Andy Hebenton

Andy Hebenton was the NHL's original "Iron Man." Hebenton played nine consecutive seasons (1955-64) with the NY Rangers and Boston Bruins never missing a single game. The string lasted 630 games, eclipsing the previous record held by John Wilson, who played 580 games without taking a day off.

"I'm proud of what I accomplished in the NHL as far as the consecutive game streak is concerned," said Hebenton. "I did it as a member of the old six-team NHL. I had to be doing something right to have lasted that long because there weren't as many jobs available in the NHL back then as there are today."

Just how tough was it to stick in the NHL in the old 6 team league? Well, ironically enough, Hebenton's consecutive game streak didn't end because of an injury. Instead Hebenton was sent to the minor leagues and he never returned to the NHL.

Hebenton actually played 1062 professional games in a row without missing one. He played in 216 straight matches in the minors prior to joining the NHL in 1955. After being demoted back to the minors in 1964, Hebenton played 216 more games in succession. The streak finally came to an early in the 1967 season, but not due to injury. Hebenton had to return to his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba to attend his father's funeral.

Hebenton returned after the funeral and never missed another game until 1974-75 which he only played part of the season before hanging up his skates

Hockey's Cal Ripken, Hebenton's NHL record for consecutive games played was later broken three times by Doug Jarvis (who is the new "Iron Man" with 964 consecutive games), Garry Unger (914) and Craig Ramsay (776).

Hebenton was a hard worker but a clean player. He won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1957 and also won 6 most gentlemanly player awards in the minors. Hebenton scored 189 career goals and 202 assists for 391 points. He also played in 22 playoff games, scoring 11 points.

Hebenton became somewhat of a hockey legend in the Pacific Northwest where he played most of his minor league hockey. He played 7 seasons with the Victoria (British Columbia) Cougars of the PCHL/WHL and 8 1/2 seasons with the Portland (Oregon) Buckaroos of the WHL. He also played a handful of professional games in Seattle, Cincinatti and Montreal.

After finally leaving hockey Hebenton stayed in Portland and got into the cement business.


penaltykiller9 4:03 PM  

Andy Hebenton remains one of the original six era's underated players.In addition to playing 630 consecutive games he averaged 44 pts.a year a very respectable number for his era. A hustling winger his corner play complimented his linemate Camille Henry as the duo spent most of their careers as linemates .After his demotion to the minors he continued his fine play putting up great numbers in the WHL 425 goals ,530 assist's and 98 points in the playoffs.At the tender age of 43 he tallied 72 points and still was known for his hustle and team play. The question remains why was Hebenton exiled to the minors never to return?? he surely was better than many of the career minor leaguers who fashioned NHL careers after expansion.Was Hebenton blackballed because of anti Lady Byng sentiment that existed at the time another factor may have been the greedy stockpiling of the Maple Leafs who routinely kept quality veterans under contract in the minors for bottom line reasons.I enjoyed Andy's play as a Ranger as he always gave an honest effort and in 1973 I saw him play for the Buckaroo's and he was still that good honest player

Anonymous,  10:30 PM  

Seems that the Leafs had it in for him (and others). Andy was a class act who never gave a "second best" effort.

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