Brad Park

Last updated
Brad Park
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1988
Brad Park 1970s.jpg
Park in the 1970s
Born (1948-07-06) July 6, 1948 (age 70)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Defenceman
Shot Left
Played for New York Rangers
Boston Bruins
Detroit Red Wings
National teamFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 1966
New York Rangers
Playing career 19681985

Douglas Bradford "Brad" Park (born July 6, 1948) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player. A defenceman, Park played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. Considered one of the best defencemen of his generation, and named to the all-star team several times, the best years of his career were overshadowed by superstar Bobby Orr, who was briefly his teammate. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. In 2017 Park was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history. [1]

Canadians citizens of Canada

Canadians are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, several of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Canadian.

Ice hockey team sport played on ice using sticks, skates, and a puck

Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.

Defence in ice hockey is a player position whose primary responsibility is to prevent the opposing team from scoring. They are often referred to as defencemen, defencewomen or defenceplayers, D, D-men or blueliners. They were once called cover-point.


Playing career

As a youth, Park played in the 1960 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with the Scarboro Lions [2] and 1965-1966 with the Toronto Westclairs and Toronto Marlboros (until 1968). He was drafted by the New York Rangers in the first round (second overall) in the 1966 NHL Amateur Draft and, after a brief stint with the minor-league Buffalo Bisons of the AHL, began playing for the Rangers in 1968.

Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament

The Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament is an annual minor ice hockey event in Quebec City. The event was founded in 1960 to coincide with the Quebec Winter Carnival, and give an opportunity to players under 12 years of age to have international competition. The tournament raises funds for the local Patro Roc-Amadour foundation, and is mostly run by volunteers and a few staff. The event takes place each year in February at the Videotron Centre, and previously spent 56 seasons at the Quebec Coliseum. As of 2018, the event has showcased the talent of over 1,200 future professionals in the National Hockey League or the World Hockey Association.

Toronto Marlboros

The Toronto Marlborough Athletic Club, commonly known as the Toronto Marlboros, was founded in 1903. It operated a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey Association and Ontario Hockey League from 1904 to 1989. The Marlboros were a farm team to the Toronto Maple Leafs and one of the dominant junior teams in history, winning seven Memorial Cup championships.

New York Rangers hockey team of the National Hockey League

The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in New York City. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden in the borough of Manhattan, an arena they share with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They are one of three NHL teams located in the New York metropolitan area; the others being the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.

New York Rangers

Park quickly became the Rangers' best defenceman and drew comparisons with the great Bobby Orr, as both were credited with revolutionizing the "offensive" defenceman. Park's offensive skill, stickhandling and pugnacity attracted much attention from fans. Park and Orr occasionally fought each other on ice, and fans and sportswriters fueled the rivalry by making frequent comparisons, not least as the Rangers and Boston Bruins were bitter opponents. Years afterward, Park remarked "I saw no reason to be upset because I was rated second to Bobby Orr. After all, Orr not only was the top defenceman in the game but he was considered the best player ever to put on a pair of skates. There was nothing insulting about being rated number two to such a super superstar." [3]

Bobby Orr Canadian ice hockey player

Robert Gordon Orr, OC is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest of all time. Orr used his ice skating speed, scoring, and play-making abilities to revolutionize the position of defenceman. He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 12 seasons, starting with 10 with the Boston Bruins followed by two with the Chicago Black Hawks. Orr remains the only defenceman to have won the league scoring title with two Art Ross Trophies. He holds the record for most points and assists in a single season by a defenceman. Orr won a record eight consecutive Norris Trophies as the NHL's best defenceman and three consecutive Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player (MVP). Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 at age 31, the youngest to be inducted at that time. In 2017 Orr was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history. After his hockey career, he became a well-known scout for many professional teams. He also spends time talking to and mentoring young skaters.

Boston Bruins ice hockey team based in Boston, United States

The Boston Bruins are a professional ice hockey team based in Boston. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team has been in existence since 1924, and is the league's third-oldest team overall and the oldest in the United States. It is also an Original Six franchise, along with the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cup championships, tied for fourth most of all-time with the Blackhawks and tied second-most of any American NHL team also with the Blackhawks.

Park was made the alternate captain of the Rangers and briefly served as their captain. In 1972, despite the loss of leading team scorer Jean Ratelle with a broken ankle, Park led his team to defeat the defending champions Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. The Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to Orr and the Boston Bruins, and Park finished runner-up for the Norris Trophy. When the upstart World Hockey Association tried to lure Park away, the Rangers re-signed him to a $200,000-a-year contract that made him, briefly, the highest-paid player in the NHL. [4]

The 1971–72 NHL season was the 55th season of the National Hockey League. Fourteen teams each played 78 games. The Boston Bruins beat the New York Rangers four games to two for their second Stanley Cup in three seasons in the finals.

Jean Ratelle Canadian ice hockey player

Joseph Gilbert Yvon Jean Ratelle is a former Canadian ice hockey player and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. In twenty-one seasons he averaged almost a point a game and won the Lady Byng Trophy twice in recognition of his great sportsmanship. In 2017 he was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.

Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League team in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Montreal Canadiens are a professional ice hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).

In the 1972 Summit Series, with Orr unable to play due to injury, Park emerged as a key contributor to Team Canada's series over the Soviets, being named the MVP of the deciding Game Eight and named Best Defenceman of the series.

After opening the 197576 season with its worst start in ten years, the Rangers began unloading its high-priced veterans. Park, along with Jean Ratelle and Joe Zanussi, was traded to the Boston Bruins in a November 7, 1975 blockbuster deal that also sent Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais to the Rangers. [5] The New York press and public had felt that Park, 27 at the time, was overweight, overpaid and over the hill, as he was facing unfavourable comparisons to Denis Potvin. [6]

The 1975–76 New York Rangers season was the Rangers' 50th season of operation. The Rangers would finish in fourth in the Patrick Division and miss the playoffs.

