Blinky Boyce passes
- Obituary: Tuesday, July 2, 2002
The Spokesman Review, Spokane, Washington
Local Hockey Star Boyce Dies
WWII Hero Was Standouty on Comets, Jets in 1950s, '60s
Nelson "Blinky" Boyce, a former Spokane Jets amateur, and professional
hockey player, died Monday at the age of 78.
Boyce, a Spokane residenty since 1963, had been battling Alzheimer's disease
and suffered a heart attack last Tuesday.
Boyce, who stood just 5-fott-3, began his pro career in 1946 with the Omaha
Knights of the United States Hockey League. He played with the Western
Hockey League's Spokane Comets from 1958-60. His final season was with the
senior amateur Spokane Jets in 1963-64.
Boyce picked up his nickname when he played on the same line as Carl "Winky"
Smith and Ray "Nod" Powell in Omaha following World War II. "Blinky came her
in the twilight of his career," former Comets teammate Del Topoll said. "He
was a great playmaker. He was solid on his skates. To him an assist was just
as good as a goal."
Boyce served in the Canadian Army in World War II, fought in Sicily and
Italy and came home highly decorated.
"He had a hell of a war record," said friend and former opponent George
"Wingy" Johnston. "He ran right through Italy."
As a member of the New Westminster Royals of the WHL in 1955-56, Boyce
teamed with Gordy Fashoway and Bobby Love to form the top scoring line in
Along with being a talented hockey player, Boyce was an excellent golfer who
routinely shot in the 70s. He was also one of the top local softball
pitchers in the 1960s.
Although Boyce never played in the National Hockey League, he had his
Boyce was a farmhand with the Detroit Red Wings. When Gordie Howe, one of
Boyce's training camp teammates, came to town the first he was asked was,
Former NHL executitive Max McNab once sent him a greeting card with a note
that read "to the best right winger to never play in the NHL."
Boyce scored the game-winner in the Spokane Comets' first game, a 5-4
victory over Seattle, on October 11, 1958. He was the first team captain of
the amateur Jets.
Boyce suffered a shoulder injury that ended his career in 1963. He was the
Jets' general manager for the 1963-64 season.