Thursday, February 5, 2009

Guyle Fielder, All-Time Great

Guyle Fielder played a mere six games for the Wings in 1957-58, yet he still garnered a card in that year's Topps set. These were six of his fifteen career NHL games over a seven year period without notching a single point.
In 1957/58 with the Seattle Totems, Fielder had tallied the first ever 100 point season in hockey history with 122 in 69 games. Detroit traded for him that summer but wasn't giving him ice-time, seeing as the minimum NHL contract of $7,500 was the same he made in Seattle he went back to the WHL. In 62 games with the Totems he had 111 points, then 119 the following year. The Western Hockey League was a professional league just about on par with the AHL. Most teams had players affiliated directly with NHL clubs, and in fact Fielder himself had in 1953 won the AHL rookie of the year award in his only season in that circuit.
In total, Guyle Fielder would play 21 seasons in the WHL, mainly with Seattle along with his one AHL year. From 1951/52 through 1972/73 he played 1430 regular season games scoring an amazing 1854 points. Among these points were 1441 assists, over one per game played for his entire career. In total he was named to 13 first or second All-Star teams and named MVP six times.
In a recent article in The Seattle P.I. newspaper by Dan Raley, Fielder is quoted, "I kind of doubt I could do it on that level (NHL), but I would have liked to had more time to see that style," he said. "It never happened. But I wasn't going to sit around."
Said Bill McFarland, former Totems player and coach and WHL president, "It's totally mind-boggling to me he couldn't play in the NHL and not be a great player in the NHL."

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