Joseph Lawrence Zanussi is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player who played 149 games in the World Hockey Association and 87 games in the National Hockey League. Zanussi's skating ability and agility earned him the nicknames 'Crazy Legs' and 'Tazmanian Devil' and although small for a pro hockey defenseman, Zanussi was a good bodychecker and possessed a big shot. His only hockey card noted that he had a big smile. He signed originally with the Detroit Red Wings and played with the New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, and Boston Bruins. He was part of the 1975 trade that brought Phil Esposito to the Rangers and sent Brad Park and Jean Ratelle to the Bruins. Zanussi led the AHL in scoring at the time, with 19 points through 11 games.

Phil Esposito Canadian ice hockey player

Philip Anthony "Phil" Esposito, OC is a Canadian broadcaster, and former professional ice hockey executive, coach and player. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, he played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. He is considered one of the greatest players of all time, and is the older brother of fellow Hall-of-Famer Tony Esposito, a goaltender.

Boston Bruins

While Esposito and Vadnais remained effective players for the Rangers, the team remained mired at the bottom of the division after "the trade", and Rangers general manager Emile Francis was eventually fired. Contrary to expectations that the Rangers had gotten the better end of the trade, the struggling Bruins were instantly rejuvenated and soon again became one of the NHL's best teams, despite the departures of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr. [7]

Taking over the mantle of leadership from Orr, whose career was threatened by injury and who would soon leave the team, Park continued his great success under coach Don Cherry. Park had previously been an end-to-end rushing player attempting to imitate Orr, but with the Bruins he was told by Cherry to concentrate on defence. [6] Getting over his unpopularity in Boston when he was a member of the arch-rival Rangers, Park settled in well with the Bruins, [8] even hitch-hiking a ride from two teenagers at 1 am after his car ran out of gas, and Park later rewarded them with free tickets to the next Boston home game. [7] [9]

From 1977-79, Cherry's "Lunch Pail A.C." captured three division titles for the Bruins. Park earned two First All-Star Team selections, while coming in second in the Norris Trophy race twice in a Bruins' uniform, with 1977-78 being considered one of his finest seasons. [3] In 1977 and 1978, Park was a key contributor to Boston's back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens both times. His last highlight with Boston came in Game 7 of the Adams [10] Division finals against the Buffalo Sabres in the 1983 playoffs, when Park scored the game-winning goal in overtime and help Boston advance in to the conference finals — Park's career overlapped with the first four years of the emerging superstar defenceman of the Bruins, Raymond Bourque, from 1979 to 1983.

Detroit Red Wings

The following season Park signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent and won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance that same year, having set a record for assists by a Red Wings' defenceman. After the 1985 season, still an effective player but hobbled by repeated knee injuries, he announced his retirement. The next year, he briefly served as Detroit's coach.

Retirement and personal life

In 1988, Park was elected in his first year of eligibility to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his hometown of Toronto.

Park has resided on the North Shore of Massachusetts and on Sebago Lake in Maine for almost 40 years, with his wife Gerry. [11] He has five children and six grandchildren. His autobiography, Straight Shooter: The Brad Park Story, was published in August, 2012.

Honours and achievements

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

   Regular season   Playoffs
Season TeamLeagueGP G A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1965–66 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 3301414481410138
1966–67 Toronto MarlborosOHA-Jr.284151973843717
1967–68 Toronto MarlborosOHA-Jr.51103343120506637
1968–69 New York Rangers NHL 54323267040227
1968–69 Buffalo Bisons AHL 172121449
1969–70 New York RangersNHL6011263798512311
1970–71 New York RangersNHL68737441141304442
1971–72 New York RangersNHL7524497313016471121
1972–73 New York RangersNHL5210435351102578
1973–74 New York RangersNHL7825578214813481238
1974–75 New York RangersNHL6513445710431452
1975–76 New York RangersNHL1324623
1975–76 Boston Bruins NHL431637539511381114
1976–77 Boston BruinsNHL771255676714210124
1977–78 Boston BruinsNHL8022577979159112014
1978–79 Boston BruinsNHL407323910111458
1979–80 Boston BruinsNHL325162127103694
1980–81 Boston BruinsNHL78145266111313411
1981–82 Boston BruinsNHL7514425682111454
1982–83 Boston BruinsNHL761026368216391218
1983–84 Detroit Red Wings NHL80553588530330
1984–85 Detroit Red WingsNHL6713304353300011
NHL totals111321368389614291613590125217


YearTeamEvent GPGAPtsPIM
1972 Canada SS81452

Coaching statistics

TeamYear Regular season Post season
Detroit Red Wings 1985–86 459342(40)5th in NorrisMissed playoffs

See also

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  1. "100 Greatest NHL Players". January 27, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  2. "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  3. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2013-05-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Bruins Trade Esposito To Rangers In 5 Player Deal," The Associated Press, Saturday, November 8, 1975.
  5. 1 2 Kirshenbaum, Jerry. "Boston's Favorite Park Is Not Fenway," Sports Illustrated, December 6, 1976.
  6. 1 2
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-03. Retrieved 2009-08-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
André Veilleux
New York Rangers first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Bob Dickson
Preceded by
Lanny McDonald
Bill Masterton Trophy winner
Succeeded by
Anders Hedberg
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Vic Hadfield
New York Rangers captain
Succeeded by
Phil Esposito
Preceded by
Harry Neale
Head coach of the Detroit Red Wings
Succeeded by
Jacques Demers