Leafs legend Fritz Koehle passes away

Koehle coached the team to its only Cyclone Taylor Cup championship

One of the greatest players and coaches in the history of the Nelson Leafs has died.

Frederick George Koehle, who was known as Fritz after his mother gave him the nickname as a child, played 14 seasons for the then Maple Leafs between 1948 to 1964. He later became the team’s head coach, and led the Leafs to their only Junior B championship at the Cyclone Taylor Cup during the 1967-68 season.

Koehle passed away April 26 at the age of 89.

He was born in Regina, but spent his childhood in Trail where he was the stick boy for the city’s 1944 championship-winning AAA Junior B.C. team.

Koehle and his family, which included brothers Red, Bob and Gerry, moved to Nelson in 1942. He joined the Leafs six years later and played with Red and Gerry. The highlight of Koehle’s playing days was a five-goal performance against Trail in 1960. He was also named the Western International Hockey League’s most valuable player in 1961.

In a 2012 interview with the Star, Koehle said his favourite season as a player was 1953-54 when the Leafs lost an eight-game series against Penticton.

“We could have won just as easy as lost,” he says. “That was, I think, the year I loved best.”

Koehle left the Leafs’ roster to join the family’s sheet metal and heating business. But three years later he re-joined the Leafs as coach and won the Cyclone Taylor in his rookie season behind the bench. He stayed on through the 1970-71 season, and returned for a second stint between 1974-76.

Koehle’s former teammates James (Shorty) Malacko and Dominic (Mickey) Maglio also both passed away in December.

— With files from Greg Nesteroff.

Nelson Leafs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Koehle can be seen in the front row, third from the right, in this Maple Leafs team photo taken in 1954. Photo courtesy of Bill McDonnell

(L-R) Former Leafs teammates Dominic (Mickey) Maglio, James (Shorty) Malacko, Lee Hyssop and Fritz Koehle. Photo courtesy of Bill McDonnell

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Child care severely lacking in Kaslo, says new study

Report says Kaslo needs 10 times the current number of available spaces

Province offers support to safeguard Kootenay fruit pickers

All seasonal fruit pickers will need to take an online COVID-19 awareness course

Nelson Air Cadets receive promotions and awards

The squadron has been operating virtually since March

LETTER: High Street decision disappointing

From reader Tanya Skok Hobbs

Selkirk College offering employees voluntary resignations

The college is canvassing employees for those who may want some time off or reduced work loads

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read