Walt Atanas

It was none other than the legendary Eddie Shore who discovered Walt "Ants" Atanas. He was a star scorer with his hometown Hamilton Whizzers in the early 1940s. After scoring a league leading 37 goals in 23 games in the OHA, Shore signed the right winger to his AHL team in Buffalo.

Atanas stepped in nicely into Buffalo, using his great speed and shot to help the Bisons win the AHL championship. With 6 goals and 13 points in 9 playoff games Atanas was now on the radar of all NHL teams, too.

It was the New York Rangers that were able to secure Atanas' release from Buffalo, via the inter-league draft. With the Rangers' roster depleted by World War II commitments, Atanas stepped in nicely in 1944-45 and score 13 goals and 21 points in 49 games.

Oddly, Walt Atanas would never play hockey in the NHL after that season again.

The Rangers were looking to make wholesale changes after missing the playoffs. With most of the players returning from their various war commitments Atanas was demoted to the Minor Leagues. After first reporting to the Cleveland Barons of the AHL he soon joined the Minneapolis Millers of the USHL. After struggling the first two years in Minny he found his scoring touch and enjoyed several seasons in Minny.

Atanas continued to play until 1957, making stops in Buffalo, Victoria, Vancouver, Springfield, Syracuse and North Bay. But he didn't hang up his skates when he left the ice as a player. He remained active as an on-ice official. He even served as a NHL linesman in 1961-62.


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