Dale McCourt

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Dale McCourt
Born (1957-01-26) January 26, 1957 (age 62)
Falconbridge, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Buffalo Sabres
Toronto Maple Leafs
HC Ambrì-Piotta
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 1st overall, 1977
Detroit Red Wings
WHA Draft 35th overall, 1977
Indianapolis Racers
Playing career 1977–1991

Dale Allen McCourt, a native of Falconbridge, Ontario (born January 26, 1957), is a former professional ice hockey forward. He was drafted first overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft.[1]

Junior hockey[edit]

McCourt played major junior in the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA, renamed OMJHL during his tenure, today's OHL). As a 15 year old, he was already playing Tier II junior hockey when called up by the Sudbury Wolves for part of the 1972–73 OHA season. He joined the Hamilton Red Wings for the full 1973–74 OHA season, and was team captain by the time the (renamed) Hamilton Fincups won the 1975–76 OMJHL Championship and then the national 1976 Memorial Cup championship.

In 1976–77, McCourt led the relocated St. Catharines Fincups as the team won the OMJHL Regular Season Championship. That season, McCourt was awarded the Red Tilson Trophy as the league's Most Outstanding Player, and was voted the nationwide CHL Player of the Year. Dale was also awarded the William Hanley Trophy as the OMJHL's Most Sportsmanlike Player in both 1975–76 and 1976–77.

In the 1977 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, McCourt scored 18 points, a Canadian record he shares with Brayden Schenn and one point more than Eric Lindros and Wayne Gretzky.

McCourt was drafted 1st overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft. He made an impression on the Detroit Red Wings, after being the first NHL amateur pick in 1977. He successfully scored 33 goals in the first year with the team. He was entitled to NHL rookie of the year with the Red Wings.[2]

Professional career[edit]

McCourt led the Red Wings in scoring during his 1977–78 rookie season, finishing second only to Calder Memorial Trophy winner Mike Bossy for rookie scoring in the NHL that year.

Legal battle[edit]

Before the start of the 1978–79 season, Red Wings general manager Ted Lindsay signed Rogatien Vachon of the Los Angeles Kings, who was a restricted free agent at that time. An NHL arbitrator ruled that McCourt should be the compensation paid the Kings for Vachon's loss, but McCourt refused to report to the Kings. Ultimately, this led to McCourt suing the NHL, National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), the Red Wings and Kings in order to prohibit being sent to the Los Angeles Kings as a part of any compensation package. During this lawsuit, McCourt remained playing for the Red Wings, finishing the season second in Red Wing scoring (behind by only two points) for 1978-79. The matter was resolved and McCourt remained in Detroit, but he felt betrayed by the fact that his own NHLPA, led by Executive Director Alan Eagleson (convicted in 1998 after years of embezzling from the NHLPA members), did not back him against the owners during the lawsuit.[3] His legal case created a huge impact on sport and was the first sports case to challenge the antitrust laws during the bargaining agreement.[4]

Trade[edit]

McCourt continued to be the Red Wings top scorer in both his third (1979–80) and fourth (1980–81) seasons. Despite this, and while leading the team in scoring a third of the way through the 1981–82 season, management did not feel he had achieved their overall expectations, trading McCourt to the Buffalo Sabres in December 1981—having produced at a point-a-game pace during his time with the Red Wings but failing to make the playoffs for three of his four years with the team. He played with Buffalo, before being claimed on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs in October 1983, finishing his NHL career at the end of that 1983–84 NHL season, with 478 points in 532 games played.

McCourt then played for 6 seasons for HC Ambrì-Piotta, in the top Swiss league. Ambrì-Piotta retired McCourt's number 15 jersey.

Hockey family[edit]

McCourt's brother Dan was an NHL linesman during the 1980s and early 1990s.

McCourt's uncle is Hockey Hall of Fame member George Armstrong. Armstrong won the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHA's Most Outstanding Player in both 1947–48 and 1949–50, the same award that McCourt received in 1976–77. Armstrong was the coach of the Toronto Marlboros when they won the national Memorial Cup Championship in 1973 and 1975, the same championship that McCourt won as a player with the Hamilton Fincups in 1976.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1972–73 Welland Sabres SOJHL 34 35 28 63 39
1972–73 Sudbury Wolves OHA-Jr. 26 6 11 17 0 4 0 1 1 0
1973–74 Hamilton Red Wings OHA-Jr. 69 20 38 58 45
1974–75 Hamilton Fincups OMJHL 69 52 74 126 57 17 10 17 27 0
1975–76 Hamilton Fincups OMJHL 66 55 84 139 19 14 20 8 28 12
1975–76 Hamilton Fincups M-Cup 3 0 4 4 2
1976–77 St. Catharines Fincups OMJHL 66 60 79 139 26 14 7 13 20 6
1977–78 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 33 39 72 10 7 4 2 6 2
1978–79 Detroit Red Wings NHL 79 28 43 71 14
1979–80 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 30 51 81 12
1980–81 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 30 56 86 50
1981–82 Detroit Red Wings NHL 26 13 14 27 6
1981–82 Buffalo Sabres NHL 52 20 22 42 12 4 2 3 5 0
1982–83 Buffalo Sabres NHL 62 20 32 52 10 10 3 2 5 4
1983–84 Buffalo Sabres NHL 5 1 3 4 0
1983–84 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 72 19 24 43 10
1984–85 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDB 40 33 26 59
1985–86 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDA 32 42 17 59 22
1986–87 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDA 36 25 28 53 42 5 5 2 7 20
1987–88 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDA 36 29 20 49 22 6 6 6 12 4
1988–89 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDA 36 41 24 65 39 6 1 4 5 0
1989–90 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDA 28 18 26 44 26 2 0 0 0 0
1990–91 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDA 35 19 14 33 58
1991–92 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDA 5 4 1 5 2
NHL totals 532 194 284 478 124 21 9 7 16 6
NDA totals 208 178 130 308 211 19 12 12 24 24

International[edit]

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1977 Canada WJC 7 10 8 18 14
1979 Canada WC 7 0 1 1 6
1981 Canada WC 4 1 0 1 2
Junior totals 7 10 8 18 14
Senior totals 11 1 1 2 8

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shaw, Warren. "The Dale McCourt Saga: The Beginning Of The End Of Team Loyalty". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  2. ^ "Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Dale McCourt". www.legendsofhockey.net. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  3. ^ "The Ups and Downs of Dale McCourt". TSN. 2016-12-24. 3:03 min:sec mark. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  4. ^ Berry, Robert C.; Gould, William B.; Staudohar, Paul D. (1986). Labor Relations in Professional Sports. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780865691377.
  5. ^ Collins gem Hockey Facts and Stats 2009–10, p.510, Andrew Podnieks, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, Canada, ISBN 978-1-55468-621-6

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Fred Williams
Detroit Red Wings first round draft pick
1977
Succeeded by
Willie Huber
Preceded by
Rick Green
NHL first overall draft pick
1977
Succeeded by
Bobby Smith
Preceded by
Peter Lee
CHL Player of the Year
1977
Succeeded by
Bobby Smith
Preceded by
Paul Woods
Detroit Red Wings captain
1979–80
Succeeded by
Errol Thompson
Reed Larson