Monday, March 7, 2011

Rudy Filion - "Ol' Smoother" - Philadelphia Ramblers, Jersey Devils

Over the last few weeks I have been in touch with a member of the Rudy Filion extended family. Rudy was in hospice care. They were on a "jersey quest" to find one of Rudy's jerseys. Probably like a lot of players of that era, he never kept any.

I spent about three days last year trying to track down an EHL photo of Rudy, and it's hard to do that without getting a little attached to the person you're researching. Rudy has one of the best Points Per Game averages in EHL history. First of all he had 55 points in 27 games after arriving for the Ramblers in 1963-64. That's over 2 points a game! The Ramblers moved across the river to Jersey the next season. Rudy played two more seasons with the Devils, before hanging up the skates. He finished with 223 points in 153 EHL games.

Before coming to the EHL, Rudy was a major force in Seattle hockey for 15 years, scoring 869 points in 887 games, second most behind the famed Guyle Fielder. Rudy is a member of the Seattle Hockey Hall Of Fame. has a good PDF page on Rudy's career. It sounds as if he was pretty beloved. You can read about and see more pictures of Rudy in Jeff Obermeyer's book "Hockey in Seattle".

Back to the jerseys, Rudy wore number 9 during his two EHL seasons with the Jersey Devils. We don't know what number he wore with the Philadelphia Ramblers, yet. It wasn't #9, which was Art Hart. It also wasn't #6, which he preferred in Seattle, that was Wayne Caufield. If you happen to have a Filion jersey, let me know, and I can put you in touch with the Filion family. The good news is that they did find a jersey - Rudy's #6 from the Seattle Totems. Rudy had given it to his son, and it was just found, 30 years later.

The photo up top is from a Devils 1965-66 game program. The photo to the left is from the 1963-64 Philadelphia Ramblers Team Photo. Almost every shot I've seen of Rudy, he appears smiling and happy.

Here's Rudy's obituary and Guest Book from the Seattle Times:
Rudy FILION Age 83, born April 3, 1927 in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, died Feb. 25, 2011 following a long, courageous battle with cancer. A very bright student, Rudy graduated from high school early, and at the age of 16 joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. After a year of service he left home to begin his hockey career with the Tacoma Rockets. There he met and married the love of his life, his wife of 63 years, Ethel Gunnette.

Over the next 14 years he played for the Seattle Ironmen, Bombers, Americans and finished his playing career with the Seattle Totems. He then went on to scouting and retired from the NHL. During his career, he became known for his incredible sportsmanship, class and tenacity. He was honored on numerous occasions including a 'Rudy Filion Night' where he was recognized by his teammates, fans and the city. He was also a nominee for Man of the Year by the Seattle P.I

He was preceded in death by his wife Ethel. Survived by his son Ron Filion (Cheri), daughters Diane Mitchell and Cindy Burger (JP), 7 grandchildren and 1 great-grand child. Private burial will be held Fri. March 11. Friends of family are invited to attend a celebration of his life on March 12. For Celebration of Life info or to share a memory, please contact: