons during the 1956-57 campaign as a rookie.
This eventually led to him signing with the Detroit Red Wings and saw him make his NHL debut back on February 22, 1958 against the Boston Bruins.
His initial point in the league came on March 15 of that year when he and the legendary Gordie Howe combined to set-up Johnny Wilson’s game-winning goal in a 3-1 road victory at Toronto.
His initial NHL goal came 11 months later when he scored the opening marker, in a 4-2 triumph over the Maple Leafs at the Olympia in Detroit.
As a solid defender, Goegan remained a steady rearguard on the Red Wings’ blueline for five seasons, as well as a stint with the New York Rangers.
Heading to Springfield of the AHL near the end of year in 1962, he went on to win another Calder Cup there.
Splitting his time with Detroit and the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL for nine more seasons, he won a third Calder Cup as a member of the Hornets in 1967.
As an experienced defenceman, that caught the eye of the fledgling Minnesota North Stars, who selected him in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, which aided in stocking the line-ups of the six new franchises that were set to join the league.
Following a 46-game stint with the North Stars, he went on to wrap-up his playing career with the Phoenix Roadrunners (WHL), Baltimore Clippers (AHL) and Denver Spurs (WHL).
Suiting up for 951 appearances, including 383 in the NHL, he compiled 89 tallies, assisted on 246 more for 335 points, along with 1,667 minutes in the penalty box.
Retiring after winning multiple championships at nearly every level he competed in, while doing his part defensively, Pete Goegan was inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
Even though he passed away in 2008, Goegan steadfastly remains as one of those that facilitated in etching the Lakehead’s name into the annals as the premier hockey community in all of the game.