John 'Chick' Webster now oldest living ex-NHL player

News Jan 06, 2017 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

John ‘Chick’ Webster jokes his biggest hockey record is just living this long.

With the passing of hockey Hall-of-Famer Milt Schmidt Wednesday, Jan. 4 at age 98, Webster has inherited the distinction of being the presumed oldest living former NHL player.

The Mirror profiled the 96-year-old Mattawa resident in July when he was searching for the boys he played with on the Willowdale Rangers in the 1960s.

“He was getting lots of attention (Wednesday),” said Webster’s son, Rob. “It’s kind of a sad progression. That era (of players) is almost gone.”

Webster — who got his nickname for his love of Chiclets — played 14 games with the New York Rangers during the 1949-50 season before joining several senior leagues post-retirement.

Before becoming a Ranger, he played three seasons in the Junior Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) with the Toronto Native Sons from 1937 to 1940, and played his first season as a professional in 1940-41 with the Baltimore Orioles of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL). He was drafted overseas during the Second World War, missing the 1943-45 seasons.

Upon his release, Webster played for several minor league teams until he found himself skating for the New York Rangers for the 1949-50 season, earning two minor penalties but no points.

A broken wrist sustained against Detroit sent him back to the minors, playing for teams including the Cincinnati Mohawks and Syracuse Warriors, before shifting to senior hockey with the Stouffville Clippers and the Willowdale Rangers for a couple seasons in the early 1960s while living in Richmond Hill. He moved with his family to Mattawa in 1970, where he has remained.

Webster, whose late younger brother, Don, played for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1943-44 season, later played with an old-timer’s Legion team in Mattawa until he was 75.

Though he recently gave up his licence due to a lingering ankle injury from his hockey days, Webster remains independent and can still be found shovelling snow, his son said.

“The biggest thing he enjoys is talking to someone he’s played with because there aren’t too many guys around,” Rob said, adding his dad shuns attention and prefers media comments regarding his new title to go through his son. “They just lived for the game and were just trying to make a living. Different people had told Dad he was the second oldest living NHLer after Milt. He doesn’t associate this with his playing career. He doesn’t understand why this is such a big deal just because he got old.”

But Rob’s thoughts differ, noting he can see the significance, albeit bittersweetly.

“It means someone like Milt Schmidt has to pass on,” he said.

Hockey historian Eric Zweig, who spent quite a bit of time digging to find Schmidt’s successor, said he’s positive Webster is now the oldest living NHL player.

“There is no doubt in my mind it’s him,” he said.

Though Webster’s name might not draw immediate recognition like Schmidt’s, NHL player longevity is something hockey aficionados would keep track of, he said.

“It’s a quirky human interest story."

John 'Chick' Webster now oldest living ex-NHL player

News Jan 06, 2017 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

John ‘Chick’ Webster jokes his biggest hockey record is just living this long.

With the passing of hockey Hall-of-Famer Milt Schmidt Wednesday, Jan. 4 at age 98, Webster has inherited the distinction of being the presumed oldest living former NHL player.

The Mirror profiled the 96-year-old Mattawa resident in July when he was searching for the boys he played with on the Willowdale Rangers in the 1960s.

“He was getting lots of attention (Wednesday),” said Webster’s son, Rob. “It’s kind of a sad progression. That era (of players) is almost gone.”

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Webster — who got his nickname for his love of Chiclets — played 14 games with the New York Rangers during the 1949-50 season before joining several senior leagues post-retirement.

Before becoming a Ranger, he played three seasons in the Junior Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) with the Toronto Native Sons from 1937 to 1940, and played his first season as a professional in 1940-41 with the Baltimore Orioles of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL). He was drafted overseas during the Second World War, missing the 1943-45 seasons.

Upon his release, Webster played for several minor league teams until he found himself skating for the New York Rangers for the 1949-50 season, earning two minor penalties but no points.

