Ross Lonsberry, who played for the Kings from 1969 until early 1972 and went on to be part of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1974 and 1975, died of cancer Sunday in Santa Clarita. He was 67 and had lived in Southern California since he retired from the NHL in the early 1980s.
His brother-in-law, Rex Moore, said Lonsberry had been ill for about two years. “He enjoyed playing here. He loved L.A.,” Moore said Monday. “He didn’t want to live anywhere else.”
Lonsberry sold corporate insurance for many years in the Los Angeles area, Moore said.
Born Feb. 7, 1947, in the town of Humboldt in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, Lonsberry had a stellar junior hockey career and signed with the Boston Bruins. He was traded to the Kings on May 14, 1969, with Eddie Shack for Ken Turlik and two first-round draft picks. He had a 20-goal season and a 25-goal season with the Kings, but the team traded him to the Flyers on Jan. 28, 1972, with Bill Flett, Eddie Joyal and Jean Potvin for Serge Bernier, Jim Johnson and Bill Lesuk.
He was a key member of the Flyers’ “Broad Street Bullies” teams, contributing 32 goals in the 1973-74 season — plus four in the playoffs — and 24 goals in the 1974-75 season, also with four more in the playoffs. He finished his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
A family friend, Robert Sheahen of Sherman Oaks, said he played hockey with Lonsberry in local beer leagues for many years.
“Even when he was 55 he was the best player on the ice, even with some very good 22-year-olds on the ice,” Sheahen said. “And he was a fabulous person. Very self-effacing, very soft-spoken.”
Moore said Lonsberry would be cremated and that the family would hold a private celebration of his life in the near future. Moore said Lonsberry is survived by his wife, Wahnita, two daughters, a son and nine grandchildren.