Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Rene Boileau
Rene Boileau had a short seven-game NHL career with the New York Americans in 1925-26 but the memories would last a lifetime.

Back in the 1920's the NHL's New York Americans were usually tabbed as the city's "other NHL team" by the media and citizens of Gotham. The town was clearly owned by the Rangers who had won the hearts of most New Yorkers with their on-ice successes. The Americans tried numerous strategies and marketing ploys in an effort to build a larger fan base. They even took to entertaining the fans at games with intermission shows that included barrel jumping and dog-sled races on the ice. In 1926 the Americans came up with the innovation of putting the players' names on the back of their sweaters, something which did not become mandatory in the NHL until 1976.

The biggest marketing ploy no doubt came as a huge shock to Boileau, as he was at the very centre of it. The Americans' public relations department went completely over the top after the signing of Boileau to a contract. A January 22, 1926 official press release by the team billed Boileau as "Rainy Drinkwater" the first known Native American to don the skates for an NHL team. "It will be big news to Rene Boileau to learn that he comes from the Cauhnawaga Indian Reservation," noted the Montreal Gazette, in Boileau's hometown. Luckily for the Americans and the NHL Boileau was not angered by the deceitful tactic and was more interested in concentrating on his on-ice performance. Teams were also limited by an annual $35,000 salary cap and so there was not a lot of money with which to pay Boileau. However, none of that mattered. He got the once in a lifetime chance to play hockey in the NHL.

Boileau's NHL career was rather short-lived, but certainly not dull. In 1926-27 he joined the Niagara Falls Cataracts of the CPHL. He followed that up with one year in the CAHL with New Haven before starting a three-year association with the St. Louis Flyers of the AHA. He then returned to Quebec where he played semi-pro hockey for two years, retiring after the 1933-34 campaign.

Hockey definitely ran in the Boileau family as Rene's son Marc also took up the game, reaching the NHL and coaching in both the NHL and later the WHA.

Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1923-24 Pointe Claire Maple Leafs MCHL
1924-25 Montreal K of C MCHL
1925-26 Montreal Columbus MCHL 4 0 0 0 0
1925-26 New York Americans NHL 7 0 0 0 0
1925-26 Montreal Bell Telephone MRTHL 3 7 0 7 0
1926-27 Niagara Falls Cataracts Can-Pro 18 4 0 4 8
1927-28 New Haven Eagles Can-Am 36 5 3 8 51
1928-29 St. Louis Flyers AHA 36 4 0 4 28
1929-30 St. Louis Flyers AHA 30 2 1 3 46
1930-31 St. Louis Flyers AHA 37 3 0 3 43
1931-32 Trois-Rivieres Renards ECHA 4 0 0 0 6
1933-34 Verdun Maple Leafs MCHL 5 1 0 1 10 2 0 0 0 0
NHL Totals 7 0 0 0 0

Father of Marc Signed as a free agent by NY Americans (Niagara Falls-Can-Pro), January 15, 1926.
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