Red Garrett

In the early 1940s was a rough time for the National Hockey League. Having survived the Great Depression and the economic disaster that it had threatened, now the league faced a new problem, one that promised to every bit as devastating not only at the box office but on the ice as well - World War II.

By the opening of the 1942-43 season, every NHL team felt the war's cold touch as players traded in their hockey sticks for guns. Well over 100 established players and rookies throughout the farm systems had departed for the war. A couple of them, such as New York Rangers fine rookie defenseman Dudley "Red" Garrett, never returned.

The Toronto native was hard-nosed defenseman who broke into the NHL at the early age of 18 in 1942-43. With the NHL being stripped of players due to the war, teams were scrambling to fill rosters and the Rangers brought Red in even though it was rare for kids that young to play in the league. Garrett, who in the previous season led the OHA in penalty minutes with 61 PIM in 18 games for the Toronto Marlies, played extremely well for the Rangers, scoring 1 goal and 1 assist in 23 games. While those are modest scoring totals, Red played with maturity beyond his years and was very composed on the ice. In his limited ice time he was one of the league's top rookies, although he was overshadowed by Montreal's rookie rearguard Glen Harmon and 1943 Calder trophy winner Gaye Stewart.

Red actually never finished the season. During the season he too was called off to war. The Rangers and their fans had no choice but to say good-bye to the promising backliner. Fans were also enthusiastic that once the war was over Red would return and would develop into a top rearguard.

Red was never stationed overseas. Instead he was stationed in Atlantic Canada where the Canadian military often ran armed escort services for boats carrying supplies to Allied troops overseas. Naturally, these supply boats were targets of German U-boats (submarines), so it was anything but a piece of cake. In fact it was a very dangerous job, and one that cost Garrett his life. On November 25, 1944, Garrett was killed in action off of the coast of Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland.

In his memory the American Hockey League created the Red Garrett Memorial award in 1947 to be presented annually to the top rookie of the AHL. Famous winners include Terry Sawchuk in 1949, Roger Crozier in 1964, Ron Hextall in 1986, Brett Hull in 1987 and Daniel Briere in 1998.


Ron 7:56 PM  

Just found this post and wanted to thank you for keeping Dudley's memory so nicely.

My mom (now 82) is Dudley's sister, and I grew up hearing about him, how proud his family is/was about his accomplishments, and about the family's sadness at his loss.

Ron 7:56 PM  

Another note...the family has a website about Dudley at

Snax99 4:52 PM  

It's very cool stumbling on this page. I and my brothers and sister heard stories about Red Garrett all our lives from his high school friend, our father Doug Clark. Dad passed away this past January (2012) telling his familiar stories - including ones proudly mentioning Red - right till the end. It's nice to be able to put a face to the name.

Anonymous,  7:47 AM  

Hi Ron,

It was nice stumbling upon your post on this page. My mom and I also grew up hearing stories about Red. If you wouldn't mind contacting me it would be nice to compare notes.

Thank you- Alexis Honey

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