Walt Tkaczuk

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Walt Tkaczuk
Walt Tkaczuk 80-81.JPG
Tkaczuk in 1980
Born (1947-09-29) September 29, 1947 (age 69)
Emsdetten, Germany
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for New York Rangers
Playing career 1967–1981

Walter Robert Bogdan Tkaczuk (born September 29, 1947) is a Canadian retired ice hockey centre who played fourteen seasons in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers between 1967 and 1981. Tkaczuk's family moved to Timmins, Ontario from West Germany when he was two years old.[1] He was the first German-born player to appear in an NHL game.

NHL career[edit]

Tkaczuk centered the "Bulldog Line" with Bill Fairbairn and Dave Balon, who was later replaced by Steve Vickers.[2] He could score his fair share of goals, however he was much better at producing assists. Tkaczuk's finest contribution to the game was that of the defensive forward, being among the NHL's elite shadows and faceoff men. This complemented the Ranger's high-scoring GAG line of Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert, Vic Hadfield. During his first 2 seasons with the Rangers, the club and media pronounced his name, "Taychuk" because Rangers' Director of Player Personnel felt it was easier to say that the correct pronunciation, "Ka-Chook." Prior to the 1969-70 season, the club announced he would henceforth be called by the correct pronunciation.[3]

In the 1972 playoffs, with Ratelle sidelined with a broken ankle and Gilbert hampered by injuries, Tkaczuk played a key role as the Rangers defeated the defending champions Montreal Canadiens, and the previous season's finalists Chicago Black Hawks, to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. While the Rangers lost to the Boston Bruins in six games, Tkaczuk earned much respect for holding the Bruins' Phil Esposito without a goal in the series. He was then invited to Team Canada's training camp for the 1972 Summit Series but turned down the invitation (he was replaced by Philadelphia Flyers' center Bobby Clarke)[4]

In the 1979 postseason, Tkaczuk was a key contributor as the Rangers upset the first place New York Islanders to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, where they fell to Montreal in five games.

A serious eye injury ended Tkaczuk's career half way through the 1980-81 season. Tkaczuk played 945 career NHL games, scoring 227 goals and 451 assists for 678 points. Despite his physical presence, he only accumulated 556 minutes in penalties. In 2009, Tkaczuk was ranked No. 14 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons).

Post-hockey career[edit]

Tkaczuk is co-owner of River Valley Golf Course and Tube Slide in St. Marys, Ontario.

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1963–64 Kitchener Dutchmen CJHL 30 25 37 62
1963–64 Kitchener Rangers OHA-Jr. 21 5 5 10 4
1964–65 Kitchener Dutchmen CJHL
1964–65 Kitchener Rangers OHA-Jr. 7 1 2 3 6
1965–66 Kitchener Rangers OHA-Jr. 47 12 31 43 39 19 7 23 30 13
1966–67 Kitchener Rangers OHA-Jr. 48 23 47 70 85 13 6 8 14 23
1966–67 Omaha Knights CPHL 3 2 0 2 2
1967–68 Kitchener Rangers OHA-Jr. 52 37 56 93 81 19 17 20 37 58
1967–68 New York Rangers NHL 2 0 0 0 0
1968–69 Buffalo Bisons AHL 5 2 7 9 9
1968–69 New York Rangers NHL 71 12 24 36 28 4 0 1 1 6
1969–70 New York Rangers NHL 76 27 50 77 38 6 2 1 3 17
1970–71 New York Rangers NHL 77 26 49 75 48 13 1 5 6 14
1971–72 New York Rangers NHL 76 24 42 66 65 16 4 6 10 35
1972–73 New York Rangers NHL 76 27 39 66 59 10 7 2 9 8
1973–74 New York Rangers NHL 71 21 42 63 58 13 0 5 5 22
1974–75 New York Rangers NHL 62 11 25 36 34 3 1 2 3 5
1975–76 New York Rangers NHL 78 8 28 36 56
1976–77 New York Rangers NHL 80 12 38 50 38
1977–78 New York Rangers NHL 80 26 40 66 30 3 0 2 2 0
1978–79 New York Rangers NHL 77 15 27 42 38 18 4 7 11 10
1979–80 New York Rangers NHL 76 12 25 37 36 7 0 1 1 2
1980–81 New York Rangers NHL 43 6 22 28 28
NHL totals 945 227 451 678 556 93 19 32 51 119

References[edit]

  1. ^ [page 49] Illustrated Digest of Pro Hockey 1972-73 edition, Don Smith and Art Poretz, Stadia Sports Publishing Inc.
  2. ^ "New York Rangers Legends: Walt Tkaczuk". 
  3. ^ {(cite web|url=http://rangers.ice.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=67675%7C title=Tkaczuk: He's Always Been a Winner.)|
  4. ^ 1981 Canada Cup / Coupe Canada, p.126)

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dave Maloney
New York Rangers captain
1980–81
Succeeded by
Barry Beck