Tiger Williams

Last updated
Tiger Williams
Tiger Williams2.jpg
Williams in 2008
Born (1954-02-03) February 3, 1954 (age 67)
Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Forward
Shot Left
Played for Toronto Maple Leafs
Vancouver Canucks
Detroit Red Wings
Los Angeles Kings
Hartford Whalers
NHL Draft 31st overall, 1974
Toronto Maple Leafs
WHA Draft 33rd overall, 1974
Cincinnati Stingers
Playing career 19741988

David James "Tiger" Williams (born February 3, 1954) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) from the 1974–75 NHL season to the 1987–88 NHL season. He is the NHL's career leader in penalty minutes.


NHL career

Williams was drafted in the second round (31st overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL in the 1974 NHL amateur draft. He was also drafted by the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association (WHA) in the third round (33rd overall) in the 1974 WHA Amateur Draft, but he chose instead to play in the NHL.

Williams was best known for his role as an enforcer, but he was also able to score goals. He played on five different NHL teams during his career. He was drafted by the Maple Leafs and played there from his NHL debut on 7 January against the New York Islanders in 1975 until he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on 18 February, 1980 for Rick Vaive and Bill Derlago. While in Toronto, he broke many Maple Leaf and NHL penalty minute records and led the league in penalty minutes twice with 338 in 1976–77 and 298 in 1978–79. While it seemed that he lived in the "sin bin", he was able to score his fair share of goals. During his best season in Toronto, he scored 22 goals in 55 games before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks part way through that season. He scored 8 more goals in 23 games that season with Vancouver for, at that time, a career best 30 goals.

The next season, 1980–81, in Vancouver, Williams scored a career high of 35 goals and 62 points while amassing a league leading 343 penalty minutes in 77 games. The 343 penalty minutes would be the third highest of his career. Those 35 goals were the most by any Canuck that year. That season, Williams earned a place in the mid-season All-Star game, having scored 27 goals by the All-Star break, and played on a line with Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy. He would play an integral role in the team's surprise run to the Stanley Cup finals in 1982. Williams played in Vancouver until the end of the 1983–84 season.

After Vancouver, Williams played for the Detroit Red Wings for part of the 1984–85 NHL season before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings that same year. During his tenure in Los Angeles, he would set his career high of 358 penalty minutes for one season. He would play in Los Angeles until he was traded to the Hartford Whalers during the 1987–88 NHL season. That would also be his last NHL season as Hartford placed him on waivers and he was released on February 12, 1988. He officially retired in 1988.

Williams was nicknamed "Tiger" as a 5-year-old by his minor hockey coach in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. He also appeared as himself in the first episode of the Canadian sitcom Rent-a-Goalie . Bryan Trottier credits Williams with talking him out of giving up hockey as a youngster, which eventually led to a Hall of Fame career with the New York Islanders. [1]

After the NHL

Williams with the 2008 All-Star Legends in Toronto Tiger Williams.jpg
Williams with the 2008 All-Star Legends in Toronto

Co-written by James Lawton, Williams published his autobiography, Tiger: A Hockey Story in 1984. In 1987, Williams released a 101-page cookbook called Done Like Dinner: Tiger In the Kitchen. It was co-written with Kasey Wilson. It included many hockey-inspired recipes, including Habs Tourtière, Stanley Cup Bars, and Luc Robitaille's Lasagna Omelette.

Williams re-emerged briefly as a roller hockey player, appearing in one game, scoring two points, for the RHI's Vancouver Voodoo in 1993.

In 1996, Canadian punk rock band The Hanson Brothers spearheaded a campaign to agitate for Williams' induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. They included a mail-in postcard with their album Sudden Death so that purchasers could make their feelings known to the NHL.[ citation needed ]

As a guest on the Tony Gallagher phone in radio program Williams claimed that then Canucks manager Pat Quinn attempted to have his Canucks #22 sweater retired by the team. However, due to arcane rules required at the time they had to receive permission from the previous player who wore it, Bob Manno. Manno refused so the team offered him money, according to Williams. Manno still refused.[ citation needed ] The #22 sweater was eventually worn (and later retired in honour of) from 2000 to 2018 by Canucks alternate captain and Art Ross trophy winner, Daniel Sedin.

At the 2002 NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles, the NHL held the NHL All-Star Celebrity Challenge. The home team all wore #22 in honour of Williams.

On February 9, 2018, Williams was charged with sexual assault while on a military trip to Latvia. [2] These charges were withdrawn by Crown attorney Meaghan Cunningham after he issued an apology. [3]


Career statistics

Figures in Italics are records broken in that category

   Regular season   Playoffs
Season TeamLeagueGP G A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1971–72 Swift Current Broncos WCHL 68122234278
1972–73 Swift Current BroncosWCHL684458102266
1973–74 Swift Current BroncosWCHL6652561083101214102423
1974–75 Oklahoma City Blazers CHL 39161127202
1974–75 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 42101929187713425
1975–76 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL782119402991000075
1976–77 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL77182543338936929
1977–78 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL781931503511212363
1978–79 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL77192039298600048
1979–80 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL55221840197
1979–80 Vancouver Canucks NHL23851381300020
1980–81 Vancouver CanucksNHL77352762343300020
1981–82 Vancouver CanucksNHL77172138341173710116
1982–83 Vancouver CanucksNHL6881321265403312
1983–84 Vancouver CanucksNHL67151631294410113
1984–85 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 85274
1984–85 Detroit Red Wings NHL553811163
1984–85 Los Angeles Kings NHL124374330004
1985–86 Los Angeles KingsNHL72202949320
1986–87 Los Angeles KingsNHL76161834358532530
1987–88 Los Angeles KingsNHL20006
1987–88 Hartford Whalers NHL2660687
NHL totals962241272513397183122335455

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  1. "JIGGS MCDONALD: How Tiger saved Bryan and other stories. - Slapshot Diaries". 3 June 2015.
  2. Amanda Connoly (February 9, 2018). "Dave 'Tiger' Williams, former Maple Leafs player, charged with sexual assault after military trip to Latvia". Global News. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  3. Campion-Smith, Bruce. "Sex assault charges against Dave 'Tiger' Williams withdrawn after apology". The Toronto Star. Retrieved May 7, 2019.