Walter “Babe” Pratt was born in Stony Mountain, Manitoba. After his family moved to Winnipeg, Pratt was a participant in the early years of playground athletics and helped his team win the initial playground hockey trophy in the 1920’s. This was the first of a total of fifteen championship trophies that Pratt won during an amazing twenty-six year career in hockey.
As an amateur, Pratt won league titles with the Elmwood Maple Leafs and Kenora during the early 1930’s. In 1936, Pratt turned professional with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. His experience on the blueline was instrumental in the Rangers’ Stanley Cup victory in 1939-40 and Pratt was known as one of the hardest-hitting and stingiest defencemen in the league. During the championship season of 1941-42, Pratt and Ott Heller allowed just seventeen goals against through the forty-eight game schedule.
In November of 1942, Pratt was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. During the memorable 1943-44 season, Pratt was named to the first all-star team, became the first defenceman to assist on six goals in one game, and won the Hart Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player. His record of 57 points scored by a defenceman that season stood until 1965. He was also named to the second all-star team during his NHL career. His final Stanley Cup victory took place in 1945 and Pratt retired from competitive hockey in 1947. Walter “Babe” Pratt was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966 and remained active in hockey as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Vancouver Canucks Hockey Club as well as a colour commentator for the Vancouver broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada.
b. January 7, 1916
d. December 16, 1988