The life and hockey career of Bill Juzda was every bit as colourful as his nickname “The Beast”. A hockey journey that began in 1938 with the Elmwood Junior Maple Leafs saw success through Junior, AHL, NHL, Intermediate and Senior levels. In addition to realizing the dream of a professional hockey career, Juzda flew airplanes in the Second World War, and later drove locomotives for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
In 1939-40, he played junior with the Kenora Thistles and went to the Memorial Cup. The following season Juzda played with the Philadelphia Ramblers and was picked up by the NHL’s New York Rangers for the playoffs. He stuck with the big club for the 1941-42 season before he heeded the call of his country for armed service. During the war he played for the R.C.A.F. Hockey Team and lost a bid for the Allan Cup in playoff. Following the war he joined New Haven and was drafted by the Rangers in 1946-47. The next season he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he stayed until 1951 and won two Stanley Cups.
In 1952 Juzda played for the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL and was an all-star selection. Upon returning to Winnipeg he played for the Maroons and twice lost in the finals of the Allan Cup; once in 1955, they lost to the Penticton Vees in the western final (the Vees went on to win the World Championship). The Maroons settled for a tour of Czechoslovakia where veterans still refer to a bone-rattling body check as a “Juzda”. The mid-fifties saw stints with Brandon and Pine Falls in Intermediate hockey and Juzda played Old-timers’ hockey well into his 70’s.
Coaching was also natural to Juzda. He coached all levels of hockey from midget to senior. One of the hardest hitters the game has ever known, he took great pride in earning that reputation while taking an absolute minimum of high-sticking penalties. An exceptional all-round athlete, Bill Juzda excelled at track & field, soccer and football as well.
b. October 29, 1920