SSHoF logoBill Orban

Athlete (2003)


Bill Orban Bill Orban scored 44 goals in his second season with the Saskatoon Quakers junior hockey team and then embarked on a 11-year professional career, which included three years in the National Hockey League and two championship seasons in the minors.

Bill was born in 1944 in Regina where he played his first minor hockey. While his family was living in Illinois from 1954 until 1957, Bill adopted speed skating. He won the Illinois state midget honors at 220 and 440 yards, went to the nationals, finished second overall in the North American midget division and was part of a winning American team against Canada.

The family settled in Saskatoon where one of his first experiences was with the Grade 8 softball team at St. Paul's high school. He played four seasons on St. Paul's high school football team, won the mile, 800 yards and shot put one season in track and field. His time with the St. Paul's high school and juvenile hockey teams proved to be a stepping stone to the Quakers.

He played two seasons, 1962-63 and 1963-64, with the Quakers and after scoring 44 goals and 55 assists and being selected to the Saskatchewan Junior League's second all-star team, he caught the attention of the pros. In his first season as a professional, he helped Fort Wayne Komets win the International League championship, contributing seven goals and six assists during the playoff run. Bill then joined Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League, where he won rookie of the year and best defensive player honors.

Bill broke into the National Hockey League with the Chicago Blackhawks in the fall of 1967, stayed with them for two seasons, and later played a year with the Minnesota North Stars. Considered a defensive specialist, he appeared in 114 NHL regular season games, scoring eight goals and 15 assists, and he also appeared in three Stanley Cup playoff games.

Among his most satisfying moments in hockey was in 1972 when the Springfield Kings won the American League's Calder Cup and Bill set a league record by scoring four goals in one playoff game.

He also played for minor professional teams in Cleveland, Iowa, Springfield, Portland, Tulsa and Dallas, and twice suffered seventh game heart-breaking losses. Iowa lost in the second overtime period of a seven-game playoff and Dallas lost in a third overtime period of a seventh game.

He retired at the end of the 1975 season.

Bill later played with the Saskatoon Old Pros, where he helped raise charity dollars; mostly for the Special Olympics program and his strongest community commitments have been through Special Olympics and the Ronald McDonald House. Bill dabbled in thoroughbred horse racing ownership and his sports participation also extended to golf, 10-pin bowling and skydiving as a member of the Canadian Sports Parachute Association.