Even as a player, Al Arbour distinguished himself from the rest of the National Hockey League. A defensive defenseman par excellence, the Sudbury, Ontario-born Arbour was at his best protecting his netminder by blocking shots, in spite of the fact he wore glasses while playing.
Signed by the Detroit Red Wings, Al joined the junior Windsor Spitfires just shy of his 17th birthday. The goaltender he protected there was Glenn Hall, while teammates included other future Red Wings Earl Reibel, Glen Skov and Eddie Stankiewicz. During his four seasons in Windsor, Al would also play with Cummy Burton, Don Cherry, Larry Hillman, John Muckler and Dennis Riggin.
After winning a WHL championship with the Edmonton Flyers in 1952-53, Arbour saw his first NHL action the next season, playing 36 games with the Red Wings in 1953-54. Although he saw no action during the playoffs that spring, Al got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup for the first time following the Wings' seven-game series with the Montreal Canadiens in the final.
During that dynastic era for Detroit, the Red Wings had a surplus of fine defenseman, with Warren Godfrey, Bob Goldham, Larry Hillman, Red Kelly and Marcel Pronovost all earning time on the blueline, and Arbour anxiously waited for his chance, biding his time predominantly with the Edmonton Flyers. In 1954-55, he was named to the WHL's Second All-Star Team, but it wasn't until the playoffs of 1955-56 that Al saw NHL action again.
By 1957-58, Arbour had finally cracked the Red Wings line-up full-time. But in June 1958, he was plucked from Detroit's line-up by Chicago in the Intra-League Draft. Shoring up the Black Hawks blueline, Al spent three seasons in Chicago, including a second Stanley Cup championship in 1961.
Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame