During an American Hockey League career that saw him play for five teams over a 20-year span, Noel Price was a reliable presence on the blue line for four Calder Cup champions, as well as a veteran leader and teacher that saw him claim the AHL’s top honor for a defenseman a record three times.
Price, from Brockville, Ont., made his American Hockey League debut as a 21-year-old rookie with the Rochester Americans in 1956-57, picking up a goal and an assist in his first game. In his first full AHL season, Price led Rochester’s defensemen in scoring with 24 points and also finished second in the entire league with 153 penalty minutes. After seeing time with the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers, Price spent two and a half seasons with the Springfield Indians and won back-to-back Calder Cup titles in 1960 and 1961 before being dealt to the Detroit Red Wings in 1962.
The durable defenseman missed just four games in his three seasons with the Baltimore Clippers from 1962-65, and he was named a Second Team AHL All-Star with the Quebec Aces in 1966. Expansion gave Price another chance to play in the NHL full-time, and he spent two years with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being picked up by the Los Angeles Kings.
Price had his best offensive season with Springfield in 1969-70, setting personal highs with 10 goals, 44 assists and 54 points while helping the Kings to the Calder Cup Finals. At age 34, Price was named a First Team AHL All-Star and won the Eddie Shore Award as the league’s outstanding defenseman.
After spending another full season back in the NHL with Los Angeles, Price began the 1971-72 campaign in Springfield before being acquired by the Montreal Canadiens. He spent the rest of the season with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs, where he helped mentor a 20-year-old rookie named Larry Robinson. Price would again earn the Eddie Shore Award as the Vees won the Calder Cup.
Price returned to the NHL with the expansion Atlanta Flames in 1972-73 and was instrumental in providing leadership to the fledgling franchise. He made one final run in the AHL with Nova Scotia in 1975-76 and won his third Eddie Shore Award and fourth Calder Cup championship. At age 40, Price was barely two months younger than Voyageurs head coach Al MacNeil, his teammate in Rochester two decades earlier.
Price finished with 378 points in 751 games for his AHL career.
|Career AHL Statistics – Noel Price|
|Nova Scotia Voyageurs||64||3||26||29||81||15||4||7||11||16|
|1975-76||Nova Scotia Voyageurs||73||2||37||39||55||8||0||7||7||12|