Wayne Stephenson

Lakehead native, the late Wayne Stephenson, would prove to be among the select group of initial puck stoppers from the city to regularly tend goal in the National Hockey League.

After being born in Fort William, back in 1945, Stephenson would eventually head to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and suit up for the Winnipeg Braves from 1963-65.

In 72 MJHL appearances he would sport a record of 37 wins against 27 losses and eight ties, while posting a pair of shutouts.

His contributions during the 1964-65 campaign saw him earn league Most Valuable Player and Top Goaltender laurels while registering a 2.97 average for the league-leading Braves.

Stephenson also went on the collect MJHL 1st Team All-Star honours as he back stopped his side to a league championship.

After that, he helped Winnipeg top the Port Arthur North Stars, four games to one, in Western Memorial Cup semifinals, before falling in the West Final to the Edmonton Oil Kings in five outings.

Despite the setback, the Oil Kings were so impressed with Stephenson’s skills, that they added him to their Memorial Cup roster.

However, taking on a strong Niagara Falls Flyers side, who boasted future Hockey Hall of Fame honoured member Bernie Parent manning their nets, Edmonton was stopped in five games, in that best-of-seven affair.

Over the next six seasons, Stephenson would play for Canada on the international stage.

Among his contributions there was helping his country earn a bronze medal at the 1967 World Hockey Championship in Vienna, Austria.

A year later, he duplicated the feat as Canada mined bronze at 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.

That same season he made 15 starts with the senior Winnipeg Nationals (WCSHL) and had a 2.00 goals-against average and one shutout.

Being signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Blues in 1971, he made two appearances with the club, but spent the majority of his time with the Blues’ Central Hockey League affiliate, the Kansas City Blues, going 5-11-4 with a 3.93GAA.

After that Stephenson earned full-time duty with the Blues in 1972-73.

That year he saw action in 45 games and had a record of 18-15-7 with one shutout while supplying a 3.04 GAA and an .897 save percentage.

He would also enter the hockey card world, seeing his rookie card in O Pee Chee’s 1972-73 release. His card, No. 275, can be purchased from anywhere between $3-10, depending on its quality.

The following year Stephenson shared starts in the St. Louis net with rookie netminder John Davidson.

His stats line consisted of a 13-21-5 record, a pair of shutouts, along with a 3.13 GAA and .898 save mark

Once more he was in the O Pee Chee sets, with card No. 31.

He also garnered his initial appearance in the Topps cards, which was also No. 31.

Today, both of those cards are in the $3 range.

In 1974-75, Stephenson joined the defending Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers, where he teamed up with his former Memorial Cup foe, Bernie Parent.

He went 7-2-1, with a shutout, and 2.72 average along with a .894 SV% as a back-up, helping the Flyers repeat as NHL title holders.

Despite being with the Philadelphia, Stepenson would be depicted as a member of the Blues on both O Pee Chee and Topps card sets. (No. 218 for both.)

They can be bought for around $2 each.

After five seasons with the Flyers, he wrapped up his NHL career with a two-year run with the Washington Capitals.

In all, he had 11 additional hockey cards in his name.

They include: 1975-76 O Pee Chee (No. 355); 1976-88 OPC (No. 190); 1976-77 Topps (No. 190); 1977-78 OPC (No. 142); 1977-78 Topps (No. 190); 1978-79 OPC (No. 223); 1978-79 Topps (No. 223); 1979-80 OPC (No. 38); 1979-80 Topps (No. 38); 1980-81 OPC (No. 121) and 1980-81 Topps (No. 121).

Depending on the year and value, those cards hold a price range from $1 through $8.

In his NHL tenure, Wayne Stephenson saw action in 328 games, winning 146 of them and posting 14 shutouts.