Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Eddie Dorohoy. Minor League Star, Major Leaguer Talker

Eddie Dorohoy started the 1948/49 season as a 19 year old rookie with the vaunted Montreal Canadiens. The smallish (5ft 9in) centreman was not without credentials. He had tallied 81 points in 27 games the previous season with the Lethbridge Native Sons of the Alberta Junior League. To say he was unfazed by the aura of playing bigtime hockey in Montreal would be an understatement.

Upon arriving at camp, coach Dick Irvin placed the rookie on a line with Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach. Dorohoy immediately began instructing the vets on how the game should be played. During a rush in an intrasquad scrimmage he abruptly stopped and demanded the old vets come confer with him. Dorohoy told Richard and Lach, “Listen,the trouble with you guys is that you’re out of position.” Upon seeing the coach doubled over in laughter on the side boards, Dorohoy demanded he cease the chortling. “What’s so funny?” he asked the boss. “Richard and Lach can ,make mistakes too. I’m only trying to help them”. No word on whether Irvin in fact did stop laughing, or escalated it.

As the season started, Eddie Dorohoy wasn’t much help to the Habs, and coach Irvin became fed up with his rookie funnyman. After producing zero points in sixteen games, he was dispatched to the hockey hinterland of Dallas in the USHL. He’d eventually settle into life in the old WHL starring with Victoria, Seattle, Vancouver Calgary and Los Angeles. He led the loop in scoring one year and garnered the MVP in 1959 after scoring 109 points in 64 games with the Calgary Stampeders. At one point in the mid-fifties there was renewed interest in him in the NHL. The New York Rangers brought him to camp for a tryout. The Ranger players were as amazed by Dorohoy’s audacity as the Habs were years earlier. After his first workout he came into the room pulled off his Ranger jersey and handed it to trainer Frank Paice while exclaiming, “Here Paicer, you can put this in the Hall of Fame.” Alas, Dorohoy again wasn’t good enough to stick in the big leagues and he returned to the west coast.

When all was said and done, he notched almost 1000 career points in the minors.
Eddie Dorohoy passed away this past June while watching the NHL playoffs at his home in Victoria. He was definitely a minor league star with a major league attitude.

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