Sadly, Balon passed away several years back, and it was way too early.
Balon was one of those guys who was never a star, but was a hard worker, a checker, and he shone in playoff situations, scoring key goals, and was put out often in key situations against the other teams’ stars. For every Jean Beliveau, a team needs a Dave Balon. He wore number 20, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s never gotten enough credit for what he did for the Montreal Canadiens. Tom Kostopoulos nowadays is a bit of a throwback in some ways to Balon.
Look how happy they look, especially his wife.
Ralph Backstrom and his wife Frances and kids. Isn’t she a sweetheart?
After Backstrom’s playing days were over, he ended up coaching the University of Denver team, and in 2003, founded the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League, which is where he’s at now.
Backstrom was always one of my favourite players. I even got a brushcut like his once. The guy personified the Montreal Canadien teams he played on – speedy, classy, and a beautiful skater.
People used to hope that he and Henri Richard would have a race because they were both considered the fastest skaters on the team.
And what a lovely wife he has.