John Tonelli
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
6 ft 01 in (1.85 m)
195 lb (89 kg)
Teams Houston Aeros
New York Islanders
Calgary Flames
Los Angeles Kings
Chicago Blackhawks
Quebec Nordiques
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born March 23 1957 (1957-03-23) (age 63),
Milton, ON, CAN
NHL Draft Round 2, 33rd overall, 1977
New York Islanders
Pro Career 1978 – 1992

John A. Tonelli (born March 23, 1957 in Milton, Ontario, Canada) was a National Hockey League centre. He played with the New York Islanders, the Calgary Flames, and the Los Angeles Kings. He concluded his career playing briefly for the Chicago Blackhawks and the Quebec Nordiques

In 1982 and 1985, Tonelli was a second team All-Star left wing for the Islanders. He played in the Stanley Cup finals in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1984 with the Islanders, winning four championships in the process, and made an additional appearance as runner-up in the Cup finals in 1986 with the Flames.

On May 24, 1980, Tonelli had the assist on Bob Nystrom's overtime Stanley Cup-winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, giving the Islanders their first of four straight Cups. In Game 6 at Nassau Coliseum, Lorne Henning stole the puck at center ice, passed to Tonelli, who then criss-crossed with Nystrom, feeding him the puck on Nystrom's backhand for the winning goal. It was a play the two had perfected during practice.

Tonelli was a gritty forward with a never-say-die attitude for The New York Islanders who won four straight Stanley Cups. Tonelli, who was affectionately dubbed "The Greasy Jet" by his teammates, is remembered for scoring important "clutch goals" in the Islanders' run of four straight Stanley Cups and five straight finals appearances, particularly during the 1981-82 season. During the playoffs that year, the Islanders were five minutes away from being eliminated by a much weaker Pittsburgh Penguin team, trailing 3-1 in the deciding game. John Tonelli had an assist on a Mike McEwen goal that closed the champions within one, and tied the game himself with ninety seconds to play. For an encore, it was John Tonelli that scored in overtime to win the game for the Islanders, thus extending their long reign as Stanley Cup champions.

Tonelli also scored the winning goal in a February 20, 1982 game against the Colorado Rockies, beating former teammate Chico Resch with just 47 seconds to play to allow the Islanders to set an NHL record (since broken) with their fifteenth consecutive victory.

He was known for being virtually unbeatable in digging out the puck in the corners of the rink; however, Tonelli also had an excellent shot, was a good passer, and had excellent timing both offensively and defensively. Tonelli was also very versatile. During his eight seasons with the Islanders, coach Al Arbour used Tonelli on the famed "Banana Line" with Wayne Merrick and Bob Nystrom, on the top line with Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy, and later he played flank for Brent Sutter and Patrick Flatley.

Although Tonelli played a key role in the four Cup victories the team won from 1980 to 1983, in some ways his career culminated in the fall of 1984 when he played for Canada in the Canada Cup, an invitation he almost turned down.

He not only made the team, he had nine points, including a key assist on Mike Bossy's goal in overtime of the semifinal. Canada won the championship and Tonelli was named the tournament's best player. He then rejoined the Islanders and had his best season ever, scoring 42 goals and 100 points in 1984-1985 before being traded to the Calgary Flames during the 85-86 season. The Calgary Flames, with Tonelli's experience, reached The Stanley Cup finals for the first time.

Tonelli finished his 1028-game NHL career with 325 goals and 511 assists for 836 points.

In Milton, Ontario, John Tonelli Arena is named in his honour


  • OMJHL First All-Star Team (1975)
  • Most valuable player of the 1984 Canada Cup tournament.
  • 1982 and 1985 NHL second all-star (left wing)

Career statistics Edit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1973–74Toronto MarlborosOHA6918375562
1974–75Toronto MarlborosOMJHL70498613585
1975–76Houston AerosWHA791417316617771418
1976–77Houston AerosWHA802431551091134712
1977–78Houston AerosWHA6523416410361348
1978–79New York IslandersNHL7317395644101670
1979–80New York IslandersNHL771430444921791618
1980–81New York IslandersNHL702032525716581316
1981–82New York IslandersNHL8035589357196101618
1982–83New York IslandersNHL7631407155207111820
1983–84New York IslandersNHL73274067661713431
1984–85New York IslandersNHL804258100951018910
1985–86New York IslandersNHL6520416150
1985–86Calgary FlamesNHL93471022791649
1986–87Calgary FlamesNHL782031517230004
1987–88Calgary FlamesNHL741741588462578
1988–89Los Angeles KingsNHL7131336411060008
1989–90Los Angeles KingsNHL7331376862101236
1990–91Los Angeles KingsNHL71141630491224612
1991–92Chicago BlackhawksNHL3317837
1991–92Quebec NordiquesNHL1924614
NHL totals 1028 325 511 836 911 172 40 75 115 200

External linksEdit

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