Quick Bits: Yukon Eric

This photo of Yukon Eric being lifted up by the fans at MLG illustrates how popular he was in Toronto. For a time second only to Whipper Watson. From his debut here in 1949 he immediately captivated the fans and spent most of his time at or near the top of the weekly cards, and in the many arenas around Southern Ontario through 1964.

He initially wrestled barefooted and featured his Kodiac Krunch backbreaker to steamroll his opponents. His first loss here was to Whipper and the two faced off often before forming a very successful tag team. Our friend Roger Baker had a impromptu meeting with the big man back around the time of this photo.

'It was in the summer of 1956 the place, Crystal Beach Ont. which is situated on the shores of Lake Erie, it was a wonderful spot to come for a visit and enjoy all that it had to offer. Wrestlers also visited in the summertime to enjoy an outing on the famed beach, these wrestlers would almost always be appearing in a town or city that was not to far off, Buffalo, St. Catharines, Welland, Niagara Falls.

It was a sunny Saturday morning, a wrestling card was taking place later in the day, it was an afternoon show that was being held in the fabled Crystal Beach Park. The main event was a tag team match that featured Yukon Eric his partner Sandor Kovaks vs. a very young Nick Bockwinkel* and his partner Johnny Barend.

Earlier that day I was walking on Derby Rd. taking in the sights. Who do I see sitting on a bar stool at the front of the restaurant? It was Yukon Eric. On the table in front of him was a plate stacked high with jumbo pancakes, also beside the pancakes was a large jug of- as I soon learned- his own favorite syrup which he brought along to enjoy on his pancakes.

I couldn't resist and walked over to Yukon and introduced myself to him, and let him know that I was one of his many fans. He was wearing jeans, and a large plaid short sleeved shirt, one could not help but to notice lust how massive he was, his arms looked like tree trunks, and his chest according to Yukon himself was sixty inches around, his arms were over twenty inches in circumference. Eric explained to me that because of wrestling being the main focus on him, that his huge muscular development received less attention.

 I thanked Eric for chatting with me while he had his pancakes, and assured him that I'd be at the Crystal Beach Park later on in the day to see his match.'


*Note Nick Bockwinkel was driving Yukon around at this time. While his father Warren had wrestled here Nick didn't appear in Toronto proper until 1977.  More at Lists: Fathers & Sons

Thanks to Roger Baker
Partially excerpted 'From Nanjo to The Sheik'