September 27, 1945 |
Kingston, ON, CAN
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Weight||182 lb (83 kg; 13 st 0 lb)|
|Played for||Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
Dallas Black Hawks (CHL)
His rights being held by the Chicago Black Hawks, Kearns served a four-year apprentice in the minor leagues, principally with the Portland Buckaroos of the Western Hockey League. Between the 1969 and 1971 seasons, Kearns was a First or Second Team league All-Star all three years.
In the summer of 1971, Chicago - then being deep on defence, behind perennial All-Stars Pat Stapleton and Bill White - exposed Kearns in the Intra-League Draft, and he was claimed by Vancouver, for whom he made his NHL debut that fall. Kearns would play his next ten years in Vancouver, his entire NHL career, becoming a star playmaker with noteworthy skill on offense and the power play despite his small size for a defenceman. His best years were between 1976 and 1978, when having recovered from injuries the previous two years he averaged nearly fifty assists a season, was named to the Canadian national team at the World Championships twice, and was called by The Hockey News the "Denis Potvin of the West." Unfortunately, his feats on the ice never translated to success in the playoffs; during his career Kearns played in only eleven playoff games, and the Canucks won only three playoff matches in his tenure.
Kearns finished his career with 31 goals and 290 assists for 321 points in 677 games, adding 386 penalty minutes. His 55 assists in 1977 remains the franchise record for defencemen. His 321 career points was the all-time mark for Canucks defencemen for over three decades until surpassed by Mattias Öhlund at the end of the 2009 season; he remains the franchise leader in assists by a defenceman.
In retirement, he and his family live in Vancouver, where he owns an insurance business and his son, Bracken Kearns, made his NHL debut with the Florida Panthers on October 20, 2011 against the Buffalo Sabres. Bracken is currently in the New York Islanders organization.
|1970–71||Dallas Black Hawks||CHL||65||8||44||52||65||10||2||5||7||14|
- The Hockey News 1978 Yearbook, ed. Ken McKenzie, Toronto, Canada, p. 54
- NHL (2011-10-20). "30-year-old rookie debuts for Panthers". NHL.com. Retrieved 2011-10-20.