Saturday

Constantine "Bazu" Cantacuzino

Romania is not exactly known as a hockey power, but they do have a long albeit thin history with the game.

And if early pioneer Constantine "Bazu" Cantacuzino does not top the list of greatest players, he certainly tops the list of most fascinating life story.

Cantacuzino played from 1928 through to World War II. He was described as a swift skater, crafty stickhandler and intelligent attacker. He led the Romanians through five World Championship tournaments.

But off the ice is where his story turns really amazing. He was described as a real-life playboy. He was the kind of guy they would have to get Leonardo Dicaprio to act as if they ever made a movie about him. And the really could.

Cantacuzino came from one of Romania's wealthiest families, but he had equal abundance of charm and personality as he had riches. People loved him and his amazing stunts. He was adored as a race car/bike driver and as airplane stuntman.

His ability to manoeuvre an airplane made him one of the most decorated Romanian pilots during World War II. He is said to have shot down more enemy planes than any other pilot in the Romanian Air Force. He is more celebrated in Romania as an aviator and war hero than as a hockey player.

Of course the fall out to World War II was not good to Romania and in particular to Cantacuzino. The country was soon to fall under the oppressive control of communist Soviet Union. Cantacuzino fled to Spain, leaving all his land and riches behind. He remarried - to actress Nadia Gray - and secured enough to buy a plane and earn a reasonable living as a stunt pilot.

Constantine Cantacuzino passed away in Madrid in 1958. He was just 52 years old.

1 comment:

Mike MacDonald said...

Bazu shot down my father, Donald J. MacDonald on June 6th, 1944 (D-Day)while flying his P-51 over Moldova. My father survived, taken prisoner and held at Stalug Luft III till the end of the war.
My father was a long time hockey player and teaching tennis pro when he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps.
Mike MacDonald
macdon31us@yahoo.com
PS: I am writing a book about the two men.

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