A hockey hero from Dresden lost his battle with cancer over the weekend.
Ken Houston, who played nine seasons in the National Hockey League, died peacefully at home on Saturday, March 10, with his family by his side.
He was 64.
Houston was the son of Lyle and Marilyn Houston of Chatham. He was the beloved husband of Susan Houston and predeceased by Barbara Houston in 1994.
He was the loving father of Nicole Myers, Andrea Timmers and Brian Houston.
He was the grandpa of Braydon Houston, Sidney Myers, Ethan Timmers, the late Justin Timmers (2012), Kelsie Timmers, and Arie Timmers. He is also survived by his two brothers Mike and Doug.
Houston played junior hockey with both the Dresden Kings and the Chatham Maroons.
His professional hockey career started after he was drafted by the Atlanta Flames in the 1973 NHL Entry Draft.
He made a name for himself as rookie when he fought with Philadelphia’s Dave Schultz.
During the scrap, Houston injured Schultz’s jaw and forced him out of the game.
He played seven seasons for the Flames, including two after the team relocated to Calgary.
He was traded to the Washington Capitals in the 1981–82 NHL season. He played there until October 1983 when he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
He retired at the end of the 1983–84 NHL season.
In 570 career NHL games Houston scored 161 goals and had 167 assists for 328 points.
He also recorded 624 penalty minutes.
In 35 career NHL playoff games Houston scored 10 goals and added 9 assists for 19 career playoff points. He also had 66 penalty minutes in those 35 games.
In 1997, Houston was inducted as an inaugural member of the Dresden Sports Hall of Fame.
Many people in the community posted tributes online for Houston, including the Dresden Junior Kings.
“The Dresden Jr. Kings are saddened by the news of the loss of former player Ken Houston,” the team posted.
“He will be truly missed by the community of Dresden and all of those who looked up to him and lives that he touched. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Another former NHL player from Dresden Jeff Jackson said that he couldn’t wait for Houston to come home each off season to play grass hockey.
“Ken was my hero,” Jackson tweeted.
“He was our inspiration in Dresden and is the main reason we believed we could make it to the NHL. Rest In Peace big man.”
— NHL Alumni (@NHLAlumni) 11 March 2018
Ken Houston RIP condolences to his family pic.twitter.com/dsScn6PmFo
— Balker (@LBalkwillSr) 11 March 2018
— Bo Murray (@bobbywmurray) 11 March 2018
A visitation is being held on Thursday, March 15, at the McKinlay Funeral Home, 459 St. Clair Street, Chatham from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Houston’s funeral is being held on Friday at 12 p.m. at the John D. Bradley Centre, 565 Richmond Street, Chatham.
A private family interment is being held in the Dresden Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Houston’s family is asking for donations to be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.