Don Ashby

Don Ashby was an incredible junior player with the Calgary Centennials, where his teammates included Mike Rogers, Danny Gare, Jim Watson and Grant Mulvey. Ashby had an incredible final season of junior in 1974-75. He scored 52 goals and 68 assists for an amazing 120 points! Such a great season coupled with his obvious scoring prowress encouraged the Toronto Maple Leafs to draft Don in the first round, 6th overall in 1975.

However Don Ashby would become known as a first round bust rather than a success story. He was never able to join the likes of Lanny McDonald, Tiger Williams and Darryl Sittler as one of the young guns that gave Leaf fans eternal hope in the late 1970s.

Ashby floundered in his first year, scoring just 6 goals in 50 games. He spent the end of his disappointing season in the minor leagues.

Ashby played a full season in the NHL in 1976-77, scoring 19 goals and 42 assists, but spent most of the next season back in the minor leagues. Frustrated with the way things were going, Ashbee retired for the majority of the 1978-79 season , though returned when the Leafs promised to trade him. The trade came in March 1979 as Ashby went to the lowly Colorado Rockies.

Ashby didn't do much better in Colorado. he only played in 23 games in two years, and again, much to his dismay, he spent most of his time in the minor leagues.

Late in the 1979-80 season Don was traded to Edmonton in exchange for veteran Bobby Schmautz. Ashby finished the season nicely, soring 10 goals and 9 assists in 18 games, seeing some time with 18 year old phenom Wayne Gretzky.

Yet the following season Don was in the minors again. Despite scoring 5 points in 6 NHL games, Don was once again in the CHL, a place he had grown not to like. Only this time was different. Perhaps he was maturing or perhaps he finally found a coach that was not as hard on him for his shortcomings, as Don had his best year since junior. He exploded for 36 goals and 96 points in 70 games! In addition, he scored 9 goals and 16 assists for 25 points in 18 playoff games as the Wichita Wind appeared in the Adams Cup finals, only to lose to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles in the 7th and deciding game..

Less than two weeks after the end of the 80/81 Adams Cup playoffs, the C.H.L. was shocked by the tragic automobile accident that claimed the life of the Kamloops born Ashby, and his wife Terry.


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