The Ottawa 67’s have had plenty of success when it comes to scoring goals and keeping them out of their own net over the years.
The club has developed players who have gone on to be offensive stars in the NHL as well as top-level defenders that have gone on to win Stanley Cups and been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Perhaps what doesn’t get enough credit, however, is some of the grit 67’s have boasted on their rosters over the years, especially during the late 80s and early 90s where that kind of edge was particularly important.
Of course, the best hardnosed players to play the game were multidimensional. We’re not talking about the guy that was on a team just to fight. That’s not grit. Grit is being able to go into the corners, fight for pucks and score the dirty goals while standing in front of the net getting crosschecked by three guys at the same time. Grit is the guy that will get hurt and then battle the training staff to let him back on the ice.
As the 67’s continue their 50th Anniversary celebrations by honouring the 1987-1997 decade on Friday night, here’s a look at some of the best grit the 67’s had to over through those years.
After starting his OHL career with the Sudbury Wolves, Peca played part of the 1992-1993 season and all of the 1993-1994 season in Ottawa, where he put up 113 points in only 55 games. While one of the league’s top offensive threats at that time, Peca’s game was as well known for his heart and tenacity as it was for his ability to put the puck in the net. He was feisty, too, as shown by his 101 penalty minutes in 1993-1994 with Ottawa, when he also had 50 goals and 113 points. In addition to putting up the most points he would at any other time during his hockey career, that season also saw Peca record the highest penalty minutes total for of his career. Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks, Peca would blossom into one of the NHL’s top two-way players with the Buffalo Sabres, winning the Frank J. Selke trophy twice as the league’s best defensive forward. The 67’s drafted Peca’s son, Trevor, in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection Draft.
Simon was drafted by the 67’s in 1988 and played three of his four seasons of Major Junior in Ottawa before moving to Sault Ste. Marie for the 1991-1992 season. Know for his physicality and edge more than his scoring ability throughout his career, Simon still managed to put up 36 goals and 74 points in 57 games in 1989-1990 to go along with his 146 penalty minutes. Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Simon was dealt to the Quebec Nordiques in a blockbuster deal that sent Eric Lindros back the other way. Simon won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 after the team moved south from Quebec and also made stops in Calgary, Washington, Chicago and New York (both the Rangers and Islanders) and Minnesota. Simon would go onto a somewhat controversial career that included several suspensions, but he also played in 728 games in the NHL and 168 in the KHL. He had 305 points during his NHL career.
Though he only played part of one season with the 67’s, Draper is yet another player with Barber Pole roots that went on to a long and decorated career in the NHL. The eventual four-time Stanley Cup winner and long time Detroit Red Wings played 39 games with the 67’s in 1990-1991, putting up 19 goals and 61 points over that span. A gritty and defensively responsible centre, Draper was part of the “Grind Line” with Detroit, which also featured Kirk Malty and either Joe Kocur or Darren McCarty. He also has the rare distinction of being one of few players to play in the NHL and AHL (both briefly) before playing junior. Draper was also famously traded by the Winnipeg Jets to the Red Wings for only $1. He would go to play 17 years in Detroit, becoming one of only six players to suit up for at least 1,000 games with the Wings. Draper would go on to play 1,157 games in The Show, scoring 161 goals and 364 points to go along with 790 penalty minutes.’
This Friday, we honour the 67’s gritty decade. Get your tickets now and join us for this historic night.