In the 1942-43 season, the Oshawa Generals advanced to the Memorial Cup for the fifth time in six seasons. The team was led by such players as Floyd “Busher” Curry, who would go on to win four Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in his 10-season NHL career, and Bill Ezinicki, winner of three Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Albert “Red” Tilson was another star on that Generals team. He won the OHA scoring championship that season with 19 goals and 38 assists for 57 points, helping to lead the Generals to the Eastern Canadian Championship before they lost in the Cup Finals to the Winnipeg Rangers.
Following that season, Tilson, with what looked like a long promising career in hockey ahead of him, enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. In October 1944, Tilson was killed in action in Holland. The Generals have won four Memorial Cups and have produced hundreds of players who have gone on to carers in pro hockey, many of them in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But, the honour of the first banner going up in the new arena was reserved for Tilson, with his number 9 being raised to the roof before the November 12th, 2006 game.
A very special ceremony was held before the game to honour all of Canada’s veterans on the day after Remembrance Day, with Tilson’s banner being raised at its conclusion.
Fans on the OHL will recognize the name Red Tilson as the one on the trophy given to the Most Valuable Player in the OHL each year. The Red Tilson Trophy is now permanently displayed in the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame in memory of a true Canadian hero.
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