Wednesday

Eddie Dorohoy

They called him Pistol not because he was a sharpshooter but rather because of a gun twirling incident in Texas. They called him Brat because he was hard-headed, abrasive and believed in doing things his own way. They called him The Great Gaboo because he would never stop talking. In fact, he liked to talk so much that he took up driving cab in the off-season just to have a chance to talk to a lot of people more so than for the money.

With colorful nicknames such as these, you already know this man was quite the character. But he was also quite the hockey player. True, he only played in 16 goalless and pointless NHL games, but fans of the old 1950s and 1960s WHL, especially in Victoria and Vancouver, called Eddie Dorohoy one of the greatest hockey players they had ever seen.

Dorohoy was an fun if unusual skater to watch. He was said to have danced his way across the ice, using short, choppy, "running" strides to give him a head start on nearly everyone else on the ice. He wasn't a great technical skater by any stretch of the imagination, but he was effective.

The native of Medicine Hat was not over-poweringly big, but he was tenacious and tough. He did not back down from anyone during play, though he rarely got too involved in after the whistle scrums, even if he may have started more than a few.

He was a consistent top ten scorer in the old Western League. In 714 career games he scored 297 goals and 533 assists for 830 points, plus 42 more in the playoffs.

Yet he only had one stint in the NHL, and even then he was used sparingly. In 1948-49 Dorohoy participated in 16 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens. But he saw very little ice time and never picked up a single point. He would soon be demoted to the minor leagues, never to return.

Legendary BC sports journalist Denny Boyd once explained why Dorohoy never stuck in the NHL:

"When Dorohoy was a brash 19 year old rookie trying out with the Montreal Canadiens, one of the first duties he assigned himself was setting out to correct what he felt were several serious deficiencies in the great Rocket Richard's game. That helped earn him a quick trip to the minors but before he left, he handed his practice sweater to a Canadiens' official and said, "Here, you may want to retire this."

Jon C. Stott, author of the great book Ice Warriors (The Pacific Coast/Western Hockey League 1948-1974) suggests another disruptive account buried him forever.

“Dorohoy saw little ice time in the 16 games he played for Montreal When the team got off to a slow start, coach Dick Irvin called a meeting. Here, Eddie became involved in another legendary incident, one that revealed his verbal rather than athletic dexterity. ‘He was going down the lines asking each player why he wasn’t scoring. When he got to me, I told him that I’d need a very long stick to score from where I was sitting on the bench.’ It wasn’t long after that when Dorohoy found himself with Dallas in the USHL."

Dorohoy never changed though. Once he accused Vancouver Canucks owner Coley Hall as being "so cheap, he wouldn't give you the sleeves off his vest."

Despite his abrassive attitude, he was well liked by his teammates, and by the fans. He played 7 seasons with the Victoria Cougars and parts of another 4 in Vancouver with the original Canucks.

Dorohoy was forced retire as a player in 1965. He was at home recuperating from a broken leg when somehow he fell down the stairs, badly re-breaking the leg and ending his career one the ice.

Dorohoy would try his hand at coaching, guiding junior teams like the Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg Jr. Jets in the late 1960s. After briefly managing the Medicine Hat golf course, he served as an assistant coach with Los Angeles Kings from 1973 through 1976.

Eddie Dorohoy left us earlier in 2009, after a battle with leukemia. He was 80 years old. He had returned to Victoria after hockey and went back to driving cab in his later years.

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