Earl Heiskala

Meet Earl Heiskala, one of the original Broad Street Bullies.

Though he was gone before the glory, or should we say gory days of the Philadelphia Pugilists, Heiskala was one of the few original tough guys in the Flyers lineup in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Flyers actually started to build their team around little but skilled players like Andre Lacroix, Simon Nolet and Jim Johnson. Heiskala was the resident tough guy.

Heiskala played his junior hockey with the Hamilton Red Wings until 1963. He then bounced around the minor league circuit before finding a home with the WHL Seattle Totems. He spent three years in Seattle, from 1965 through 1968. By his third year he had established himself as a player to be reckoned with, as he scored 26 goals while accumulating a league high 157 PIM.

Heiskala's boss in Seattle was Keith Allen. The same Keith Allen would leave Seattle when the NHL expanded into Philadelphia. It was Allen who showed good faith in Heiskala, and by the 1968-69 season had acquired him to play with Philadelphia.

Allen and coach Vic Stasiuk believed in the young left wingers potential, but never saw it realized at the NHL level. His best showing was in 1969-70 when, often playing with Garry Peters and Dick Cherry, he scored 8 goals and 15 points plus 171 PIM. However #19 was criticized for not contributing enough in terms of tangible on- ice performance to warrant his high penalty minutes, and became a spare part in 1970-71.

For whatever reason, Heiskala never seemed to get along with members of the Boston Bruins. On October 13th, 1968 he fought Derek Sanderson AND Ken Hodge. The following season Heiskala got into it with none other than Bobby Orr. After a bit of a high sticking duel, five minute majors were handed to both participants, though the linesmen got in the way too early for a true fight.

Part way through that 19 70-71 season Earl was demoted to the minors, where he'd spend a year and a half in the minors with the San Diego Gulls. Earl loved the California sunshine, and jumped at a chance to return to major league hockey when the WHA Los Angeles Sharks offered him a contract. He spent a year and a half in the WHA before the Sharks tried to trade him to New York. He never did play for that team, and instead stayed in sunny California.


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