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

Just Posted

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

West Kootenay SPCA hopes you’ll have a heart for Cupid

Cat who tangled with a bobcat seeking a permanent home

Leafs, Nitehawks to decide division title Saturday

The regular season ends in Nelson with both teams tied on points

Nelson Nordic Ski Club fundraising for new groomer

The club’s current machine is beginning to break down

Martial Arts for Justice aims to help 500 genocide survivors in Rwanda in 2020

The Nelson-based charity has also debuted its own YouTube channel

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Most Read