Brad Park

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Brad Park
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1988
Brad Park 1970s.jpg
Park in the 1970s
Born(1948-07-06) July 6, 1948 (age 66)
Toronto, ON, CAN
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
PositionDefence
ShotLeft
Played forNew York Rangers
Boston Bruins
Detroit Red Wings
National team Canada
NHL Draft2nd overall, 1966
New York Rangers
Playing career1968–1985
 
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Brad Park
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1988
Brad Park 1970s.jpg
Park in the 1970s
Born(1948-07-06) July 6, 1948 (age 66)
Toronto, ON, CAN
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
PositionDefence
ShotLeft
Played forNew York Rangers
Boston Bruins
Detroit Red Wings
National team Canada
NHL Draft2nd overall, 1966
New York Rangers
Playing career1968–1985

Douglas Bradford Park (born July 6, 1948) is a retired ice hockey defenceman who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Playing career[edit]

Park was drafted by the New York Rangers in the first round (second overall) in the 1966 NHL Amateur Draft and, after a brief stint with the minor-league Buffalo Bisons of the AHL, began playing for the Rangers in 1968.

New York Rangers[edit]

Park quickly became the Rangers' best defenceman and drew comparisons with the great Bobby Orr, as both were credited with revolutionizing the "offensive" defenceman. Park's offensive skill, stickhandling and pugnacity attracted much attention from fans. Park and Orr occasionally fought each other on ice, and fans and sportswriters fueled the rivalry by making frequent comparisons, not least as the Rangers and Boston Bruins were bitter opponents. Years afterward, Park remarked "I saw no reason to be upset because I was rated second to Bobby Orr. After all, Orr not only was the top defenseman in the game but he was considered the best player ever to put on a pair of skates. There was nothing insulting about being rated number two to such a super superstar."[1]

Park was made the alternate captain of the Rangers and briefly served as their captain. In 1972, despite the loss of leading team scorer Jean Ratelle with a broken ankle, Park led his team to defeat the defending champions Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. The Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to Orr and the Boston Bruins, and Park finished runner-up for the Norris Trophy. When the upstart World Hockey Association tried to lure Park away, the Rangers re-signed him to a $200,000-a-year contract that made him, briefly, the highest-paid player in the NHL.[2]

In the 1972 Summit Series, with Orr unable to play due to injury, Park emerged as a key contributor to Team Canada's series over the Soviets, being named the MVP of the deciding Game Eight and named Best Defenceman of the series.

In 1975–76, the Rangers got off to their worst start in ten years and the team began getting rid of their high-priced veterans. On November 7, 1975, one of the biggest trades of the era was made. Park, star centre Jean Ratelle and defenceman Joe Zanussi were traded to Boston for superstar scoring champion Phil Esposito and defenceman Carol Vadnais. The New York press and public had felt that Park, 27 at the time, was overweight, overpaid, and over the hill, as he was facing comparisons to the New York Islanders' Denis Potvin.[3]

Boston Bruins[edit]

While Esposito and Vadnais remained effective players for the Rangers, that team remained mired at the bottom of the division after the trade, and Rangers general manager Emile Francis was eventually fired. Contrary to expectations that the Rangers had gotten the better end of the trade, the struggling Bruins were instantly rejuvenated and soon again became one of the NHL's best teams, despite the departures of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr.[4]

Taking over the mantle of leadership from Orr, whose career was threatened by injury and who would soon leave the team, Park continued his great success under coach Don Cherry. Park had previously been an end-to-end rushing player attempting to imitate Orr, but with the Bruins he was told by Cherry to concentrate on defence.[3] Getting over his unpopularity in Boston when he was a member of the arch-rival Rangers, Park settled in well with the Bruins,[5] even hitch-hiking a ride from two teenagers at 1 am after his car ran out of gas, and Park later rewarded them with free tickets to the next Boston home game.[4]

From 1977-79, Cherry's "Lunch Pail A.C." captured three division titles for the Bruins. Park earned two First All-Star Team selections, while coming in second in the Norris Trophy race twice in a Bruins' uniform, with 1977-78 being considered one of his finest seasons.[1] In 1977 and 1978, Park was a key contributor to Boston's back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens both times. His last highlight with Boston came in Game 7 of the Patrick Division finals against the Buffalo Sabres in the 1983 playoffs, when Park scored the game-winning goal in overtime and help Boston advance in to the conference finals.

Detroit Red Wings[edit]

The following season Park signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent and won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance that same year, having set a record for assists by a Red Wings' defenceman. After the 1985 season, still an effective player but hobbled by repeated knee injuries, he announced his retirement. The next year he briefly served as Detroit's coach.

Retirement and personal life[edit]

In 1988, Park was elected in his first year of eligibility to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his hometown of Toronto.

Park has resided on the North Shore of Massachusetts for almost 30 years, with his wife Gerry. He has five children and four grandchildren. His autobiography, Straight Shooter: The Brad Park Story, was published in August, 2012.

Honors and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

  Regular season Playoffs
SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIMGPGAPtsPIM
1965–66Toronto MarlborosOHA330141448
1966–67Toronto MarlborosOHA284151973
1967–68Toronto MarlborosOHA50103343120
1968–69Buffalo BisonsAHL172121449
1968–69New York RangersNHL54323267040227
1969–70New York RangersNHL6011263798512311
1970–71New York RangersNHL68737441141304442
1971–72New York RangersNHL7524497313016471121
1972–73New York RangersNHL5210435351102578
1973–74New York RangersNHL7825578214813481238
1974–75New York RangersNHL6513445710431452
1975–76New York RangersNHL1324623
1975–76Boston BruinsNHL431637539511381114
1976–77Boston BruinsNHL771255676714210124
1977–78Boston BruinsNHL8022577979159112014
1978–79Boston BruinsNHL407323910111458
1979–80Boston BruinsNHL325162127103694
1980–81Boston BruinsNHL78145266111313411
1981–82Boston BruinsNHL7514425682111454
1982–83Boston BruinsNHL761026368216391218
1983–84Detroit Red WingsNHL80553588530330
1984–85Detroit Red WingsNHL6713304353300011
18 seasonsNHL total111321368389614291613590125217

Coaching statistics[edit]

TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
GWLTPtsFinishResult
Detroit Red Wings1985-86459342(40)5th in NorrisMissed playoffs

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
André Veilleux
New York Rangers first round draft pick
1966
Succeeded by
Bob Dickson
Preceded by
Lanny McDonald
Bill Masterton Trophy winner
1984
Succeeded by
Anders Hedberg
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Vic Hadfield
New York Rangers captain
197475
Succeeded by
Phil Esposito
Preceded by
Harry Neale
Head coach of the Detroit Red Wings
1985–86
Succeeded by
Jacques Demers