|Honoured Member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame|
Gordon Thomas Lawrence Lane
Gordie Lane was not the biggest defenseman around, but he sure played as if he was. He was an aggressive defensive defenseman who made quite the name for himself in junior with his hometown Brandon Wheat Kings, as well as in one season with the New Westminster Bruins. It was easy for the scouts to see that in Lane they would be getting a stay-at-home, stay-in-your face defender who could play a very bellicose brand of hockey.
The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted him 134th overall in the 1973 Entry Draft, but he never signed with the club. Instead, he became a minor-league brawler in the IHL with the Fort Wayne Comets and the Dayton Gems - not an enviable job in the 1970s. It was even less-enviable when the Fort Wayne fans took a disliking to him and created a "We Hate Gordie Lane" fan club. On top of it all, Lane had to deal with a stuttering speech impediment. The Comets released him because, by his own admission, he could fight but do little else on the ice.
But Lane was also a fighter from within. He refused to give up on his dream to play in the NHL. In 1976, he signed as a free agent with the lowly Washington Capitals. Amazingly he went from minor league nobody into a NHL regular. Over the next four seasons he introduced himself to every forward in the league with his hard hitting, abrasive play. He was not a true heavyweight but he was a no non-sense, hard hitting player. Perhaps it was because the Capitals were so bad at this time but not too many people noticed that he was developing into more than a bruiser. If he stayed within his limitations he could provide solid minutes at the NHL level.
Bill Torrey, Al Arbour and the New York Islanders recognized this and traded for him prior to Christmas 1979. Talk about a great early Christmas gift - Lane went from a bottom feeder to the exciting Islanders just in time to help them win four consecutive Stanley Cup championships. He had transitioned into a solid depth defenseman and leader. Forming an effective tandem with Ken Morrow in the early days allowed the Islanders to trade forward Billy Harris and defenseman Dave Lewis to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Butch Goring - the final piece of the championship puzzle in New York. Lane was credited as being the team's most effective defender during the era.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
Playing[edit | edit source]
|1970-71||Brandon Wheat Kings||WCHL||20||0||4||4||53||--||--||--||--||--|
|1971-72||Brandon Wheat Kings||WCHL||63||7||16||23||106||11||1||2||3||19|
|1972-73||New Westminster Bruins||WCHL||36||2||13||15||115||5||0||0||0||29|
|1973-74||Fort Wayne Komets||IHL||67||1||14||15||214||4||0||1||1||27|
|New York Islanders||NHL||55||2||14||16||152||21||1||3||4||85|
|1980-81||New York Islanders||NHL||60||3||9||12||124||12||1||5||6||32|
|1981-82||New York Islanders||NHL||51||0||3||3||98||19||0||4||4||61|
|1982-83||New York Islanders||NHL||44||3||4||7||87||18||1||2||3||32|
|1983-84||New York Islanders||NHL||38||0||3||3||70||4||0||0||0||2|
|1984-85||New York Islanders||NHL||57||1||8||9||83||1||0||0||0||2|
Coaching[edit | edit source]
|1985-86||Brandon Wheat Kings||WHL||Head||38||10||27||1||-||21||7th East||DNQ|
|1986-87||Springfield Indians||AHL||Assist||80||34||40||6||-||74||6th South||DNQ|
|1987-88||Springfield Indians||AHL||Head||80||27||44||8||1||63||7th North||DNQ|
Awards & Achievements[edit | edit source]
- International Hockey League Championship (1976)
- Stanley Cup National Hockey League Championship (1980, 1981, 1982, & 1983)
- Inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame (1987)