Carl Cirullo’s competitive nature didn’t subside when he stopped playing hockey.
Friends remember a hockey game in which Cirullo, serving as Spokane’s trainer, couldn’t tolerate the officiating any longer and took to the ice to throw a few punches.
“He was a hard-nosed, no-nonsense type of guy,” said George Talotti, who played for the Spokane Jets and Flyers from 1967-78 while Cirullo was the trainer.
Cirullo, who played for the Flyers from 1948-58 before serving more than two decades as trainer for the Jets, Flyers and Chiefs, died of lung cancer Thursday in Spokane. He was 87 years old.
“He was one of the top legends of hockey in Spokane,” said Don Scherza, who played with the Jets from 1965-74. … “Carl was basically a good, steady trainer who never interfered with the coach or general manager even though he had a lot of hockey experience.”
Cirullo, born in Drumheller, Alberta, came to Spokane in 1948.
His first Flyers team won the United States National Senior Championships.
Cirullo amassed 138 goals and 146 assists during his time with Spokane, which was interrupted for two years as he served in the U.S. Army. When the Flyers turned professional in 1958, Cirullo played two seasons of senior hockey in British Columbia.
At age 36, Cirullo signed a contract to play with the Jets but was released 10 games into the season.
His career as a trainer began with the Jets in 1964.
During the 1970s, Cirullo coached the Spokane Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for one season and helped form the Spokane Oldtimers Hockey Association.
He is a member of the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame’s Scroll of Honor.