Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ron Schock

Like most players who played just prior to the original expansion in 1967, Ron Schock took great pride in the fact that he made the NHL in the era of only 6 teams.

"I knew I was lucky to be with the Bruins, let alone being in the NHL" said Schock. After all, there was only 120 jobs available in the NHL those days. You had to be VERY good to make it. "I think any of us who made it at that time just wanted to be wanted by someone."

Schock played 4 seasons with the Bruins, but saw limited ice time. But he enjoyed his time there.

"It was a different time for the player then. This was still the time before using jets was the in thing to do. At that time we still took trains. Because of that I think teams were closer because they spent more time together. I can still remember a lot of the old stories the veterans used to tell."

In 1967 the NHL doubled in size from 6 to 12 teams. The Bruins exposed Schock in the expansion draft, and lost the crafty center to the St. Louis Blues. Initially Schock was, pardon the pun, shocked.

"A lot changed when expansion took place. That's why I think I was hurt a little when I went to the Blues from Boston. But after being with the Blues for a while, I realized that somebody (the Blues) wanted me also and that made me feel better."

Schock's stay in St. Louis was short - just two seasons. He was traded to Pittsburgh with Craig Cameron for a draft pick in 1969.

How he got traded is a bit of a funny story.

"That is a trade I'll never forget. I had been playing golf with the Blues' owner, Sid Salomon, on a Friday and he had been telling me how well the team seemed to be going and how he was looking forward to having me on the team the next season. The following Monday, I was traded to Pittsburgh!"

Schock is probably best known as a member of the Penguins, as he spent 8 seasons in the Steel City. However the team was pretty weak, which made it frustrating for the team, the fans and Schock.

Things started out well, as the Pens had a dynamite of a player in Michel Briere. Just a rookie, he looked like he was going to be a star with the Pens for many years to come. This of course excited all including Schock, who felt things would only get better from that first year.

"Unfortunately," Schock remembers painfully "after that first season he was killed in an automobile accident. That just seemed to be the luck of that team for the next decade."

Schock's best memories in Pittsburgh came in 1974-75. Schock was having a career year - smashing previous career bests with 23 goals, 63 assists and 86 points. More importantly, the team had had a good year and were having an even better playoffs. In fact the Pens were on the verge of eliminating the heavily favored NY Islanders

"We were up three games to none to the New York Islanders. All we needed was one more victory. But we never got it. The Islanders came back to win four straight. Had we won, it would have meant some more money for the franchise."

"Instead, the franchise was sold again, and after a couple of more years some of the key players on the team were traded like myself, Syl Apps and Pierre Larouche. The team has been going downhill fast ever since" said Schock, in an interview one year before the arrival of Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh.

Schock was traded to Buffalo and spent one year there. He played two more years of minor league hockey from 1978-79, before returning to upper New York state to live near Rochester.

Ron, who's brother Danny also played in the National Hockey League briefly, retired with 909 games played. In that time he scored 166 times and assisted on 351 others for a total of 517 points. In 55 playoff games he scored just 4 goals and had 16 assists.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me??? Not a single mention of Ron's incredible DOUBLE OVERTIME goal- Stanley Cup Conference FINALS win over the North Stars in the first expansion year 1967.... "The shot that won the West!!!
I was there, at the St. Louis Arena- game 7, winner take all. The Blues were down by THREE GOALS with seven minutes left and then mounted a furious charge. They scored again within three minutes and finally tying with only 14 seconds remaining, I must say- the place was rocking! I was pressed up against the glass behind the Blues net with the incomperable GLENN HALL turning back numerous opportunities, almost SUPERHUMAN in effort. The crowd was exploding!!!
THEN- shortly into the 2nd overtime, after withstanding a flurry of shots someone found Ron Schock darting towards mid ice. He split the tired defence and blistered Cesare Maniago for the WIN. Probably the greatest moment in BLUES history.

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