SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Jean Pusie
Jean Pusie as a Montreal Canadien
: Montreal, Quebec
6'0", 200 pounds
: April 1956 in Montreal at 43
As the NHL gears up for the Stanley Cup, let's take a minute and look at
the career of the only pro wrestler that we know of with his name engraved on
the storied Cup.
Jean Pusie won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1931, but
was never more than a journeyman wrestler, a curtain-jerker in Montreal
and Toronto. About his biggest accomplishment in the ring was getting a
Still, there's no doubting that he was a colourful character who can
proudly stand on his own in the same breath with Canadian eccentrics
like Mad Dog Vachon and Dave 'Wildman' McKigney.
In his obituary in April 1956, the Canadian news service said as much.
"The colourful young giant, who was six feet tall and weighed around 200
pounds, was generally conceded to make up in tempestuousness and
eccentricities what he lacked in athletic finesse and ability."
On the ice, Pusie had his success early in his career as a bit player on
the second Habs Stanley Cup, playing in just six regular season games.
From there, he bounced to a slew of teams in a series of now-defunct
leagues: Philadelphia Arrows (CAHL), Regina Capitals/Vancouver (WCHL),
Quebec Beavers (CAHL), London Tecumsehs (IHL), Boston Cubs (CAHL),
Providence Reds (IAHL), Cleveland Barons (IAHL), St.Louis Flyers (AHA),
Vancouver Lions (PCHL), Seattle Seahawks (PCHL) and the Fort-Worth
Rangers. He played another 54 games in the NHL for the New York Rangers,
Boston Bruins and a second-go-around with the Habs.
One newspaper report described him as a kind of wrestler-on-ice. "The
idiosyncrasies of this good natured big boy from Quebec lure the throng.
He goes on the ice with two or three days' beard on his chin. He stops
attacking players by leaping in the air, before he starts his rush at
Pusie did have skills, when he wasn't terrorizing opponents, starting
brawls threatening the fans, or being arrested for disturbing the peace.
One season in Vancouver in the Western Canada Hockey League, the
defenceman led the entire league in scoring with 30 goals and 22
He became a bit of a cult star with the Rangers, and the Madison Square
Gardens masses used to chant "We want Pusie-we want Pusie." He'd hit the
ice, cause chaos and end up back on the bench. There was even a poem
written about him in NYC. Here's part of it:
"When Pusie was an infant, hardly more dan t'ree days' old.
All Canada was shiv'ring in de winter's worsest cold.
But our hero kicked the covers from on top heem in hees cot,
And cried in lusty baritone: 'Cheeze 'ma, she's too dam hot.'"
Off the ice, he was equally colourful. In 1946, he was charged in
Montreal with being in possession of a revolver, threatening his
girlfriend with it. In the arraignment, Judge C. E. Guerin admonished
Pusie: "Chase after girls in the manner that pleases you, but do not
carry a revolver when you do so."
Besides a fling in pro wrestling, Pusie was also an occasional
professional boxer, semi-pro baseball player and lacrosse player. He
even announced plans to enter the Canadian National Exhibition's
marathon swim meet one year (though research has yet to determine if he
The final word we'll leave to the late Jim Coleman, the legendary
Canadian sportswriter who talks a little about Jean Pusie in his 1990
book Memoirs of a Sporting Life
(Key Porter Books):
"My final meeting with Jean Pusie came after he had abandoned hockey and
embraced professional wrestling. We met at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens
on a Thursday night when Pusie appeared in a preliminary bout on a
regular weekly wrestling card promoted by Frank Tunney.
"Late that night, the wrestlers and several members of the news media
were drinking in Tunney's suite of offices on the main floor Church
Street side of Maple Leaf Gardens. One of the wrestlers, Rudy Paytek,
was an accomplished accordionist and was entertaining his
fellow-wrestlers on the squeeze box as they waiting to be called into
Tunney's inner office to receive their individual shares of the night's
"Finally, from behind his office door, Tunney bawled out, 'Pusie!' As he
arose from his chair, Pusie tapped the accordion-player, Rudy Paytek, on
the shoulder. 'Come with me,' Pusie said to Paytek, 'I like to listen to
music while I'm getting screwed.'"
-- By GREG OLIVER, SLAM! Wrestling
, April 2001