Keith Crowder is a Memorial Cup champion who played 10 seasons in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings. He accumulated 1,566 penalty minutes and 530 points in 1,747 NHL games.
Crowder was born in Windsor on January 6, 1959, but he grew up in Essex.
In 1968, Crowder joined Essex Minor Hockey, with which he played two years of house league hockey before graduating to a series of travel teams between the Pee Wee and Juvenile age groups. Eventually, Crowder made it to the Junior C Essex 73s, where he won the 1974-75 OHA Championship by defeating Lindsay. The following season, Crowder’s 73s again reached the OHA Championship, this time falling to Dunnville.
The Peterborough Petes drafted Crowder into Junior A hockey in 1976. The Petes won the OHA title in Crowder’s first season, defeating Hamilton. The team reached the Memorial Cup Finals that year, losing to New Westminster 7-4 in the championship game.
In 1978-79, Crowder briefly flirted with the upstart World Hockey Association, which courted several top Junior A players. He signed with the Birmingham Bulls, but played only five games before deciding to return to Peterborough.
It’s a good thing he did. Coach Gary Green led the Petes that year to the club’s only Memorial Cup triumph. Peterborough defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 2-1 in the Finals, with Crowder playing with a broken wrist he sustained in the second of three OHA playoff rounds. Crowder, wearing a cast, still managed 12 goals and 6 assists during that year’s postseason.
Crowder also represented Team Ontario in the Labatt Cup that season, when his side faced off against the Quebec and Western League All-Stars.
The Boston Bruins selected Crowder in the fourth round, 57th overall, of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the ’79-80 season with the AHL’s Binghamton Dusters and the IHL’s Grand Rapids Owls before joining the Bruins in the ’80-81 season. Crowder stayed with Boston for nine consecutive NHL seasons. A forward, Crowder was a regular contributor who led the Bruins in scoring with 84 points in ’85-86, his finest individual season. Crowder’s Bruins won the Adams Division in ’82-83 and ’83-84. In ’87-88, they reached the Stanley Cup Finals, falling to Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers.
Crowder moved to the Los Angeles Kings ahead of the 1989-90 NHL season. He managed 17 points in 55 games with the Kings before retiring from professional hockey.
Crowder finished his career with 237 goals and 293 assists for 530 points in 747 career games. He added 1,566 penalty minutes. A well-rounded player, Crowder played on both scoring lines and checking lines and contributed to power play and penalty killing units. Bruins fans remember him as a reliable, physical, and hardworking forward.