Doug Wickenheiser

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Doug Wickenheiser
Born (1961-03-30)March 30, 1961
Regina, SK, CAN
Died January 12, 1999(1999-01-12) (aged 37)
St. Louis, MO, USA
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 196 lb (89 kg; 14 st 0 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Washington Capitals
New York Rangers
Vancouver Canucks
St. Louis Blues
Montreal Canadiens
NHL Draft 1st overall, 1980
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1980–1994

Douglas Peter Wickenheiser (March 30, 1961 – January 12, 1999) was a Canadian ice hockey player. He was drafted first overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft.

Career[edit]

Wickenheiser was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. A superstar in Major Junior hockey with the Regina Pats, he led the Western Hockey League in goal scoring (89) during the 1979–80 WHL season, captained the Pats to a berth in the Memorial Cup, and was the CHL Player of the Year. Wickenheiser was rated by The Hockey News as the top draft prospect in 1980 and was subsequently selected first overall by the Montreal Canadiens. Many Canadiens' fans, particularly French Canadian fans who desperately wanted the club to select francophone star Denis Savard, were unhappy with the selection, and Montreal media attention soon turned negative. While Wickenheiser struggled to adjust to the NHL game, Savard (drafted third overall) would quickly become a superstar with the Chicago Blackhawks, further angering some Montreal fans.

In his fourth season with the Canadiens, the club lost patience with Wickenheiser's slow development and traded him to the St. Louis Blues. Probably his most famous moment with the Blues was during the 1985–86 playoffs in a game dubbed the "Monday Night Miracle" on May 12, 1986, when after St. Louis made a large comeback against the Calgary Flames, Wickenheiser scored the overtime winner to force a Game 7 in the Campbell Conference Finals. The Blues would however, lose the deciding game 2–1.

During his NHL career, Wickenheiser also played for the Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, but did not play in the NHL after the 1989-90 season, spending his last four professional seasons in the minors and overseas. In 556 games, he scored 111 goals and 165 assists.

Battle with cancer[edit]

In August 1994, Wickenheiser had a rare form of cancer (epithelioid sarcoma[1]) removed from his wrist - which he had first noticed four years earlier in 1990. Three years later, in October 1997, his cancer came back and had spread to his lungs, at which point it was inoperable. He died on January 12, 1999, at the age of 37 in St. Louis. He is survived by his wife and three daughters. His life story was memorialized in the book The Last Face Off: The Doug Wickenheiser Story written in March 2000 by Ted Pepple, Wickenheiser's father-in-law. The Mid-States Club Hockey Association, the governing body for high school hockey in St. Louis, named their championship trophy for small school/second division teams in his honor. He is interred at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery in Affton, Missouri - Section 043 Lot 0877.

Legacy[edit]

An arena in his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan, has been named Doug Wickenheiser Arena in his honor. The arena is located at the corner of Arnason St. & Rochdale Blvd. in the city's northwest corner.

His cousin, Hayley Wickenheiser, is the former captain of Team Canada's women's hockey team, leading the women's hockey team to gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics. She was named an alternate captain for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

While the St. Louis Blues did not retire his number 14, Blues' players wore a special helmet decal with the wick of a candle and the number 14 during parts of the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons. In 1999 a banner with that logo, which became the symbol of The Fourteen Fund, the official Blues charity established in his memory, was permanently placed in the rafters at the Blues home rink. The emblem was worn by all NHL players in the 1999 All-Star Game, and was also sold to the public for a small donation and became a popular trend among youth hockey players in St. Louis. One of the two high school state championships played at Scottrade Center is named after him. (The Wickenheiser Cup). (www.midstateshockey.org)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Luecking, Dave (January 13, 1999). "Doug Wickenheiser, Former Player for the Blues, Dies from Cancer.". St Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Pierre Lacroix
CHL Player of the Year
1980
Succeeded by
Dale Hawerchuk
Preceded by
Rob Ramage
NHL first overall draft pick
1980
Succeeded by
Dale Hawerchuk
Preceded by
Dave Hunter
Montreal Canadiens first round draft pick
1980
Succeeded by
Mark Hunter