Tuesday, July 6, 2010



FRANK "BUZZ" BOLL


Frank "Buzz" Boll started his NHL career in the most unlikely of fashions, but ended up working his way to the top. He should be remembered as an extremely consistent performer at both ends of the ice, and not as a baseball bat-wielding bouncer!

Born in the tiny village of Fillmore, Saskatchewan, "The Fillmore Flash" excelled with such Saskatchewan amateur and junior clubs such as the Weyburn Wanderers, Regina Pats, and Weyburn Beavers. The Leafs were impressed with him enough to bring the young prospect east in 1931 to play Ontario senior hockey with the Toronto Marlboros. (Photo: Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame - file)

The move from the tiny farming community to Canada's biggest city must have been quite an adjustment for Boll. He needed some money, so in the summer of 1931 he landed a job working for Conn Smythe. Smythe and his group begun construction of the fabled Maple Leaf Gardens, and required a night watchman of the construction site. Smythe would always help out a hockey player or prospect, and he was more than happy to give Boll the job. Boll was provided with a make-shift shack with a stove and some fire wood, as well as a 15 cent baseball bat to keep intruders off of the grounds.

Boll was eager to impress Smythe on the ice too, and did so with the Marlboros. He scored 14 goals in 20 games before finishing the season as a professional with the Syracuse Stars of the IAHL. He would spend most of the 1932-33 season learning the professional game down in Syracuse as well, but by 1933-34 he emerged as a National Hockey League player.

Boll was one of the most unheralded players of the Leafs teams of the 1930s. A quick left winger with a good scoring touch, Boll was consistently solid although never flashy enough to earn rave reviews that others on the team would get. He was a conscientious defensive player, often playing on a checking line with Bill Thoms and Bob Davidson. He was a guy who did everything well but nothing excellently.

In 4 of Boll's 6 seasons in Toronto Boll would top 10 goals in the 48 game schedule. Given that the era back then was extremely defensive, Boll's totals would be the equivalent of 30 goals in today's day and age. Boll would slip below the double digit numbers only during two injury plagued seasons.

In May 1939, Boll and Busher Jackson were the key players sent to the New York Americans for the flashy Sweeney Schriner. Boll spent three years in New York, including the franchise's last season in 1941-42 when it was relocated to Brooklyn.

Following the demise of the Americans, Boll's rights were transferred to the Boston Bruins in a dispersal draft. The veteran winger was teamed with Bill Cowley and Art Jackson and produced a career best 25 goals. Boll played one more year in the Black and Gold before retiring in 1944.

Boll retired with 133 goals and 263 point in 437 NHL games. He would play in 31 playoff games, but all of his 7 playoff goals and 10 playoff points came in the 9 games of the 1935-36 playoff season with Toronto. That outburst led all Leaf scorers and returned the Leafs to the Stanley Cup finals, but unfortunately wasn't enough to get the team past the Detroit Red Wings.