REGINA PAT ALUMNI
By Permission: Taken from Joe Pelletier - WebSite - Greatest Hockey Legends
Played for the Regina Pats - (1975-76 to 1978-79)
Meet Dirk Graham - Mr. Chicago Blackhawk.
Dirk Graham was a hard-hitting, defensive-minded forward in his eight years with the Blackhawks. His hustling aggressive style was very typical of the Hawks in those days. He was a tireless worker who did anything necessary to help Chicago win hockey games.
He was also pretty good with the puck. He had 152 goals, 190 assists and 685 penalty minutes in 546 games for Chicago from 1988 to 1995. He also set a team record for most short-handed goals in a season, 10 in 1988-89.
Originally a draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, Graham 6 seasons in the minors waiting for his chance to play in the NHL which finally came on a full time basis in 1985 with the Minnesota North Stars. His total NHL stats include 219 goals and 489 points in 772 games.
But most importantly, he was a leader. He was captain for 6 1/2 seasons and part of the 1992 squad
that won 11 straight playoff games before losing to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals.
"It's a commitment to team, a commitment to your teammates, playing with heart, playing with desire," Graham said. "If you come to play every night, play hard and leave everything on the ice ... we're going to win our share of hockey games."
A young Jeremy Roenick was awed by Graham's leadership.
"Dirk Graham, I've said many times, is the captain of captains. He is a man that has gone through so much adversity, who has paid his dues well beyond anybody's expectations."
Joe Murphy agreed.
"I think Dirk Graham is probably the most important player on our team, being the captain right now. He holds the group together. He's our captain. He's the guy the guys look up to. He's a quiet leader, but when he has something to say, the guys listen to him. He just goes out and plays hard. Night in and night out he does it.
Graham, who won the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward in 1991, was a playoff warrior. In the 1990 playoffs he played with a frozen leg due to a cracked knee cap. In 90 career playoff games Graham potted 17 goals and 27 assists to go along with countless body checks and dogged determination.
Graham was also a member of Team Canada at the 1991 Canada Cup. He scored a key short-handed goal against the United States in the two game finale.
Graham was named coach of the Blackhawks in 1998. The move was a surprise since Graham had only one season as an assistant coach under his belt.
"I played with the guy. I knew what kind of leadership he has," said Bob Murray, Chicago's general manager and former teammate. "I know the kind of instantaneous respect he commands when he walks in the locker room."
Graham biggest disadvantage as a coach was that he didn't have Dirk Graham playing for him. He was quickly replaced behind the bench by Lorne Molleken.