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Society Mourns Passing of Moe Mantha
Providence, RI (9/24/2015): Moe Mantha Sr., a defenseman who helped lead the 1967-68 Reds to the playoffs and later became a successful businessman and politician in Canada, died on Sept. 18 at the age of 81.
Born in North Bay, Ontario, Mantha played minor league hockey for several teams in the American Hockey League, the Quebec Hockey League and the Western Hockey League from 1954 to 1970.
"I acquired him to complement another veteran defenseman, Adam Keller, and they were both assigned to nurture youngsters Wayne Muloin and Ray Clearwater, " remembered Buster Clegg, former general manager of the AHL R.I. Reds and now president of the R.I. Reds Heritage Society. "He and Adam did so successfully and brought our 1967-68 team into the AHL playoffs in which we reached the semi-finals."
After his hockey career, Mantha returned to Sturgeon Falls and operated his own business, Laurentide Golf Club, for a number of years before entering politics, serving as the Reeve of Springer Township.
In the 1984 federal election, Mantha ran as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Nipissing. He won the seat, defeating Liberal incumbent Jean-Jacques Blais. In the 1988 election, however, Mantha was defeated by Liberal candidate Bob Wood. Mantha ran again in the 1993 election, but lost to Wood again.
“He was loved, respected and admired by everyone whose lives he touched,” his daughter, April Mantha, told the North Bay Nugget newspaper.
April said it was important to her father that he spend his final days at home at his golf course, which he operated for 50 years alongside his wife, Kae.
She said her father used a tractor to carve out the golf course from a piece of farmland when he wasn't busy working in North Bay as a greenskeeper. And when it opened, she said there were only a handful of people in Sturgeon Falls who even knew how to golf.
Although he hadn't been directly involved in politics in many years, Mantha remained a community leader and kept close ties with former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
While in office, April said her father was a “rare, honest” politician, who put his constituents first and never missed a fall fair or community event.
“He used to drive his car back and forth to Ottawa to save the taxpayer's money,” she said.
Mantha and his wife had four children – April, Moe Jr., Bobby, and the late Andrea.
Moe Jr., a former NHL defenceman is currently coach of the French River Rapids , while Bobby has scouted and coached at the amateur, junior and professional levels, including assistant roles with the former North Bay Centennials and London Knights.
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