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Former NHL defensive winger Nick Harbaruk dies of cancer at age 67

TORONTO - Nick Harbaruk, a defensive-oriented right-winger who played five seasons in the NHL, has died. He was 67.

Harbaruk died of bone cancer at Scarborough General Hospital in suburban Toronto on March 10, his daughter Kim Salmon confirmed.

Born in Poland, Harbaruk came to Canada with his parents at age five and decided to get involved in hockey. He played three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leaf-backed Toronto Marlboros in the days when NHL teams sponsored junior clubs.

Harbaruk helped the powerful Marlies, loaded with future NHLers, win the Memorial Cup in 1964.

Harbaruk languished in the Maple Leafs' farm system in Tulsa, Okla., for five seasons before getting a break in the post-expansion era. He played four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins and one with the St. Louis Blues before defecting to the WHA to spend two and a half seasons with the Indianapolis Racers.

Besides Tulsa, he also had minor-league stops in Vancouver, Oklahoma City and Rochester.

Harbaruk is survived by wife Nancy and two children. A funeral service for Harbaruk is scheduled for Wednesday in Toronto.

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