Dan Maloney

"I never counted the number of fights I've been in or how many I won or lost. It doesn't matter how many fights you win, anyway. It's how many times you show up for them that counts." - Dan Maloney

This Irishman may have been quiet and soft-spoken off the ice but on the ice he was anything but. Dan Maloney was a charismatic leader who always stuck up for his teammates. As a result he was he was always popular in the dressing room wherever he played.

Dan grew up in Barrie, Ontario as the youngest of nine children. He played his junior hockey for the Markham Waxers and the Toronto sponsored London Knights. There he played on the same line as future Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler. In his final junior season Dan chipped in with 31 goals and 232 PIMs in 54 games.

The Chicago Black Hawks liked Dan's rugged play and claimed him in the 1970 amateur draft (1st choice,14th overall). Dan quickly established himself as one of the leagues premier pugilists. He won some memorable fights as a rookie, but he also contributed offensively. Over the years Dan fought the toughest players and won many of his fights, even though a serious shoulder injury slowed him down a bit in later years. He was never afraid to drop 'em. His fearless attitude was his greatest ally in the NHL trenches.

Late in the 1972-73 season, Chicago was in desperate search for a veteran center. Chicago's own superstar center, Stan Mikita was out with a broken left heel. Chicago offered Toronto Dan Maloney for future HOF'er Norm Ullman but Ullman had a clause in his contract which gave him the right to veto any deals. Ullman refused to join the Hawks, so instead Dan went to Los Angeles in exchange for Ralph Backstrom.

Dan's stint in LA lasted little over two years. He had a career high 66 points (27goals and 39 assists) in 1974-75. Bob Pulford, the coach behind the Kings bench, considered Dan to be one of his key players. But when owner Jack Kent Cooke signed free agent Marcel Dionne from Detroit, Dan and defenseman Terry Harper were shipped to Michigan as compensation in 1975.

"Losing Maloney was a big blow to what we were trying to accomplish in LA. He was our leader, a much respected player," Pulford said.

In his first season with the Red Wings Dan equaled his career high 66 points In Detroit he quickly became GM Ted Lindsay's favorite player and became the team captain. Lindsay, who himself was one of the toughest players of his era, appreciated Dan's similar style of play.

On November 5, 1975 in a game between Detroit and Toronto, Dan pounced on Maple Leafs defenseman Brian Glennie from behind. He dropped Glennie with a punch, hit him several more times, then repeatedly lifted and dropped Glennie by the scruff of his neck, causing his head to strike the ice. Glennie was hospitalized with a concussion.

Dan was charged with assault to cause bodily harm for his attack. He was the first NHL player charged under the 1976 crackdown on hockey violence ordered by Ontario Attorney-General Roy McMurtry. Dan was eventually acquitted of the charges by a jury in this widely publicized two-week Toronto trial in the summer of 1976. However he wasn't allowed to play in Toronto for the next two years.

Ironically enough Toronto is the place where Dan would be traded to in 1978. The complicated deal saw Dan go to Toronto with Detroit's 2nd round choice (Craig Muni) in the 1980 Entry Draft for Errol Thompson and Toronto's 1st (Brent Peterson) and 2nd (Al Jensen) round choices in the 1978 draft and Toronto's 1st round choice (Mike Blaisdell) in the 1980 draft.

The first player who greeted Dan when he entered the Maple Leafs dressing room for the first time was Brian Glennie who had no hard feelings towards Dan for the incident that took place almost three years earlier. Dan of course welcomed the opportunity to play for Toronto.

"I was making Detroit my year-round home and enjoying my life there, where I felt a part of the community," Dan said back then. "The Wings were building with young players. But moving to the Leafs was a great chance for me, jumping to a club that's a contender with a good shot at some big things. "If I had to be traded, Toronto is the spot I would have wanted to come. My hometown is Barrie, which is 40 miles away, and my family is there."

Not only Dan was excited to land in Toronto, Leafs GM Jim Gregory said. " A big need on our team was a tough, aggressive left winger and no one filled the bill better than Maloney."

Coach Roger Neilson said "With Dan, Tiger Williams and Pat Boutette on our team, left wing is probably our toughest position, physically."

Bruins coach Don Cherry, a noted expert on hockey's tough guys, was envious.

"At the time the trade was made, I said that it was a good one for the Leafs. They picked up a good, tough, experienced winger who fitted right in with what the team was trying to do."

Dan was immediately reunited on a line with his junior line mate Sittler and Lanny McDonald and helped Toronto reach the Stanley Cup semifinals for the first time in 11 years. Dan eventually played in Toronto until his retirement in 1982.

Dan was certainly no speed demon on his skates, but he worked very hard to improve his skating. He lacked the natural scorer's touch around the net and had to work hard for everything he accomplished. His strength wasn't only his right and left fists but also his overall work ethic and leadership qualities. Dan was a really good cornerman and stood his ground around the enemy net.


dsd,  1:49 PM  

One of the worst trades made by the Leafs was the Maloney deal. Maloney for Errol Thompson straight up was questionable, never mind the draft picks Detroit got. The Leafs were robbed on this one. Neilson's biggest failing as the Leafs coach was his penchant for slow-footed, plodding players.

Thompson was lightning-fast and a consistent scorer who could produce 40-50 goals playing with Sittler and McDonald. Having a slug like Maloney only slowed the Sittler line down and hurt its production. Team speed was always the Leaf's biggest problem in those days and Nielson's desire to get rid of people like Turnbull and Thompson was his undoing in Toronto.

Mike Dragonetti 7:08 PM  

What's Dan doing with himself these days? Anybody know?

Anonymous,  10:13 AM  

DsD is obviously smoking crack. The Leafs problems in those days were keeping up with the rougher teams. The Flyers, Bruins and even the Islanders would batter the Leafs. Thompson was a moody one dimensional player who only had two 30+ goal seasons and one 55+ point seasons. Maloney was needed and produced just as good or not better than Errol.

His defense and physical play was needed and the Leafs went further in the playoffs with Maloney than Thompson

Anonymous,  1:22 PM  

Dan sells Real Estate in the Barrie Area,still well respected and still draws a crowd at Barrie Colt hockey games as he is a season ticket holder KP.

ken knapton ( knapper),  9:22 AM  

Dan Maloney was an aggresive hard nosed hockey player who protected his teammates no matter who he had to drop the gloves with!! he played Oldtimers with me in Barrie and is still today a great friend and a man who is well respected by all hockey players!1

Ken Knapton ( Knapper)

Reed (Moose) Ellis,  7:53 PM  

I had the privelege of playing hockey with Dan as a midget player. Dan always had something special. We had more skilled players on our team(I wasn't one of them), but no one worked harder than Dan. I observed him one night on an outdoor rink in our neighborhood shooting and skating under the lights all by himself. Over and over he would skate and shoot, skate and shoot. What ever he lacked in skill was made up for by ten fold in heart and desire. I will take heart and desire any day over skill and no heart. I am proud of Dan's accomplishments, and the respect he received from his NHL peers throughout the league.

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