Sault Legends: Joe Klukay


As asked for last week, this week’s Sault Legend is 4-time Stanley Cup winner, Joe Klukay.

Klukay played nearly 600 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins during the 1940s and ’50s.

Coming out of the depression years he played hockey for the Junior B Rapids in 1937.

He went on to play for the Greyhounds and the Stratford Kroehlers before suiting up for one playoff game with the Maple Leafs in 1943.

During World War II he served in the Canadian Navy where but continued to play hockey with the Toronto and Cornwall Navy hockey detachments.

Klukay played a season in the AHL with the Pittsburgh Hornets in 1945-46 and scored 26 goals for 49 points in just 57 games. That was his ticket to a full-time contract with the Leafs.

He was teamed up with linemate Nick Metz and became the league’s most effective penalty killing duo on a team.

Being led first by Syl Apps and then Teeder Kennedy, Toronto won three consecutive Stanley Cups from 1947 to 1949. Klukay also spent some time working left wing for centre Max Bentley.

“The Duke of Paducah” they started calling him. He made history when he played on the Maple Leafs when they won the Cup in 1951 on Bill Barilko’s overtime goal.

He played one more season. Klukay was sold to the Boston Bruins.

In 1953-54 he scored 20 goals for the first time in his NHL career.


Early in the 1954-55 season, the Bruins were in dire straits and Conn Smythe agreed to send defenceman Leo Boivin to Boston in return for Klukay.

During the last part of the season, Klukay worked with Tod Sloan and George Armstrong. He played 18 games the next year before his NHL career concluded.

He went back to the AHL with the Pittsburgh Hornets scoring over 20 goals for 50 points in just 47 games but the team folded the nest season.

Klukay was soon recruited by George Gee who needed a veteran to play for the senior Windsor Bulldogs.

He played several years there earning a point a game or close to that, and won the Allan Cup under coach Harry Watson before retiring in 1963. He was a player-coach in 1961-62 and he took over as head coach in 1963.

Klukay passed away in 2006. Rest in peace Joe, #8.