I had the honour of getting to know Fran over a span of four years as I worked alongside of him. For I was trying to get one of the best ever Regina Pats into the Saskatchewan Hall of Fame. To me, he was one of the best. His number seven, a number that should have been retired long ago should be hanging in the rafters of Brandt Centre.
Fran Huck was inducted at the 40th Annual Induction Dinner on Saturday, June 17, 2006, at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina. For that special occasion, my wife and I sat at his special table along with his Regina Law Office Staff.
Huck was born and raised in Regina and developed his hockey within the Regina Pats minor hockey system. He made the Regina Pat Canadians as a 15-year-old before moving up and joining the Pats for the 1962-63 season where Fran played in 33 games and 6 play-off games. (Photo: taken from the Winnipeg Jets Memorial Page) - www.curtiswalker.com/jets/playerdetails.aspx?key=132 -
The following season, on Thursday, October 17, at Saskatoon, Regina's coach, Dunc Fisher, started a new line with centre Fran Huck, right winger Andy Black, and left winger Gary Dresdal. At that time the Regina games were being broadcast over radio station CKCK. I can still remember after one of the broadcasts an elderly lady called the radio station and asked why Fran Huck was dressed all in black? The explanation was that it was a play on their names, HUCK-DRESDAL-BLACK - “Huck Dressed in all Black”.
Fran was the scoring leader that season, finishing with 153 points, scoring a record 86 goals. Selected on the First League All-Star Team, plus winning the SJHL League Most Valuable Player Award (Leo Parker Trophy) as well as the Scoring Championship (Charles McCook Trophy).
In the play-offs on Thursday, Fran, 5' 6”, 158 pounds, scored his fifteenth hat trick of the season as he helped the Regina Pats to an 8-3 victory over Weyburn Red Wings at the Regina Exhibition Stadium to help the Pats come back to win the series. Fran was picked up by the SJHL League Winners, Estevan Bruins in the Abbott Cup against the Edmonton Oil Kings. He was also picked up by the Oil Kings who lost to the Toronto Marlboros in the Memorial Cup. The final game of that series was televised by the CTV network as they picked up the game in the second period. It became the first ever Memorial Cup final to be broadcast live across Canada.
In Fran's final season, 1964-65, he finished second in the League Scoring with 138 points, and 77 goals. He was selected on the League Second All-Star Team and, once again for the second straight year, won the Most Valuable Player Award. That year Fran was tagged with the nickname of "The Golden Hawk" The nickname was given to him because Huck and his linemates Andy Black and Barry Meissner wore gold helmets.
Photo's: Andy Black - Ron Johnston file - Fran Huck (Fran's Collection) - Barry Meissner Ron Johnston file
"The Gold Helmet was Andy's idea. I don't know why he thought about it but he had a flair for that type of thing. He showed up one day with our helmets and he had painted them gold. We didn't think anything about it. We just put them on. There wasn't any design behind it. I just put it on.'' (Photo: Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston)
During 1963-64 season, Fran scored 107 goals in 90 games, including 5 game with Estevan and 5 with Edmonton in the Memorial Cup. In his final season (1964-65) he had 105 goals in 80 games, including 3 games with Edmonton in the Memorial Cup.
The following season 1965-66 the nineteen year old played with Jackie McLeod's Canadian Olympic Team alongside another Ex-Regina Pat player, Lorne Davis, plus Ex-Weyburn Red Wings Morris Mott. Huck was also selected to the all-star team that year. Fran decided to focus on a law degree and decided to continue as an amateur player by entering the national program.
After four seasons in the national program, Huck started his professional hockey career with the Montreal Voyageurs of the American hockey League (AHL). In 1971 he played with the Denver Spurs of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The same season he played with the NHL Montreal Canadiens and was later traded to the St. Louis Blues before playing in the World Hockey Association with the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Fighting Saints. By the end of his career in 1978, he had played in 251 games and scored 212 points. (Photo: HHOF-000054-0045)
Fran and three Winnipeg businessmen, Harry Buekert, Arnold De Fehr and Marsdon Fenwick bought the Junior Franchise in the 1980-81 season. Huck, who coached St. Boniface Mohawks of the Central Amateur Senior Hockey League the previous season, guided them to the Allan Cup Western Final against Spokane Flyers. Huck and Buekert coached the junior club to be known as the Warriors.
In 1999 Fran became one of just 90 elite hockey players to hold a position in the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) Hockey Hall of fame. At the age of 53, Huck was inducted into the Hall of Fame based on his playing internationally with the Canadian National team during the 1960’s. (Photo: Huck with his Hall of Fame Induction plaque - Regina Sun Newspaper - photo by Terry Chevaller)