Center Len Lunde was a solid playmaker and checker on four different NHL clubs. A top scorer in junior, he produced impressive offensive numbers in the minors, WHA, and Finnish Elite League.
Born in Campbell River, B.C., Lunde played junior with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WCJHL. The Detroit Red Wings' prospect remained in the city and turned pro with the WHL's Flyers. After scoring 39 goals for the club in 1957-58, the parent club deemed he was worthy of a shot at the NHL.
The steady pivot scored 14 goals as a rookie and was a solid regular through the end of the 1960-61 season. After helping the Wings reach the final in 1961, Lunde spent more time in the minors than the NHL the next season. In June 1962 he was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks and scored 28 points playing on a checking line with Eric Nesterenko and Ron Murphy.
Beginning in 1963-64, Lunde was chiefly a minor leaguer over the next few seasons. He did play a handful of games for the Hawks, Minnesota North Stars, and Vancouver Canucks but saw most of his ice time as an offensive sparkplug in the AHL, WHL, and CHL. His best year was 1964-65 when he scored 50 goals for the AHL's Buffalo Bisons and was voted on to the league's first all-star team.
Lunde spent the 1971-72 season as a top scorer in Finland with Ilves Tampere. The next year, he stayed on with the club as its head coach before returning to play one last season in North America. He spent his last year in the game with the WHA's Edmonton Oilers and went out on a high note with 26 goals. He then worked for two years as the head of the hockey program on a native reserve near Edmonton. Lunde later coached in Sweden and was a scout for the Edmonton Oilers in Sweden and Finland. Part of his responsibility was monitoring the progress of young talents Esa Tikkanen and Jari Kurri.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame