MONTREAL – Montreal native Thomas Connell Broden, better known as “Connie”, who died in Toronto on Saturday at the age of 81, twice had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup as a member of the Montreal Canadiens but secured his place in hockey history on the international scene as the only man to have played on both an IIHF World Championship and Stanley Cup squad in the same year.
After playing his junior hockey in his home town, Broden turned professional with the 1952-53 Cincinnati Mohawks of the International League, an affiliate club of the Canadiens. The 5-foot-8-inch centre scored 29 goals that season and 32 the next as the Mohawks captured the IHL Championship in both 1953 and 1954.
1954-55 saw him play closer to home, with the Quebec Hockey League's Shawinigan Cataractes. Leading his team in scoring with 62 points, Broden became a champion for the third consecutive season when the Cataractes won the QHL title. The team also won the Edinburgh Trophy, donated a year earlier by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to be awarded to the world's top minor professional team. Broden was also declared the circuit's top rookie, receiving the William Northey Award.
During his three seasons in Shawinigan Broden was called up to the big club on a couple of occasions. He played three regular season games on the 1955-56 schedule and was added to the roster for playoff depth in the spring on 1957, making a half-dozen postseason appearances, registering an assist along the way and earning his first mention on Lord Stanley's Cup.
Acquired by the American Hockey League's Springfield Indians in the 1957 inter-league draft Broden – like many players picked up by controversial Springfield owner Eddie Shore – never suited up for the AHL side, and Montreal bought his rights back that fall.
Regaining his amateur status, Broden's next stop was a town that is now on the outskirts of Toronto called Whitby, where he played for a senior team sponsored by the Dunlop Rubber Company. Managed by Wren Blair – who would later discover and deliver a youngster named Bobby Orr to the Boston Bruins organization – and coached by former Maple Leaf star Sid Smith, another redeemed amateur. The Dunlops also featured a 24-year-old defenceman named Harry Sinden, who would also go on to have more than a little success in the game of hockey.
After capturing the Allan Cup, emblematic of senior hockey supremacy in Canada, the Whitby Dunlops were designated Canada's entry in the 1958 World Championships to be held in Oslo, Norway.
Canada, dethroned at the 1956 Olympics in Helsinki by the Soviet Union, had withdrawn from the following year’s World Championship tournament to protest the Soviet invasion of Hungary and was determined to reclaim what the country saw as their due, world hockey supremacy.
The 14-match pre-tournament exhibition tour that took the Dunlops through England, Germany, Norway and Sweden finished with the Canadians taking every meeting and scoring 162 goals while their opposition totalled only 18.
The Canadians also romped through the World Championship, winning all seven games, three by shutout. They registered a total of 78 goals, while goalkeeper Roy Edwards only let eight pucks find the back of his net.
Broden potted a dozen goals along the way and added seven assists to lead all scorers in the 1958 World Championship. The biggest of his goals came in the gold medal game against the Soviets. With the teams deadlocked, Broden's marker gave the Canadians a 2-1 lead in a match that finished 4-2.
Six weeks later the Canadiens came calling once again and once again Broden answered. He played in three regular season games, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist. Dressed for a single playoff game, he did not make it to the score sheet, but since it was in the final series, it resulted in a second mention on the Stanley Cup.
A graduate of Loyola College, now part of Concordia University, Broden studied during his QHL years and enjoyed a long and successful career in the business world, occupying a number of executive positions with the Molson Brewery and working in several cities across Canada.
Cornell “Connie” Broden was born in Montreal on April 6th, 1931. He died in Toronto on November 23rd, 2013.