Monday

Doug Halward

Doug Halward always intrigued me. I'm not sure if it was because he had an interesting skill set that hinted that he could be a more prominent player than he usually was. Or perhaps it was gangly, awkward frame complete with the thin face and bad moustache that reminded me more of a disinterested high school art teacher than a hockey gladiator of over 600 NHL games.

Controversy seemed to plague Halward in his career. Drafted 14th overall by the Bruins in the 1975 Amateur Draft, ahead of the likes of Denis Maruk, Brian Engblom, and Doug Jarvis. Halward, too, would become a long time serviceable NHL player, but not in Boston. Despite apprenticing in the minor leagues for three years, the Bruins gave up on Halward in 1978, sending him to Los Angeles for the proverbial bucket of pucks.

Halward got off to an inauspicious start in 1978-79. He missed several weeks with a throat infection and only played in 27 games. He was even exposed in the summer's expansion draft, although the Kings protected him once they lost fellow d-man Larry Brown.

It turned out to be a good claim for the Kings, as Halward would finally breakthrough in 1979-80. He scored 11 goals as well as 45 assists and 56 points (the latter two stats were then newly established team records) and was named the Kings top defenseman.

The following year Halward slumped miserably. In 51 games that season he scored just 4 goals and 19 points, thanks mainly to a serious knee injury. The relationship between Halward and the Kings deteriorated during this time off the ice, as the team felt he should have been able to recover sooner than he did. The Kings traded him to Smythe division rival Vancouver in 1982.

The Canucks' medical staff agreed with Halward and arranged for the necessary surgery he needed to recover. While it cost him most of the next season and a half, it was a good investment for the Canucks, as he would become a key figure in the team's surprising playoff run in 1982. The following season he was named as the Canucks' best defenseman when he scored 52 points including 19 goals, a new team record.

"Hawk" would never quite duplicate that successful campaign, but he remained a serviceable defenseman for the Canucks for a total of five seasons. On occassional nights he could be spectacular, such as on April 7th, 1984 when he became the first Vancouver player ever, and one of the rare NHL defensemen ever, to score a playoff hat trick.

I had a good look at Halward during his stay in Vancouver. He impressed me with his attributes as a player, even though he often left you wanting more. He was a good skater, not particularly fast but well balanced and strong on his skates. He would rarely rush the puck though, preferring to make safe outlet passes to forwards. He saw the play well, both on offense and defense. He played smart positional defense but was nt a physical player in terms of hitting, although he could lose his temper from time to time. Bottom line - in Vancouver he was a steadying presence on a too-often discombobulated Canucks' blue line.

Yet injuries and controversy would hobble Halward. In Vancouver he suffered a concussion, a badly bruised hand, a fractured ankle and even a throat laceration. He also found himself in trouble for his temper. He drew NHL suspensions for fighting with fans in Quebec City and later for being the first player to leave the bench in a bench clearing brawl against Montreal.

Halward's at-times tumultuous stay in Vancouver came to an late in 1986. In November he was suspended by the team after Halward missed curfew. Halward demanded to be traded and team complied two weeks later, moving him to Detroit.

Halward would only play a few games with the Wings before he was out for the remainder of the season. He sprained his kneed which required surgery. Later he was diagnosed with phlebitis in his leg and spent two weeks in hospital.

Halward returned for a solid 1987-88 campaign, but that would essentially be his last in the NHL. He still played for two more years, filling in spots with both the Wings and with the Edmonton Oilers.

In 653 NHL games Doug Halward scored 69 goals, 224 assists and 293 points. He added 7 goals and 17 points in 44 playoff contests.

Halward was not one of those players who relied on hockey in retirement for income. In his last days in the league he helped to found Consolidated Resource Recovery, Inc., an organic materials recycling company. He joined the firm full time after retirement, serving as company president and Director of Envirowaste, and helping grow the company by purchasing smaller companies throughout the southern United States. He also started up another company - Answer Garden Products Ltd which worked with different types of soil products.

2 comments:

JAY DAVIDSON 6:16 PM  

ANOTHER FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICK BY HARRY SINDEN THAT WAS A WASTE.

Halward goes with other Sinden first round busts....CLAY PACHAL, GORD KLUZAK,HENRY KUSTER, DWIGHT FOSTER, DAVE PASIN, DAVE PARRO,
Sinden's #1 picks were all stiffs except for Ray Bourque.

Cinema Classics 7:23 PM  

Halward was hardly a bust. He was a good all round defenseman. When he played in Peterborough he was a shut down guy. He was gritty, blocked shots, stuck in nose into battles. He had his share of injuries. He was never a scoring defenseman in Junior hockey until his last year. So what did the Bruins expect when they drafted him. 20 goals and 60 assists every years? His pro career mirrored his junior career. Good all round defenseman.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP