Dino Ciccarelli is not your average hockey player. Although some may remember him for his blindsided temper, and being one of the few bad boys of hockey in the 80’s, Ciccarelli has a lot more to be known for. Spending most of his NHL career with the Minnesota North Stars, he notched 1200 points in his NHL career. Impressive for a guy who wasn’t even drafted.
Ciccarelli grew up in the Southern Ontario town of Sarnia. At 15 he made the Junior B squad and lead the team in scoring with 88 points in 40 games. The next year he graduated to the London Knights of the then Ontario Major Junior Hockey League. In his second season with the Knights, he lead the league in scoring with 142 point and evidently was awarded the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy; handed out to the highest scoring right winger in the league.
His third season with the Knights was hampered by injuries and was cut short. After not being selected in the 1978-79 entry draft, he was nevertheless offered a spot with the Minnesota North Stars. Ciccarelli signed the the contract at the end of September. The North Stars kept Ciccarelli with the Knights for one more year, still keeping his high scoring possibilities at hand. Earning 103 points that season, he was ready for the show.
For the 1980-81 season, Ciccarelli was assigned to the Oklahoma City Stars of the CHL. Although spending most of the season with Oklahoma City, he did manage to get called up to Minnesota for 32 games. In the playoffs that year, Ciccarelli contributed 21 points in 19 games. It proved to not be enough however as the North Stars fell to the Islanders in the Stanley Cup Final.
Ciccarelli was selected to the All Star team 3 times during his tenure with Minnesota in 1982, 1983 and 1989. But by the end of 1989 his time with Minnesota was up. He was traded to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a player who would become another National Hockey League great, Mike Gartner.
Of course, we can’t sum up Ciccarelli’s career without mentioning some of his on ice controversy. In 1988, at a game against the Maple Leafs in the famed Maple Leaf Gardens, Ciccarelli attacked rookie Luke Richardson with his stick. Ciccarelli was evidently convicted of assault. He was ordered to pay $1,000 and spent a day in jail. The moment will forever be immortalized in song by Canadian hip hop group, Organized Rhyme. Organized Rhyme is best known for having an individual in it’s hands in a then unknown rapper, Tom Green. (Yes, that Tom Green. Tom “I humped a dead moose” Green.) Green spits his first verse about hockey and mentions some of the greats of yesterday. He then brilliantly rhymes Rocket Richard with “Ciccarelli went to far and got barred.”
Ciccarelli went on to star with the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightening where he made his first All Star Game appearance in over 8 years. Nobody can deny the impact he’s had on the world of hockey. In fact, the London Knights have retired his number 8. More importantly, Ciccarelli’s career was honored as he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
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