This is Allan Hamilton. Hammy. Born in Flin Flon, he wore number 3 for the Oil Kings and a decade later the Oilers. He was pretty famous at age 17 when he had a very good Memorial Cup tournament (1964: 19gp, 4-8-12). He became famous, and for a time was compared to Bobby Orr when both were juniors, although Orr comparisons are unfair to mortals then (and now). He played in the ’64, ’65 and ’66 Memorial Cups, winning in 1966 and was the main cog in the machine. Newspaper stories from the Memorial Cups in those years would inevitably mention Hamilton and his overall game. He was an outstanding junior player.
The Rangers liked him enough to play him in 4 games as a teenager, and by 68-69 he looked ready for the show. New York had a veteran group at that time on the blueline (Harry Howell was older than dirt, Jim Neilson and Wayne Hillman were established veterans and Arnie Brown and Rod Seiling were getting there) and even though he was quality and next in line, Hamilton lost his job to the very talented Brad Park in fall 1968.
He did play 16 games in the show in 68-69, and then played 59 for the Rangers in 69-70 (this was back in the days of 5 defenders, so there were 60 NHL defenseman at any given time in 1970).
Hamilton was grabbed quickly by Punch Imlach and the Buffalo Sabres in the 1970 Expansion Draft. He played two fine seasons in Buffalo before the WHA arrived and he signed with Edmonton (well actually the Alberta Oilers).
Al Hamilton and Jim Harrison were the famous Oilers for that first season. They were good players, good enough to play regular shifts in the NHL of 71-72. Every WHA city had guys who gave instant credibility to the new league, and Allan Hamilton was certainly a “name” in this town before he’d played a minute for the Oilers. His Oil King connection helped, but he was the real deal.
And he delivered. Although Hamilton was more defense than offense (as a pro) he could move the puck, and finished second in scoring for the Oilers of 72-73 (Harrison’s 86 points led the team, Hamilton’s 61 points coming in second. Hamilton did lead the team in assists, 50, and in pims). He played 7 WHA seasons and 1 NHL season in Edmonton before retiring due to injury.
Some items of interest:
- CPHL Second All-Star Team (1967)- Serge Savard was also 2nd team
- WHA Second All-Star Team (1974)
- Played in 3 games for Canada in the 1974 Summit Series against the Soviet Union
- WHA First All-Star Team (1978)
Hamilton was a heart and soul guy, a leader. A Jason Smith type, a little more offense and a few more injuries. Hamilton suffered an eye injury in 1978, and still managed to play the rest of that season plus playoffs even though he couldn’t pass the eye exam (he cheated) and played for a portion of Edmonton’s first NHL season in 79-80.
Stats don’t really tell the story of Al Hamilton. Like many junior defensemen he didn’t bring all of his offense from junior, but he was a valuable player who career stats are hurt because of the eye injury and his early retirement.