Doug Wickenheiser

Last updated
Doug Wickenheiser
Doug Wickenheiser 1988.JPG
Wickenheiser in 1988
Born(1961-03-30)March 30, 1961
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died January 12, 1999(1999-01-12) (aged 37)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 196 lb (89 kg; 14 st 0 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Montreal Canadiens
St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks
New York Rangers
Washington Capitals
NHL Draft 1st overall, 1980
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 19801994

Douglas Peter Wickenheiser (March 30, 1961 – January 12, 1999) was a Canadian ice hockey player, who was drafted first overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft.

Contents

Career

Wickenheiser was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. A superstar in Major Junior hockey with the Regina Pats, he led the Western Hockey League in goal scoring (89) during the 1979–80 WHL season, captained the Pats to a berth in the Memorial Cup, and was the CHL Player of the Year. Wickenheiser was rated by The Hockey News as the top draft prospect in 1980 and was subsequently selected first overall by the Montreal Canadiens. Many Canadiens' fans, particularly French Canadian fans who desperately wanted the club to select francophone star Denis Savard, were unhappy with the selection, and Montreal media attention soon turned negative. While Wickenheiser struggled to adjust to the NHL game, Savard (drafted third overall) would quickly become a superstar with the Chicago Blackhawks, further angering some Montreal fans.

In his fourth season with the Canadiens, the club lost patience with Wickenheiser's slow development and traded him to the St. Louis Blues. Probably his most famous moment with the Blues was during the 1985–86 playoffs in a game dubbed the "Monday Night Miracle" on May 12, 1986, when after St. Louis made a large comeback against the Calgary Flames, Wickenheiser scored the overtime winner to force a Game 7 in the Campbell Conference Finals. The Blues would however, lose the deciding game 2–1.

During his NHL career, Wickenheiser also played for the Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, but did not play in the NHL after the 1989-90 season, spending his last four professional seasons in the minors and overseas. In 556 games, he scored 111 goals and 165 assists.

Wickenheiser playing for the New York Rangers in 1988 Doug Wickenheiser 1988 (2).JPG
Wickenheiser playing for the New York Rangers in 1988

Cancer

In August 1994, Wickenheiser had an epithelioid sarcoma (a rare form of cancer), [1] which he had first noticed four years earlier, removed from his wrist. Three years later, in October 1997, the cancer came back and had spread to his lungs, at which point it was inoperable. He died on January 12, 1999, at the age of 37 in St. Louis. He is survived by his wife and three daughters. His life story was remembered in the book The Last Face Off: The Doug Wickenheiser Story written in March 2000 by Ted Pepple, Wickenheiser's father-in-law. The Mid-States Club Hockey Association, the governing body for high school hockey in St. Louis, named their championship trophy for small school/second division teams in his honor.

Legacy

An arena in his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan, has been named Doug Wickenheiser Arena in his honor. The arena is located at the corner of Arnason St. and Rochdale Blvd. in the city's northwest corner.

The Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy which is awarded annually by the Western Hockey League to its humanitarian of the year was renamed in 2001 in honour of Wickenheiser.

The Blues have not reissued Wickenheiser's #14 since his death, though it has not been formally retired. Blues' players wore a special helmet decal with the wick of a candle and the number 14 during parts of the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons. In 1999, a banner with that logo, which became the symbol of The Fourteen Fund, the official Blues charity established in his memory, was permanently placed in the rafters at the Blues' home arena, the Kiel Center (now the Enterprise Center). The emblem was worn by all NHL players in the 1999 NHL All-Star Game, and was also sold to the public for a small donation and became a popular trend among youth hockey players in St. Louis. One of the two high school state championships played at Enterprise Center is named after him.

Personal life

Wickenheiser was the cousin of former Canadian national team player and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Hayley Wickenheiser.

Career statistics

   Regular season   Playoffs
Season TeamLeagueGP G A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1976–77 Regina Blues SJHL 5942468863
1977–78 Regina Pats WCHL 6837518849134594
1978–79 Regina PatsWHL68326294141
1979–80 Regina PatsWHL718981170991814264020
1979–80 Regina Pats MC 41458
1980–81 Montreal Canadiens NHL 41781520
1981–82 Montreal CanadiensNHL5612233543
1982–83 Montreal CanadiensNHL7825305549
1983–84 Montreal CanadiensNHL2755106
1983–84 St. Louis Blues NHL467212819112242
1984–85 St. Louis BluesNHL6823204336
1985–86 St. Louis BluesNHL3681119161925712
1986–87 St. Louis BluesNHL801315283760002
1987–88 Vancouver Canucks NHL807192636
1988–89 Canada Intl267152240
1988–89 New York Rangers NHL11010
1988–89 Flint Spirits IHL 2197168
1988–89 Washington Capitals NHL16257450002
1988–89 Baltimore Skipjacks AHL 20550
1989–90 Washington CapitalsNHL2718920
1989–90 Baltimore SkipjacksAHL3591928221225722
1990–91 HC Asiago ITA 352532579
1991–92EHC Unna DEU.3 81462036
1991–92SV Bayreuth DEU.2 44376
1991–92 Klagenfurter AC AUT 2271219
1992–93 Peoria Rivermen IHL803045753040222
1993–94 Fort Wayne Komets IHL7322375922142244
NHL totals55611116527628641471118

Awards

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References

  1. Luecking, Dave (January 13, 1999). "Doug Wickenheiser, Former Player for the Blues, Dies from Cancer". St Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
Preceded by
Pierre Lacroix
CHL Player of the Year
1980
Succeeded by
Dale Hawerchuk
Preceded by
Rob Ramage
NHL first overall draft pick
1980
Succeeded by
Dale Hawerchuk
Preceded by
Dave Hunter
Montreal Canadiens first round draft pick
1980
Succeeded by
Mark Hunter