Dave Debol

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David C. Debol (born March 27, 1956 in St. Clair Shores, Michigan) is a retired professional ice hockey player currently serving as the head coach of the St. Clair Shores Fighting Saints of the Federal Hockey League. Debol played 92 games for the NHL Hartford Whalers and 68 games for the WHA Cincinnati Stingers between 1978 and 1981. He was also a member of the University of Michigan hockey team before turning professional. Debol represented the United States at the Ice Hockey World Championships in 1977, 1978 and 1981. He also played for the Michigan Wolverines hockey team and has been inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

University of Michigan[edit]

A native of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, Debol enrolled at the University of Michigan where he competed for a position on the Michigan Wolverines hockey team as a walk-on player.[1][2] He made the team and became an All-American center who led the Wolverines to the finals of the NCAA's Frozen Four ice hockey championship, where they lost in overtime to Wisconsin.[1][2] He was called "the Guy LaFleur of college hockey" and was considered the best offensive player at Michigan since Red Berenson.[1][2] As a sophomore, Debol scored three goals in less than one minute to set an NCAA record.[1] In March 1977, Debol tied Red Berenson's 14-year-old record for most goals scored in a season by a Michigan Wolverines hockey player with his 42nd goal.[3] He finished the year with 43 goals.[2] He set Michigan records for most assists in a season (56), most points in a season (99), career assists (120) and career points (222).[1][4] As a senior, Debol led the WCHA in scoring with 43 goals and 56 assists.[1]

Professional hockey[edit]

Debol was highly sought after by professional hockey teams. The Chicago Black Hawks acquired his NHL rights, and the New England Whalers acquired his WHA rights. The Whalers traded his rights to the Edmonton Oilers, and in December 1977, the Oilers traded negotiating rights to Debol to the Cincinnati Stingers for Dennis Sobchuk.[1] Debol signed with the Stingers in March 1978.[5] Playing in his rookie season, Debol had 10 goals and 27 assists when he was struck in the eye with a hockey stick in a game against Winnipeg in March 1979.[6] The following month, Debol underwent surgery at Bethesda Hospital in Cincinnati to re-attach the flap of the retina on his left eye.[6] Debol returned from the injury and was selected by the Hartford Whalers in the 1979 Dispersal Draft when the WHA merged with the NHL. He played for the Whalers from 1979–1981. Playing on the same team as Gordie Howe and his sons Mark and Marty,[7][8] When Debol was born in 1956 in a Detroit suburb, Gordie Howe had already played ten seasons with the Detroit Red Wings,[9] and in 1980 Debol was teammates with the 52-year-old Howe in his final NHL season.[9] Debol had 26 goals and 26 assists in 92 games for the Whalers.[10][11]

Later years[edit]

After retiring as a hockey player, Debol coached high school hockey at Dexter High School in Michigan. He currently coaches college hockey at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, in the ACHA Division I ranks.[12] He has also owned and operated hockey schools, including Hockey Masters in Chelsea, Michigan,[12] and also Debol & Donnelly Skill Development.[13]

Debol lives in Saline, and has a son and a daughter, both of whom are hockey players.[12]

In 1996 Debol was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.[14]

On May 10, 2016, Debol was named the inaugural head coach of his hometown team, the St. Clair Shores Fighting Saints of the Federal Hockey League.[15]

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-WCHA Second Team 1975–76 [16]
All-WCHA First Team 1976–77 [16]
AHCA West All-American 1976–77 [17]
All-NCAA All-Tournament Team 1977 [18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Cincinnati Gains 'M' Icer's Rights". The Herald-Palladium. 1977-12-17.
  2. ^ a b c d "Stingers Stun WHA; Trade High For Debol". Ironwood Daily Globe. 1977-12-17.
  3. ^ "Wisconsin King of NCAA Hockey". Newport Daily News 1977-03-28.
  4. ^ "Debol Michigan's Hockey MVP". The Herald-Palladium. 1977-03-31.
  5. ^ "Debol Inks Stinger Pact". Ironwood Daily Globe. 1978-03-18.
  6. ^ a b "Eye Surgery for Debol". Chronicle Telegram (UPI wire story). 1979-04-14.
  7. ^ "1979 Hartford Whalers". databasehockey.com. Archived from the original on 2007-05-13.
  8. ^ "1980 Hartford Whalers". databasehockey.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-07.
  9. ^ a b "Gordie Howe Career Statistics". databasehockey.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-15.
  10. ^ "Dave Debol". databasehockey.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20.
  11. ^ "Dave Debol". hockeydb.com.
  12. ^ a b c "Dave Debol Biography". Hockey Masters. Archived from the original on 2008-11-19.
  13. ^ "NHL Player Search: Dave Debol". Legends of Hockey.
  14. ^ "Hall of Honor". M Club.
  15. ^ Brudenell, Mike (May 10, 2016). "New Federal Hockey League team coming to St. Clair Shores' Civic Arena". FreeP.com. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "WCHA All-Teams". College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "Men's Ice Hockey Award Winners" (PDF). NCAA.org. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  18. ^ "NCAA Frozen Four Records" (PDF). NCAA.org. Retrieved 2013-06-19.

External links[edit]