Ron Stackhouse played hockey as a recreational sport, along with so many Haliburton County kids. It was a surprise to him when, at 16, he was encouraged to join a Junior B team in Chatham.
This was a golden opportunity but Ron missed his friends and family. He came home, finished high school and played with the Haliburton Huskies, Junior D team. It seemed like this was the end of his professional ambitions, until Roger Neilson, coach of the Peterborough Petes Junior A team, offered Ron a position. The tall eighteen year old soon led the Petes’ defencemen in scoring, and he was picked up by the California Seals, as a first round NHL draft pick.
From there, his impressive play as a rookie got him traded to the Detroit Red Wings. A surprise trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1974 was the beginning of his most productive years when he set a number of NHL scoring records.
Ron’s NHL career was filled with highlights, like the time he scored a breakaway goal in the 1980 All-Star game while playing with the legendary Gordie Howe. But he also remembers a change in the game he loved, when fans expected a brawl at every game. He preferred a thinking game, where positioning and skill were admired more than fighting.
Ron became a regular coach and mentor at the Haliburton Hockey Haven. He was a role model for many young hockey players, including Bernie Nicholls. After playing 889 regular season NHL games, Ron retired in 1982 and got his teaching degree. He moved back to Haliburton with his family and had a teaching career at the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School.
Many local youth have benefitted from his coaching and encouragement. He inspired a generation of athletes to achieve their own dreams.