Friday, May 6, 2011

Dennis Owchar

Dennis Owchar played 6 seasons in the NHL during the 1970s. He was a physical defenceman who loved the open ice hits.

"I played defense and probably the one thing that stood out in my game was the body-checking, playing the man. I used to catch a lot of guys coming across the middle of the ice with their head down or just as they were getting their head up and make them regret it, if you will." said Owchar in an interview with NHLPA.com.

Dennis played his junior hockey with the St. Catharines Black Hawks and Toronto Marlboros and caught the eyes of the Pittsburgh Penguins. They selected him 55th overall in the 1973 Amateur Draft.

After being drafted, Owchar immediately turned professional with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, a Penguins affiliate team that year. He recorded 33 points in 74 games with the Bears in his first pro season and after beginning the 1974-75 campaign with Hershey he made the jump to the parent club early that season. It started out as a injury replacement stint but Owchar played well and the Pens kept him for the rest of the season. In that first NHL season he recorded 17 points in 46 games.

Owchar spent three and a half years with the Penguins organization before he was traded to the Colorado Rockies during the 1977-78 season, where he recorded career-highs in all offensive categories with 10 goals, 31 assists and 41 points in 82 games between the two clubs.

His most famous moment in Colorado was an unfortunate one. Tiger Williams of the Toronto Maple Leafs attacked him with his stick. Williams was charged with assault, although he was acquitted of any wrong doing.

Dennis played the 1978-79 season with the Rockies and part of the 1979-80 season with Colorado before playing his final full season of professional hockey with the New Haven Nighthawks of the American Hockey League. Dennis had a couple of serious injuries and decided to pack it in.

Owchar retired from pro hockey in 1981. Over his six years in the NHL, Owchar had 30 goals, 85 assists, 115 points and 200 penalty minutes in 288 regular season games.

Following the NHL Dennis returned to school and eventually ended up in the computer industry as a successful salesman and executive.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dennis Owchar was my favorite player. Back in the day, they called him 'Owchar the "Ouch-er"'.

The Edge Columns said...

Hi Joe. You might want to add your good review of Dennis to his Wikipedia page. On that page Dennis is identified as being from Dryden, but he grew up in Thunder Bay and went to high school there (Westgate) and must have played in the local hockey system which was noted for producing tough and scrappy players. His brother, William (Bill) is listed in the Thunder Bay phone book.

Anonymous said...

So... are you aware that Denny is a legend inside the hockey community? I was a gal pal of Denny's in the Pgh days. When I moved to SLC, I mentioned to the SLC Gulls that I knew Denny. Their eyes got as big as moons! Why? He was the only hockey player to retire with all his real teeth in tact!!! they couldn't believe that I actually knew him!!
-jane (one of MANY I'm sure)

Mary Hendley said...

We were also friends of Denny's when he was in Pittsburgh. My mom befriended him in the Igloo Club (we had season tickets) and invited him to dinner. He came several times. Also, my mom and his mom became friends. Mom would clip everything about Denny from the paper and send them to his mother for his scrapbook. when she came to town, she came over to our house with Denny and spent a really nice afternoon. Good guy - he was very nice to me, a gawky tween scared of her own shadow at the time.

giesel eric said...

Dennis most certainly grew up in Dryden Ontario, I was in his grade 5 class in 1963 at Riverview Public School. His family moved to Thunder Bay around 1967. He also had a younger brother Eddie. His older brother Bill came back to the Dryden area in the eighties and was involved in a VW dealership.

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