In continuing with my love and understanding of Hockey when I was an older boy, young teen, one of my favorite players was Rick Dudley. There was an amazingly talented player who could score 30 or more goals and collect fighting penalties as if it were a side hustle.
He is a Hall of Famer, earned multiple Championships, and Coach of the Year, has played successfully in the NHL as well as the WHA, became an NHL HC, Mr. Dudley continues today in an Executive NHL career.
Mr. Dudley is one of only three players to don the number 99 while playing Hockey in the NHL which is just one of many experiences of someone who can literally say they have been there and done that.
At 19 years of age in 1968-69 Mr. Dudley played for the St. Catharines Black Hawks of the OHL with teammate 17 year old Marcel Dionne and 19 year old Dick Redmond.
After his last season in the OHL Mr. Dudley was not drafted by the NHL yet was able to eventually play and be the only LW considered and voted on for the Hart Trophy in the 1974-75 NHL season where he amassed 70 points in 78 games.
Even after watching the Buffalo Sabres let Mr. Dudley walk to the WHA I followed his career, and to my happy surprise Buffalo had brought him back after four seasons had passed by.
Mr. Dudley had played out his prime in Cincinnati and after a few seasons back in the fold on the Sabres it was apparent he was no longer the player we hoped he would be.
Again I was forced to watch one of my favorite players walk and play for another team, this time the Winnipeg Jets.
At 32 years of age Mr. Dudley played his last seven professional Hockey games for the 1981-82 Jacques Demers coached Fredericton Express of the AHL.
I still followed Mr. Dudley’s career and again to my happy surprise he was brought back this time around to be the Buffalo Sabres Head Coach. Not being able to get past the first round in two seasons followed by an abysmal start and being replaced in the third season ended Mr. Dudley’s Sabres career for the third time.
Mr. Dudley has been hired by multiple teams in the NHL for a variety of Executive positions, including GM, Assistant GM, Director of Player Personnel, Hockey consultant, and Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations.
Rick Dudley won me over as a player when I was a young Sabres Fanaticus watching Buffalo march their way to their first Stanley Cup Finals. I started out as a fan of Rick Dudley the player, now I admire Mr. Dudley as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable Hockey people I have witnessed and read about.