Status: Former WHA and NHL defenseman for the Calgary Cowboys, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and Colorado Rockies from 1977-82. Scored 11 NHL goals in 158 games. Currently works as the New York Rangers TV analyst.
DOB: Oct. 24, 1954 In: International Falls, Minn.
Hockey Inspirations: “Early on, my older brother. Because I’m one of nine kids and the first six kids were boys. So I had four older brothers. And three of them played hockey and the fourth should have because he was tougher than anybody in the family. He played football and basketball. Early on that’s what my inspiration was growing up in northern Minnesota. We had a rink right outside our backyard that my dad would freeze over. And then we had another outdoor rink two blocks away. It started in the family at a young age. They were playing and I was playing. Those are the ones that got me going.”
Childhood Heroes: “Bobby Orr. And I was always a fan of Montreal and Toronto as well. On Saturday nights in those days when we could only get three stations, there was a fourth late at night that would come in very snowy – Hockey Night In Canada. We grew up listening and watching every Saturday night to the Canadiens or Maple Leafs.”
Hobbies/Leisure Activities: “I grew up playing all the sports. So just about every sport interests me. And I’ve fallen in love with golf. My daughter (Allison) plays college golf (at Furman University). So we have a busy summer from that standpoint. She plays a lot of tournaments around the country, so we kind of go on the whirlwind tour, playing these different tournaments as she tries to get better. And then – when I finished playing hockey – I was in the investment business for a number of years. I got registered with an old firm called E.F. Hutton in the mid ’80s. I’ve always had an interest in the stock market and the financial end of things. Besides that, my kids, my wife and hockey, that keeps me busy.”
First Hockey Memory: “One of the early ones was when I was around 11 or 12. We traveled on road trips; a road trip for us was 25-30 miles to the next town. That was a road trip. And I remember one night playing on the road and coming back after – there was a group of us in the car. We were listening to the Minnesota North Stars play and that was the game when Bill Masterton got hit, fell back and hit his head on the ice and eventually died (1968). That really sticks out to me. I was very young, but I remember listening to the game and then this happening. Everybody got quiet. It was an awful thing. Then waking up the next morning and finding out he had died.”
Favorite Movie: “Shawshank Redemption.”
Favorite TV Shows: “I don’t watch much TV. I watch CNBC a lot, the financial news – I watch that in the morning. When I’m not watching hockey I’m watching the financial network.”
Musical Tastes: “I like a variety, a lot of the old stuff. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. My son got me hooked on Dave Matthews. A lot of the old stuff – Simon and Garfunkel. We saw them in concert two years ago. My wife and I went.”
Last Book Read: “I think it was Gone, Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane. He also wrote Mystic River. He’s a terrific writer.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “That’s a difficult question, because I was fortunate to be in a lot of good situations. I guess, early on, winning the state hockey championship in Minnesota, which is somewhat equivalent to winning the high school basketball championship in Indiana. It was that important and prestigious. That was in my senior year in high school. Then it was right after that Herb Brooks recruited me to go to the University of Minnesota. My first year we won the national championship under Herbie. Then we won another a couple of years later. And runner-up in another. There were a lot of great moments, but more team moments than anything, which is what this game is all about.”
Favorite Uniforms: “The Rangers. I think any of the Original Six. Hard to beat the Original Six.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “There’s so many. Where do I start? I had a lot of funny memories when I played my first year of pro in Edmonton (1977). Actually Glen Sather was our coach there – we just had a group of veteran guys. I’m trying to think if there’s one that’s clean enough to tell. Just say this: We ended up having Wayne Gretzky join our team when he was 17. Ace Bailey – who died in 9/11, God bless his soul – he took Wayne under his wing and they had some interesting times (smiles). Leave it at that.”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “I remember in our 1980-81 season we had a showdown with the Islanders with about a month to go in the season. We were battling for No. 1 overall and we were playing at home. We had a set play on our power play where I’d skate the puck out across the blueline and turn, so I was actually skating backwards with the puck. I ended up hitting a rut or something and falling down on the play. They scored the shorthanded goal. (Who?) Bobby Bourne. That was embarrassing.”
Closest NHL Friends: “A lot of them. Mike Liut, Perry Turnbull and I all lived together in St. Louis early on. There’s Ron Chipperfield, Brett Callighen, Dave Semenko in Edmonton. We were all roommates. Eddie Mio was there. There’s so many of them. Wherever you go it’s hard to choose one.”
Funniest Players Encountered: “Dave Semenko. Everybody looked at Dave as a guy who was the big tough guy with a growl on his face. But I’m not sure I’ve been around anybody who’s had a better sense of humor. He had this dry sense of humor on the bench during games. (Any examples come to mind?) The game has changed now, back in those days there used to be bench-clearing brawls. Tough teams playing tough teams. And you knew what kind of game it would be. I remember playing Cincinnati one time and they brought up a couple of tough guys to try and beat us up. I was sitting next to Dave on the bench and Slats came down. Someone was challenging us and Dave turned his head over to me and said ‘It’s time for some more of that witty goon talk, I’ll be right back.’ He’s taking off his gloves, slowly climbing over the boards and gives me a wink: ‘Listen to this witty goon talk.’ Then he went out. There weren’t many players tougher than Dave when he would get mad. It took him a little while to get mad. He’s a good man and a darn funny guy.”
Toughest Competitors: “Oh boy, there’s a lot of those. Bobby Clarke, he was very determined. Brian Sutter was a teammate and there’s not many who competed harder than Brian. And his brothers, too. A lot of them I could mention.”
Favorite Players To Watch: “I’ve always been a fan of allowing the most talented players to do their thing on the ice without getting obstructed. Peter Forsberg – I’ve always been a huge fan of his all-around abilities to play the game with the puck and have this fierce determination to play the physical side as well. I also love players who persevere. I’ve got a great deal of respect for Rod Gilbert. He’s an inspiration because of what he went through – to get to the league, play through all his health problems and to go on to the Hall of Fame. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Favorite Hockey Broadcasters: “There’s a lot of them who I listened to and tried to learn from. But my inspiration and the person who got me in the broadcast business is Dan Kelly, who was one of the great hockey broadcasters of all time. He, unfortunately, died at a young age. Dan got me into this business and that’s something I will be forever grateful for. So he was the one, even though he’s not around anymore, but I still hear his voice, his bellowing voice.”
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