BIRTHPLACE: Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
BORN: May 28, 1900
DIED: August 1,1964
TEAMS/ASSOCIATIONS: New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks
Taffy Abel knew his finest moments while wearing the uniform of the New York Rangers and Chicago BlackHawks in an era when the National Hockey League was scrambling from an offbeat collection of muscular mavericks to a solid organization. Abel's fabulous climb from Sault Ste. Marie amateur ranks to the National Hockey League stamped him as a legend in hockey. He left an indelible imprint in pro and amateur circles as a player, coach and manager. Taffy Abel was a name beloved by hockey followers across the continent in the era of the 60-minute men. He played his first game in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. in 1918, and carried the American flag as he took the Olympic oath for hockey players in Chamonix, France, in 1924. After a stint with the Minneapolis Millers during the 1925-26 season, he joined the original New York Rangers when the club made its NHL debut (1926-27). Here Taffy played alongside rugged Ivan "Ching" Johnson on the blue line. The first-year Ranger team won its division title and the next year claimed the Stanley Cup.
The 1928 Stanley Cup series against the Montreal Maroons was a memorable one in the life of Taffy Abel, for it was during a game in that series that he rose to national acclaim. The goalie for the Rangers was hit in the head with a shot and was removed from the ice on a stretcher. After an attempt by the Rangers to sign a goalie from the stands was nullified, Ranger Manager Lester Patrick donned the pads and stood between the pipes. Abel and Johnson allowed only three shots to be fired at Patrick, playing his first game ever in the nets. Abel also was a member of the 1933-34 Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks.
For many years Able was the only American-born player in the NHL and at one point, with the Hawks, set an NHL record when he played 100 minutes in a series against Les Canadians without a substitution.