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Former Blackhawks forward Earl Balfour passes away at age 85

Balfour, a member of the Blackhawks 1961 Stanley Cup Champions, has died

by Bob Verdi / Team Historian

Earl Balfour, a member of the Blackhawks' 1961 Stanley Cup Champions, has died. He was 85.

Balfour was a defensive forward who specialized in killing penalties. He began his brief National Hockey League career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but was claimed by the Blackhawks in the intra-league draft in June, 1958. After several years of struggling, the Blackhawks were building a solid roster that would include Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Glenn Hall.

Balfour, nicknamed "Spider", played in 208 games over three seasons for the Blackhawks, scoring 16 goals. He played all 12 playoff games during their magical 1961 run that included a significant upset of the Montreal Canadiens, who had won five consecutive Cups but were eliminated by the Blackhawks in the semi finals. The Blackhawks went on to win the Cup against the Detroit Red Wings.

Two months after that, the Boston Bruins claimed Balfour, but he did not play again in the NHL. After his reinstatement as an amateur, he was player-coach with the Galt Hornets of the Ontario Hockey Association. He later played with the Toronto Marlboros, where he began his hockey career.

According to a family remembrance published in the Toronto Star, Balfour was father of nine children: Penny, Peggy, Patti, Paul, Peter, Pamela, Piper, Patrick and Parker.

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