Thursday

Chris Oddleifson

Chris Oddleifson's career is summed up pretty nicely on the night of Dec 30, 1973. That was the night that the underrated and often overlooked Manitoban played the California Seals for the first time.

Oddleifson was the Seal's first round pick (10th overall) in the 1970 amateur draft. He never played for the Seals as he was quickly traded off to the Boston Bruins. He had been basically unnoticable in Boston but on this night he exploded. Oddleifson scored 4 goals in leading the Bruins to an 8-1 thumping of the Oakland based team.

"You know what really bugged me though?" remembers Oddleifson years later. "In the paper the next morning the headline read 'Esposito Held Off Scoresheet!'" Talk about injustice! Chris Oddleifson's best game and it was nothing more than a footnote and largely overlooked.

"Those were the years of course that Esposito was winning scoring titles. So when he failed to tally in an 8-1 game, that was big news" explained Chris.

The Vancouver Canucks noticed however, and they traded for Chris on February 7, 1974, sending Bobby Schmautz the other way. Oddleifson only played 55 games in Boston, and scored only 6 other times in addition to his 4 goal game. He finished the year quietly in Vancouver, scoring 3 goals and 8 points in 21 games.

"Oddy" enjoyed a fine career once he arrived on Canada's west coast. He played 6 solid years in Vancouver, his finest being in 1974-75 and 1975-76. He scored a career high 16 goals in each year, and had 51 points and 62 points respectively. The lanky center was a good playmaker and skater with a touch of a mean streak.

That 1974-75 season was especially special for Oddy and Canuck fans as they captured their first division championship.

"That championship year, everything just went so smoothly. Smitty (Goalie Gary Smith) had six shutouts and we ended up with 86 points."

As the decade progressed, Oddleifson's point production steadily declined but his popularity in Vancouver remained high. By the dawn of the new decade he would spend most of the 1980-81 season in the minor leagues with the CHL's Dallas Black Hawks before heading to Sweden where he played for 2 seasons in the second division.

Oddleifson played in 524 NHL games, scoring 85 times and aiding 191 others, for a total of 286 points.

After retiring, Chris returned to Vancouver and became a prominent real estate agent in British Columbia's Lower Mainland. He also remained active with the Canuck Oldtimers and can often be seen skiing the slopes at Whistler.

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