Stuff of Legends: Dino Ciccarelli
The Hockey Guys latest installment of “Stuff of Legends”, sent in by friend Brandon Macdonald of NHL Hot Stove, takes a look at the career of Dino Ciccarelli. We hope you enjoy the latest installment.
By Brandon Macdonald
For some hockey players, the road to the NHL is not always a freshly paved path. Players have to fight their way in order to get a chance at the big show.
Dino Ciccarelli cleared his own way to a successful NHL career that didn’t lack in excitement or controversy.
He was born on February 8, 1960 in Sarina, Ontario, Canada. Ciccarelli played 19 NHL seasons, most with the Minnesota North Stars. However, he did bounce around spending time with the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers.
Scoring was not an issue for the young winger from Sarnia, Ont. Ciccarelli scored 169 goals and posted 346 points during his four seasons with Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights. But despite putting up tremendous numbers, he was passed over in the NHL draft.
Having to take the unconventional free agency road, Ciccarelli signed with the Minnesota North Stars Sept. 28, 1979. He started the following season with their affiliate team, Oklahoma City Stars, where he played 48 games and registered 57 points. After getting the call to the North Stars, Ciccarelli took full advantage, scoring 30 points in 32 games and stuck around for the playoff run where he contributed 21 points in 19 games. The North Stars fell to the New York Islanders in five games during the 1980-81 Stanley Cup final.
During his first full season with the North Stars in 1981-82, Ciccarelli would score, which would turn out to be a career-high, 55 goals.
Over his career, he would go on to have a 52 goal year, four seasons of 40-plus goals and five 30-plus which resulted in 608 career NHL tallies to go with 592 assists and 1,425 penalty minutes over a span of 1,232 games.
Ciccarelli spent nine seasons with the North Stars before being traded 65 games in to the season. He was sent to the Washington in ‘89 in a package with Bob Rouse that landed the North Stars Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy.
This was the first of four trades during Ciccarelli’s career, which saw him play in Detroit, Tampa Bay and then Florida after spending time with the Capitals.
A playoff performer is one of many hats Ciccarelli wore throughout his career. In 141 playoff games, he scored 73 goals while producing 118 points. Despite the strong numbers, he was never able to win the leagues most illustrious prize, but he did play in the finals on two occasions, with the aforementioned North Stars and in ’95 with the Red Wings.
Ciccarelli’s career was not without its blemishes. He was in trouble with the law on separate occasions, one incident that took place on the ice.
On Jan. 6, 1988, Ciccarelli was involved in an on-ice incident that landed him in jail, albeit for one night, and a $1,000 fine.
In a rough game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ciccarelli, then with the North Stars, swung his stick and hit Leafs rookie Luke Richardson over the head twice, Richardson was not injured on the play.
It was believed to be the first on-ice incident in the NHL that saw a player spend time in jail.
These days, Dino, 50, still has involvement with the game. In 1994 he purchased the Sarnia Sting, of the OHL, with his brother, Larry.
It is clear that the state of Michigan holds a place in Ciccarelli’s heart. He owns Club 22, which is a retro dance club in Michigan. The club is named after the most prominent number Ciccarelli wore during his career.
After averaging nearly a point per game in 19 NHL seasons, Ciccarelli has yet to be inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2009, now retired referee, Kerry Fraser, who was being honored in Sarnia, told reporter Dave Borody, “I really believe Dino deserves to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
It seems like a no-brainer that Ciccarelli would be a Hall of Famer, after all, he ranks 16th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list. Below him sits Teemu Selanne, who will be there soon enough, Jari Kurri and Mike Bossy, both who have been inducted. Whether the reasoning is the lack of Cup rings or his on and off ice behavior, it seems silly not to honor one of the greatest gritty forwards to play the game.