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Bep Guidolin, youngest to skate in NHL, dies at 82

Wednesday, 11.26.2008 / 8:10 PM / News

Associated Press

BARRIE, Ontario (AP) -Armand "Bep" Guidolin, who at 16 became the youngest player to skate in an NHL game and later coached Bobby Orr, has died. He was 82.

He died of a stroke at Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday night, his family said.

Guidolin was 16 years, 11 months when he made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins on Nov. 12, 1942. The Bruins needed help because of players serving in World War II.

He went on to play nine seasons in the NHL, finishing with 107 goals and 171 assists in 519 games with Boston, Detroit and Chicago.

"The first time I ever stepped onto the ice for the Boston Bruins, I knew that some day I wanted to be their coach," Guidolin said in a 1973 interview. "This feeling never left me, even after I was traded to Detroit and Chicago. Maybe it was only a kid's wild dream, but it stuck."

After his playing career ended in 1961, Guidolin turned to coaching and was behind the Oshawa Generals' bench when Orr starred for the junior club. He then had NHL coaching stops in Boston, where he coached Orr again, and Colorado. Guidolin also was coach and general manager of the Edmonton Oilers in the 1970s in the WHA.

"Hockey was his life," daughter Barb LeBlanc said. "He wouldn't stop talking about it, especially about his time with the Bruins. "He had that passion. When you were watching hockey with him, he'd criticize the players, but never the coaches, because he understands what they go through."

Guidolin was born in Thorold and raised in Timmins. He and Eleanor, his wife of 62 years, had four children.

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