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Getting to Know: Ian Turnbull

Ian Turnbull, former Leaf, King and Penguin, answers questions on his best and worst sporting moments, and recalls the time he was introduced to tequila in his rookie NHL season.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Status: NHL defenseman from 1973-83 with Toronto, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

DOB: Dec. 22, 1953 In: Montreal

Residence: Los Angeles

First Hockey Memory: "Getting my first hockey stick at age five, started skating at three."

Hockey Inspirations: "Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Andy Bathgate, Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr."

Greatest Sports Moment(s): "1972. Russia-Canada series, Paul Henderson scoring the winning goal. Personally, five-goal night against Detroit (with Toronto). Four-goal night in Los Angeles. Team wise - beating the Islanders in overtime seventh game '78."

Most Painful Moment: "Not winning the Stanley Cup."

Most Memorable Goal: "Lanny McDonald Game 7 overtime vs. Islanders (in '78)."

Favorite Uniforms: "Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins."

Favorite Rinks To Play: "Minnesota Met Center, Boston Garden, Detroit Olympia, Chicago Stadium."

Strangest Game: "Fog bowl in Buffalo, there was so much fog, we had to keep stopping and starting."

Funny Hockey Memory: "Anthony’s Pier 4 in Boston after we made the playoffs. We barely squeaked into the playoffs, finished the season against Boston, then had to play them in the playoffs two or three days later. Harold Ballard took us all to Anthony's. The boys went to town, ordering steak and lobster by the ton, one of the guys was ordering bottle after bottle of some pretty pricey wine, every time the sommelier opened a bottle our guy would do the wine tasting ritual and then spit it out on the guys shoes saying it was 'Vinegar!' He did it about six times before management came over and put a stop to it. The boys really enjoyed that scene."

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "The boys introducing me to Tequila in Los Angeles in '73. It was my first time having that beverage. I woke up the next morning with residual stones and scrapes, not sure exactly how I got back to the hotel but I'm pretty sure the boys dragged me home through the parking lot and bushes. Not a proud moment, welcome to the big leagues."

Funniest Players Encountered: "Jim McKenny, Ace Bailey, Eddie Shack."

Closest NHL Friends: "When I played...George Ferguson, Wayne Thomas, Rick Martin, Dunc Wilson."

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: "Bobby Orr, Bobby Nystrom, Keith Magnuson."

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: "Boom Boom Geoffrion."

Mark ‘Scoop’ Malinowski’s latest book “Facing Federer” is available on Amazon. He is the creator of two websites: and



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