Today in Boston Bruins History: June 9
1979: Pat Leahy (full name Patrick Donald Leahy) is born in Boston, Massachusetts. Leahy was not drafted by his hometown team; he was selected by the New York Rangers in 1998. He played at Miami University for four years and went pro in 2001, playing for four different teams that year! He settled with the Providence Bruins and signed with the Boston Bruins the following season. He made his NHL debut in 2003-04, but fizzled at first, so went back to Providence to hone his game. He honed it enough to earn a spot on the 2005-06 starting roster, where he scored his first goal in October 2005, an unassisted tally. But in 2006, he went to the Nashville Predators, signing with them for a year as a free agent and spending time with their AHL club in Milwaukee. The next season, he couldn’t secure an NHL gig, so he took his craft over to Austria, where he still is today.
1982: The NHL holds the 1982 Entry Draft at the Montreal Forum. The Bruins have the first pick in this draft–here’s more about everyone they selected.
Gord Kluzak (1st overall): Kluzak only played 299 NHL games in his entire career, a career shortened because of chronic reoccurring knee issues. Before the NHL, before the knee issues, Kluzak did bring Canada glory at the 1982 World Junior Championships, where Canada stormed to their first gold medal and beat the Soviet Union 7-0 in the process. No one expected Canada to win that year, so they didn’t even have a recording of O Canada to play at the medal ceremony. No problem–Kluzak and his teammates just sang the anthem instead. He missed an entire season because of knee surgery, then injured that same knee again after one full season and missed yet another year. But he did have one really good year, 1987-88, where he played 66 games, scored 37 points and went to the Stanley Cup Final. However, the knee problems reoccurred, necessitating 11 surgeries and holding him to just 13 more games before his retirement in 1990. After retiring, he went to Harvard and got a degree in economics, plus an MBA a few years later, and spent time in the financial sector before coming back to the Bruins as a color commentator and studio analyst.
Brian Curran (22nd overall): Curran joined the Bruins in 1983-84 and played for three seasons in Boston. He was more of a pugilist than a goal-scorer: in 1985-86, for example, he played 43 games, scored seven points and put together 192 penalty minutes. He continued this penchant for pugilism with his next teams, the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals. After some time spent in the minors and the IHL, he retired and went to coaching many different teams in various leagues–today he is the head coach and general manager of the Drumheller Dragons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Lyndon Byers (39th overall): Byers came up to the Bruins in 1983-84 and spent time bouncing between the parent and minor club, putting up points here and there but mostly racking up the penalty minutes. His best statistical season in every way was 1987-88–most games played, most goals (10), assists (14) and points (24), best plus/minus (+10) and most penalty minutes (236). That year, he also appeared in the Stanley Cup Final. His main goal, though, was to protect the star players like Ray Bourque. He spent a season with the San Jose Sharks and closed out his career with an IHL team before going into morning radio back in Boston. He’s also appeared on Rescue Me.
Dave Reid (60th overall): Reid joined the Bruins in 1983-84 too and spent time between the parent and minor clubs too, just like Byers. He was more of a goal-scorer, though, generally scoring at least 10 goals a season until his time with the Bruins dwindled and ended in 1988-89 with a trade to the Maple Leafs. However, after three seasons in Canada, he returned to Boston for five more years and followed up with a three-year stint in Dallas that brought him his first Stanley Cup. He followed that with another Cup in 2001 as part of the Colorado Avalanche and retired after that, much like Bourque did. After hockey, he went into broadcasting and commentary, but now he is the general manager of the Peterborough Petes.
Bob Nicholson (102nd overall): Not much is known about Nicholson.
Bob Sweeney (123rd overall): Born in Boxborough, Mass., Sweeney was drafted out of high school and played four years at Boston College before going pro. His first full year in Boston was 1987-88, when they went to the Stanley Cup Final but were swept by the Edmonton Oilers. After six years with the Bruins, Sweeney went to the Sabres in 1992 and the Islanders in 1995. A trade to the Calgary Flames inspired Sweeney to retire from the NHL, but not from hockey yet–he played in the IHL and German leagues for a time too until he truly retired in 2001. Now he coaches a junior team in the Haverhill area and is the director of development for the Boston Bruins Foundation.
John Meulenbroeks (144th overall): Not much is known about Meulenbroeks.
Tony Fiore (165th overall): Not much is known about Fiore.
Doug Kostynski (186th overall): Kostynski played just 15 games over two seasons with Boston, spending most of his time in the AHL system and a two-year career in the Finnish leagues.
Tommy Lehmann (228th overall): Not much is known about Lehmann.
Bruno Campese (249th overall): Not much is known about Campese.
1984: The 1984 Entry Draft is held at the Montreal Forum and is televised for the first time on CBC. Fun trivia–this is when Tom Glavine was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings. Glavine, who grew up a Bruins fan in Massachusetts, decided to go into baseball instead of hockey and is a big star in the Atlanta Braves firmament. Today he coaches his son’s minor hockey team in Atlanta and appeared in one ECHL Gwinnett Gladiators game in 2010, wearing the same number as he did in baseball. But here’s more about the Bruins’ selections that year.
Dave Pasin (19th overall): Pasin played for just one season with Boston, putting up 37 points in 71 games. He spent much of his time, even after a trade to Los Angeles, in the minors. Eventually he skipped North America altogether and went to Italy to try his hand at the Italian and Swiss leagues for some time.
Ray Podloski (40th overall): Podloski appeared in eight games for the Bruins. Like Pasin, he spent much of his time in the minors before heading over to Europe. But Podloski went to a lot more places–Germany, Austria, Italy, Denmark–before hanging up the skates in 2001-02.
Jeff Cornelius (61st overall): Not much is known about Cornelius.
Bob Joyce (82nd overall): When Joyce was drafted, he was playing with the University of North Dakota and had set a record for goals in a season with 52. After drafting, he spent two full seasons and part of a third in Boston, including the 1987-88 Stanley Cup Final appearance. He had his most productive season as a Bruin, but was traded in 1989-90 to the Washington Capitals and then, after one full year with them, to the old Winnipeg Jets. After his time in the NHL, he spent time in the old IHL and in the German leagues.
Mike Bishop (103rd overall):
Randy Oswald (124th overall):
Mark Thietke (145th overall): Not much is known about these three players.
Don Sweeney (166th overall): Sweeney’s first year with the Bruins was 1988-89, but the following year was when he rode all the way to the Stanley Cup Final with Boston. He remained faithful to Boston, though, for a decade and a half. In total, he played 1,051 games with the Bruins, one of only two defensemen at the time to have played more than 1,000 in the black and gold. He spent one season in Dallas before retiring in 2003-04. After retirement, he did commentary for NESN and college hockey games, then joined the Bruins’ front office in 2006 as director of player development. From there he has been promoted–today he is assistant general manager and has his name on the Stanley Cup.
Kevin Heffernan (186th overall):
J. D. Urbanic (207th overall):
Bill Kopecky (227th overall):
Jim Newhouse (248th overall): Not much is known about these four players.
2011: Bruins fans send their team off to Vancouver again for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
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