Happy birthday to …
Cliff “Fido” Purpur: One of the first great American hockey players, Purpur played 26 games for the Capitals in 1944-45, with eight goals and 14 assists. He also had a goal and two assists in five postseason games. That came near the end of a long career that was primarily played in the American Hockey Association — which was, briefly, a rival to the NHL. He played 14 pro seasons, nearly all in the AHA. His best years came with the St. Louis Flyers from 1935-41, where he had four straight 20-goal seasons from 1937-41. Purpur played in the NHL with the St. Louis Eagles in 1934-35, and then played with the Blackhawks from 1941-45 before being dealt to the Red Wings during the 1944-45 season. He was the first North Dakota native to play in the NHL. He did not suit up in a regular season game for the Wings, but did play seven games in the 1945 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He retired after playing the 1946-47 season for the St. Paul Saints of the old USHL. He is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, inducted in 1974. He later coached high school hockey in his hometown and was head coach of the University of North Dakota hockey team. A native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, he was born in 1914. He passed away in 2001 at age 86.
Don Chiz: Left wing for the Capitols team in 1963. Chiz was the team’s leading scorer during its eight-game sojurn in Indianapolis, with five goals and one assist. He finished the year with 21 goals and 26 assists in 58 games, adding in the contests played as the Cincinnati Wings. He played nine professional seasons in the Western, American and Central Hockey Leagues, tallying two 20-goal years in 1963-64 and 1965-66 with Seattle. A native of Edmonton, he is 76.
Wes George: Left wing for the Racers for nine games in the short-lived 1978 season. He had four goals and two assists. He was picked by the Red Wings in the seventh round of the 1978 NHL Draft, but played just 12 WHA games — nine for the Racers and three for Edmonton — in 1978-79. A native of Young, Sask., he is 58.