Ralph Nattrass played 3 1/2 years on the Chicago Black Hawks' defence in the late 1940s. Although he was capable of creating scoring chances, his strength rested with his physical game and hostility towards the opposition in his own end.
Born in Gainsboro, Saskatchewan, Nattrass played two years with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the provincial junior circuit. He was recommended to the Hawks by Tiny Thompson, the former NHL star who scouted talent in western Canada. In 1945-46 he turned pro with the Kansas City Pla-Mors of the USHL and played aggressive defence while scoring 24 points in 50 games. Nattrass became a vital part of the team as it won its first of two consecutive league titles in 1946.
After starting the 1946-47 season in KC, Nattrass was recalled to the Hawks where he looked solid in 35 games as a rookie. During the next three years he was a regular on the team's defence corps as it struggled in the NHL standings. He and Bill Gadsby formed one of the best young defensive tandems in the league while representing one of the few bright lights for Chicago. In October, 1950, Nattrass was traded to the Montreal Canadiens but never returned to the NHL. He retired after registering 30 assists in 55 games for the AHL's Cincinnati Mohawks in 1950-51. Nattrass next began working full time as an automobile salesman, a career he nurtured in the off-seasons while still playing.