Chuck Henderson

Chuck Henderson

Portrait by Robert Howson

Born in Midland, Ontario in 1934, Chuck Henderson burst onto the hockey scene when he helped lead his local bantam team to the Ontario championship. Little did he know that he had caught the eye of a New York Rangers scout and it wasn’t long before he was signed to a professional contract by Rangers at the age of fourteen.

Soon he was off to Guelph to further hone his skills and eventually play for the Rangers top farm team, the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters. In his first year in the Royal City he suited up for the Junior B squad which sported an undefeated 20-0 record during the regular season. They would eventually lose to Barrie in the Ontario final.

Henderson was then ticketed to the Bitlmores for the 1951-52 season. The swift skating, hard working Henderson joined a team that would eventually send eight players to the National Hockey League, and two – Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell – to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Despite all this talent, Henderson was one of the team’s stars. Playing on a line with Ron Murphy and Kenny Laufman they set a single season points record for a line with 346 points between them, with Henderson tallying 41 goals and 50 assists.

The Midland native had a nifty scoring touch and was a tenacious back-checker playing hard at both ends of the ice. He helped lead the 51-52 Biltmores to Guelph’s first-ever Memorial Cup. The Mad Hatters knocked off the regular season champion Toronto Marlboros in six games in the semi-finals; the St. Catharines TeePees to win the OHA title in five games; then the Montreal Jr. Canadiens in six games to earn the right to play in the Memorial Cup. There, they steamrolled over the Regina Pats in four straight games, outscoring them 30-8, with Henderson scoring three of those goals.

Henderson later played intermediate and senior hockey before settling down in Guelph.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Athlete category – on May 18, 2016