Johnny Pierson had a big break in hockey as his team was immersed in a notorious gambling scandal.
Mr. Pierson, who has died at the age of 95, made a commendable National Hockey League career as a player with Granthshala during the era of the Big Bad Bruins before gaining more fame as a television analyst in the 1970s.
A solid 5-foot-11, 170-pound right winger, Min. Pierson joined the Bruins for an unsuccessful five-game try during the 1946–47 season. He started the next season with the Bruins only once again to commit minors.
He was recalled in 1948, rumors of pending punishment for gambling surrounded Bruins.
Team owner Weston Adams said before a game on March 3, 1948, “It is hard to imagine the brutal form of mass torture that all Bruin players suffered during the crisis.”
That night, Mr. Pierson scored his first NHL goal, helping the Chicago Black Hawks to a game at Granthshala Gardens at the Brins Rally. He gave Chicago’s Emile (The Cat) Francis a low shot for the eighth and final goal of the game. The goal came with an assist from center Don Gallinger.
Six days later, Mr. Gallinger and former bruin Billy (The Kid) Taylor were reported missing by the NHL due to contact with a criminal and a known gambler.
The suspended player’s roster spot was claimed by Rocky Paul Ronti, who muscled the line with Mr. Pierson and hired Kenny Smith on the left wing. In the wake of the scandal, Mr. Pierson had a chance to demonstrate his skills and was not returned to the minors again.
An expert stickhandler, Mr. Pierson had a reputation as a thinking player. He was capable of both attractive goals and pesky back-checking. He had four seasons in the 1950s, during which he scored 20 or more goals, a standard for excellence in the era. He finished in the top 10 in scoring in three seasons and skated in two All-Star Games.
He returned 18 months later, after retiring as a player at the age of 29 to pursue a career as a furniture seller. In his first game, he scored a goal and helped his Brins to a 4–1 win over Chicago.
He retired as a player after the 1957–58 season, scoring 153 goals with 173 assassins in 545 games with Bruce.
Although not a ruffian, he showed enough fuss to drop Glu to prevent more surprises from his opponents. Once, during a brawl with Gus Kyle of the New York Rangers, Mr. Pierson bumps into his opponent, a former Canadian Mounted Police constable pulling his sweater over his head, rendering him helpless, as he watches her Was killed with a fist.
“That fight proved to be,” Bruce General Manager Lynn Patrick said, noting that Kyle not only knows the tricks of the trade, but that our underwear is cleaner than the Rangers. “
John Frederick Pearson was born in Winnipeg on July 21, 1925, the second son to the former Ruth Dieter Widder and insurance agent Frederick Richard Pierson. The family moved to Montreal when the boy was 10 years old and as a teenager he acted as a student and athlete at Westmount Academy.
He briefly skated for the Montreal Junior Canadiens before enlisting in the Army in 1944. His elder brother enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve, while working as an infantry officer in his reserves.
After the war, Mr. Pierson enrolled at McGill University where he starred in the Varsity Hockey Team. A scout signed him to the Bruins organization and he played for the amateur Granthshala Olympics before going professional with minor-league Hershey Byers.
Away from the arena, Mr. Pierson was a capable golfer who competed as an amateur at his home course, the Royal Montreal Golf Club, the 1950 Canadian Open.
Mr. Pierson died on April 16, at his home in Wetland, Mass. He leaves his wife of 70 years, the former Barbara Ann Hunt; two sons; Two daughters; 11 grandchildren; And five great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Richard Pierson, who died in 1948.
A sales representative for furniture manufacturers, he worked in winter from 1969 to 1995 as an analyst for the Bruins Games. He was paired as a gentleman analyst with Velvet Play-by-Play man Fred Cusick, who was responsible for a period segment called “Pearson Pointers”.
He entered the broadcast booths as gloomy Berry Brins emerged as contenders, with a colorful cast of players including Phil Esposito, Johnny (Pai) McKenzie, Derek (Turk) Sanderson, Mike (Shake) in 1970 and 1972. Won. Walton, Gerry (Cheesey) Cheers and no. 4, Bobby Oar.
Even with the advantage of quick replays of slow speed, the physics-deflection of the great OR sometimes confused Mr. Pearson. In a memorable play, the defenseman feared a shot from teammate Mike Walton, he could go out of the net, so he positioned himself to retrieve Peck as it backhanded a shot high into goal The end ended up off the boards.
“How does he do it ?! I don’t know,” Mr. Pierson said.
Mr. Pierson offered an analysis on the American broadcast of the first four matches of the historic summit series in 1972, as Canada faced off against the Soviet Union. Like many, he was surprised by the Soviet prowess displayed in the inaugural game when he dominated the home team in a 7-3 drubbing at the Forum in Montreal.
“It’s good to be on history,” he said, “but I didn’t think it would be Dunkirk.”