A broken wrist sustained against Detroit sent him back to the minors, playing for teams including the Cincinnati Mohawks and Syracuse Warriors, before shifting to senior hockey with the Stouffville Clippers and the Willowdale Rangers for a couple seasons in the early 1960s while living in Richmond Hill. He moved with his family to Mattawa in 1970, where he has remained.

Webster, whose late younger brother, Don, played for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1943-44 season, later played with an old-timer’s Legion team in Mattawa until he was 75.

Though he recently gave up his licence due to a lingering ankle injury from his hockey days, Webster remains independent and can still be found shovelling snow, his son said.

“The biggest thing he enjoys is talking to someone he’s played with because there aren’t too many guys around,” Rob said, adding his dad shuns attention and prefers media comments regarding his new title to go through his son. “They just lived for the game and were just trying to make a living. Different people had told Dad he was the second oldest living NHLer after Milt. He doesn’t associate this with his playing career. He doesn’t understand why this is such a big deal just because he got old.”

But Rob’s thoughts differ, noting he can see the significance, albeit bittersweetly.

“It means someone like Milt Schmidt has to pass on,” he said.

Hockey historian Eric Zweig, who spent quite a bit of time digging to find Schmidt’s successor, said he’s positive Webster is now the oldest living NHL player.

“There is no doubt in my mind it’s him,” he said.

Though Webster’s name might not draw immediate recognition like Schmidt’s, NHL player longevity is something hockey aficionados would keep track of, he said.

“It’s a quirky human interest story."

John 'Chick' Webster now oldest living ex-NHL player

News Jan 06, 2017 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

John ‘Chick’ Webster jokes his biggest hockey record is just living this long.

With the passing of hockey Hall-of-Famer Milt Schmidt Wednesday, Jan. 4 at age 98, Webster has inherited the distinction of being the presumed oldest living former NHL player.

The Mirror profiled the 96-year-old Mattawa resident in July when he was searching for the boys he played with on the Willowdale Rangers in the 1960s.

“He was getting lots of attention (Wednesday),” said Webster’s son, Rob. “It’s kind of a sad progression. That era (of players) is almost gone.”

Related Content

Webster — who got his nickname for his love of Chiclets — played 14 games with the New York Rangers during the 1949-50 season before joining several senior leagues post-retirement.

Before becoming a Ranger, he played three seasons in the Junior Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) with the Toronto Native Sons from 1937 to 1940, and played his first season as a professional in 1940-41 with the Baltimore Orioles of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL). He was drafted overseas during the Second World War, missing the 1943-45 seasons.

Upon his release, Webster played for several minor league teams until he found himself skating for the New York Rangers for the 1949-50 season, earning two minor penalties but no points.

A broken wrist sustained against Detroit sent him back to the minors, playing for teams including the Cincinnati Mohawks and Syracuse Warriors, before shifting to senior hockey with the Stouffville Clippers and the Willowdale Rangers for a couple seasons in the early 1960s while living in Richmond Hill. He moved with his family to Mattawa in 1970, where he has remained.

Webster, whose late younger brother, Don, played for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1943-44 season, later played with an old-timer’s Legion team in Mattawa until he was 75.

Though he recently gave up his licence due to a lingering ankle injury from his hockey days, Webster remains independent and can still be found shovelling snow, his son said.

“The biggest thing he enjoys is talking to someone he’s played with because there aren’t too many guys around,” Rob said, adding his dad shuns attention and prefers media comments regarding his new title to go through his son. “They just lived for the game and were just trying to make a living. Different people had told Dad he was the second oldest living NHLer after Milt. He doesn’t associate this with his playing career. He doesn’t understand why this is such a big deal just because he got old.”

But Rob’s thoughts differ, noting he can see the significance, albeit bittersweetly.

“It means someone like Milt Schmidt has to pass on,” he said.

Hockey historian Eric Zweig, who spent quite a bit of time digging to find Schmidt’s successor, said he’s positive Webster is now the oldest living NHL player.

“There is no doubt in my mind it’s him,” he said.

Though Webster’s name might not draw immediate recognition like Schmidt’s, NHL player longevity is something hockey aficionados would keep track of, he said.

“It’s a quirky human interest story."