Sault Legends: Don Grosso


Don “The Count” Grosso came out of the depression era and played over 300 NHL games in the 30s and 40s. He once led the playoffs in scoring and was credited by Jack Adams as being the reason the red line was invented.

Grosso was the first product from the Sault to play in the National Hockey League’s modern era of the game and was quickly followed by Joe Klukay.

During the Depression of the 30s he left the Sault to play hockey in Sudbury. Now at that time, to make the team, you had to take a job working underground in the mines.

He played on the Sudbury Junior Cub Wolves in 1935 along with Hec Pozzo from the Sault that narrowly lost to the Winnipeg Monarchs in the Memorial Cup final.

In the 1938-39 season the young forward joined the Detroit Red Wings and scored two points in his debut game. He also impressed with three points in three games in the semifinal loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 1940 Don was in Kirkland Lake to play senior hockey but left at Christmas to rejoin the Detroit Red Wings, centering a line with Sid Abel on left wing and Eddie Wares on right wing one year that finished first, second and fourth in the league.

After missing the first part of the 1939-40 season to injury, Grosso was a solid role player in his rookie season. After another year spent as a checker, he burst out with 23 goals in 1941-42 while playing with Eddie Wares and Sid Abel. During the post-season he was brilliant with 14 points in 12 matches while helping the Wings reach the finals. That year they blew a 3 games to 0 lead to Toronto but rebounded the next season to sweep Boston in the championship round. Once again Grosso was a top performer with four goals and some determined checking.

Don got more than a point per game in 1941-42 and 43-44 seasons with 39 goals and 61 assists in just 89 games for the two seasons. In 41-42 he made 8 goals and 6 assists in just 12 playoff games.

In total with Detroit he scored 71 goals and 99 assists in 231 regular season games and 15 goals and 14 assists in just 44 playoff games.

He went on to the Chicago Black Hawks, scoring 9 goals and 6 assists in 21 games that he split between there and Detroit.

He was dealt to the Chicago Black Hawks as part of the package for Earl Seibert. He was a solid two way performer for his new club but the Hawks were humiliated in the seminals by Montreal in 1946. A few weeks later the veteran forward was sent to the Boston Bruins for cash but was strictly a utility player before he was relegated to the minors. Grosso spent 2 1/2 years in the AHL including a 34-goal performance for the St. Louis Flyers in 1947-48. He coached the NOHA’s Soo Greyhounds for two years then came out of retirement for four games in 1951-52 before hanging up his skates for good.

He passed away in May 1985.