Spokane hockey player Bodman dies at 75
Longtime Spokane hockey player and coach Buddy Bodman used to keep a hockey puck in his pocket during his coaching years – and it wasn’t for superstitious reasons.
“You’d throw it on the ice in case of a breakaway or if you got hemmed in your own end. If you only got caught one out of five times, what the hell,” Bodman told former Spokesman-Review reporter Howie Stalwick in a 1987 article.
Bodman – a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native – was known for that fiery persona on and off the ice. He left that legacy and many others behind as he died in his home on Wednesday morning in Spokane. He was 75.
Bodman, who came to Spokane in 1956, was the youngest of nine children and was raised by his mother following his father’s death when he was five years old. Bodman had five children with his wife, Judy, and worked for Tubbs Electric for many years
He played in all (or parts of) 14 seasons for Spokane’s trio of teams prior to the junior hockey era in Spokane. He played senior and minor-league pro hockey with the Spokane Flyers, Comets and Jets, and also coached for 11 years, including the senior Jets and three Spokane American junior B teams (Rockets, Flames and Braves).
Bodman was the first coach of the Western Hockey League major junior Flyers (now the Chiefs), resigning at Christmas shortly before the team folded after posting a 4-21-1 record.
Bodman, upon moving to Spokane in ’56, helped the senior Spokane Flyers become the first team from the United States to reach the Allan Cup finals. Thirteen years following that accomplishment – the 1969-70 season – Bodman helped the Spokane Jets become the first U.S. team to win the Allan Cup as North America’s senior hockey champions.
Bodman, known as a grinder and not a big-time goal scorer, was part of a 1995 ceremony which honored 40 years of hockey in the Spokane Coliseum.
Bodman was a favorite of former teammate Emile “The Cat” Francis.
In Spokane hockey historian Paul Delaney’s book, “Saturday Nights Were Special: A history of hockey in Spokane,” Delaney wrote, “One of Emile’s favorites in Spokane was gutsy corner man Buddy Bodman. ‘I always liked Buddy because he always had guts. He really worked in the corners. He’d take on anyone,’ ” Francis told Delaney.