NHL Wiki
Brad Park

Park in the 1970s
Born July 6, 1948 (1948-07-06) (age 73)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Defenceman
Shoots Left
Played for New York Rangers
Boston Bruins
Detroit Red Wings
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 1966
New York Rangers
Playing career 1968–1985
Hall of Fame, 1988

Douglas Bradford "Brad" Park (born July 6, 1948) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. A defenceman, Park played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. Considered one of the best defencemen of his generation, and named to the all-star team several times, the best years of his career were overshadowed by superstar Bobby Orr, who was briefly his teammate. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. In 2017 Park was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.[1]

Playing career[]

As a youth, Park played in the 1960 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with the Scarboro Lions[2] and 1965-1966 with the Toronto Westclairs and Toronto Marlboros (until 1968). He 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[]

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 defenceman 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."[3]

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.[4]

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.

After opening the 1975–76 season with its worst start in ten years, the Rangers began unloading its high-priced veterans. Park, along with Jean Ratelle and Joe Zanussi, was traded to the Boston Bruins in a November 7, 1975 blockbuster deal that also sent Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais to the Rangers.[5] 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 unfavourable comparisons to Denis Potvin.[6]

Boston Bruins[]

While Esposito and Vadnais remained effective players for the Rangers, the 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.[7]

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.[6] Getting over his unpopularity in Boston when he was a member of the arch-rival Rangers, Park settled in well with the Bruins,[8] 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.[7][9]

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.[3] 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 Adams[10] 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 — Park's career overlapped with the first four years of the emerging superstar defenceman of the Bruins, Raymond Bourque, from 1979 to 1983.

Detroit Red Wings[]

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[]

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 and on Sebago Lake in Maine for almost 40 years, with his wife Gerry.[11] He has five children and six grandchildren. His autobiography, Straight Shooter: The Brad Park Story, was published in August, 2012.

Honours and achievements[]

  • Named to the First All-Star Team in 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976 and 1978.
  • Named to the Second All-Star Team in 1971 and 1973.
  • Runner up in Norris Trophy voting in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976 and 1978
  • Received both the most First Team All-Star nominations (other than Earl Seibert, who retired before the trophy was awarded) and was runner-up for the Norris more times without winning the Norris than any other defenceman in NHL history.
  • Played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978.
  • The book 'Play the Man' (Dodd, Mead, & Co.) written by Brad Park and Stan Fischler was published in 1971.
  • Retired as the leading defence scorer in Rangers' history and the second leading defence scorer in Bruins' history to Bobby Orr.
  • At the time of his retirement, had played the most seasons in league history for a player never missing the playoffs.
  • Currently 13th all-time in NHL history in defence scoring.
  • Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, in his first year of eligibility.
  • Along with Butch Goring, one of the last two active players who had played in the 1960s.
  • In 1998, he was ranked number 49 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
  • In the 2009 book 100 Ranger Greats, was ranked No. 11 all-time of the 901 New York Rangers who had played during the team's first 82 seasons[12]

Career statistics[]

Regular season and playoffs[]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1965–66 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 33 0 14 14 48 14 1 0 1 38
1966–67 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 28 4 15 19 73 8 4 3 7 17
1967–68 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 51 10 33 43 120 5 0 6 6 37
1968–69 New York Rangers NHL 54 3 23 26 70 4 0 2 2 7
1968–69 Buffalo Bisons AHL 17 2 12 14 49
1969–70 New York Rangers NHL 60 11 26 37 98 5 1 2 3 11
1970–71 New York Rangers NHL 68 7 37 44 114 13 0 4 4 42
1971–72 New York Rangers NHL 75 24 49 73 130 16 4 7 11 21
1972–73 New York Rangers NHL 52 10 43 53 51 10 2 5 7 8
1973–74 New York Rangers NHL 78 25 57 82 148 13 4 8 12 38
1974–75 New York Rangers NHL 65 13 44 57 104 3 1 4 5 2
1975–76 New York Rangers NHL 13 2 4 6 23
1975–76 Boston Bruins NHL 43 16 37 53 95 11 3 8 11 14
1976–77 Boston Bruins NHL 77 12 55 67 67 14 2 10 12 4
1977–78 Boston Bruins NHL 80 22 57 79 79 15 9 11 20 14
1978–79 Boston Bruins NHL 40 7 32 39 10 11 1 4 5 8
1979–80 Boston Bruins NHL 32 5 16 21 27 10 3 6 9 4
1980–81 Boston Bruins NHL 78 14 52 66 111 3 1 3 4 11
1981–82 Boston Bruins NHL 75 14 42 56 82 11 1 4 5 4
1982–83 Boston Bruins NHL 76 10 26 36 82 16 3 9 12 18
1983–84 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 5 53 58 85 3 0 3 3 0
1984–85 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 13 30 43 53 3 0 0 0 11
NHL totals 1113 213 683 896 1429 161 35 90 125 217


Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1972 Canada SS 8 1 4 5 2

Coaching statistics[]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
Detroit Red Wings 1985–86 45 9 34 2 (40) 5th in Norris Missed playoffs

See also[]

  • List of members of the Hockey Hall of Fame
  • List of NHL players with 1000 games played


External links[]

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

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