Prior to the 2011 NHL playoffs, it had been a long time between championships for the Boston Bruins. Find out where the members of the 1972 Cup Champion Bruins roster are today.
Prior to the Boston Bruins winning the 2011 Stanley Cup, their previous NHL championship occurred 39 years ago, when the team was more famously known as “Bobby Orr and the Big, Bad Bruins”.
That championship was the second in three years for the Bruins, who appeared poised to become a dynasty. Sadly, a number of factors, including career-shortening injuries to Orr, and the rise of the WHA, conspired to derail those dynastic dreams.
So, where are the members of the 1972 Boston Bruins today?
Gerry Cheevers: “Cheesy” jumped to the WHA in the summer of 1972, played 3 1/2 years with Cleveland Crusaders, returned to Bruins midway through ’75-’76 season. Retired in 1980. Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985. Coached the Bruins for several seasons, moved on to color commentator for Bruins and Hartford Whalers broadcasts, and was part of Bruins scouting staff from 1995 to 2006. Now retired.
Eddie Johnston: “E.J.” played one more season with Bruins, then from 1973 to 1978 played for Toronto, St. Louis and Chicago. Retired in 1978. Coached the Blackhawks and Penguins in the early 1980s, became Penguins GM from 1983 to 1988, moved on to become GM of Hartford Whalers from 1989 to 1992. Returned to Penguins as head coach from 1993-94 to 1996-97. Spent the next 8 seasons as Penguins assistant GM, and since 2006 has been Senior Advisor for Hockey Operations.
Bobby Orr: Played four more seasons with the Bruins, then two injury-shortened ones with Chicago. MVP of the inaugural Canada Cup tournament in 1976. Retired due to knee injuries in 1978, inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979. Still holds several Bruins and NHL records, including being the only defenseman to win the scoring title (1970, 1975) and winner of the most Norris Trophies (8) as the league’s best defenseman. Is considered by many fans to be the greatest player of all time. Returned to Boston after breaking with agent Alan Eagleson and rebuilt his finances through endorsements and PR work. Aided investigations which led to Eagleson’s conviction on fraud charges, and support the successful lawsuit which exposed corruption in the league pension plan. Currently president of the Orr Hockey Group agency, which represents 30 players, including Jason Spezza, the Staal brothers, and Jeff Carter.
Dallas Smith: Played all but one season (1977-78) with the Bruins. Retired in 1978, and returned to his farm in Manitoba. Today lives with his wife in Oregon, though he still owns farmland in the Westman area of Manitoba. Inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Ted Green: Jumped to the WHA in the summer of 1972, and played the remainder of his pro career with the New England Whalers and Winnipeg Jets, retiring in 1979. Was an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers throughout the 1980s, and was their head coach from 1991 to 1994. Also served as an assistant coach with the NY Rangers. Inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Don Awrey: Played for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series. Spent one more season in Boston, then played for Montreal, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers and Colorado Rockies. Retired in 1979. Started his own bus charter company which shuttled Bruins fans from Boston to Montreal for Canadiens-Bruins games. Now retired in Ft. Myers, Florida, though he does part time work as a delivery driver of biohazard waste from medical centers.
Carol Vadnais: Played 3 1/2 seasons with the Bruins, then was part of the major trade in late 1975 which saw the Bruins trade Phil Esposito to the NY Rangers for Brad Park and Jean Ratelle. Played 6 1/2 seasons with the Rangers and one with the New Jersey Devils before retiring in 1983. Spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Rangers in the mid-80s and coached one year in the QMJHL, and also worked as a scout. Now lives in Laval, Quebec and works as a commercial and industrial real estate agent.
Phil Esposito: “Espo” led Team Canada to victory in the 1972 Summit Series. Played 3 1/2 more seasons with the Bruins, and midway through the ’75-’76 season was dealt to the NY Rangers along with Carol Vadnais in a blockbuster trade which sent Brad Park and Jean Ratelle to the Bruins. Played 6 1/2 season with the Rangers, retired in 1981. Won five Art Ross Trophies and two Hart trophies, plus holds several Bruins and NHL records. Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. Was general manager of the Rangers for several seasons in the mid-1980s, and from 1992 to 1998 was team president and GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Currently color commentator for Lightning radio broadcasts.
John Bucyk: “Chief” played six more seasons as the Bruins team captain, retiring in 1978 with over 556 career goals and 1,369 career points. He’s still the Bruins all-time goalscoring leader (545), and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981. Has remained employed with the Bruins in various off-ice roles, and is currently their director of road services.
Ken Hodge: Played four more seasons with the Bruins, then two more with the Rangers. Retired in 1989 following two seasons in the AHL. Still lives in the Boston area and remains active with the Bruins alumni. Works as a broadcaster in Boston.
John McKenzie: “Pie” jumped to the WHA in the summer of 1972, where he would play the remainder of his pro career with Vancouver, Minnesota, Cincinnati and New England until his retirement in 1979. Worked for several years as a hockey coach, most recently as head coach of Berklee Ice Cats. Also worked as a building supplies salesman, founded a bank and was a BMW salesman in Boston. Currently the liaison for hockey development at University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Fred Stanfield: Played one more season with the Bruins, followed by two seasons with Minnesota and four seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. Retired in 1979 after one season in the AHL. Currently lives in the Buffalo area, owns an office furniture store and is actively involved in the Sabres alumni.
Mike Walton: “Shakey” jumped to the WHA in the summer of 1972, spent three seasons with Minnesota, then returned to the NHL for parts of six seasons with the Canucks, Blues, Bruins and Blackhawks. Retired in 1980 after playing one season for Cologne in Germany. He’s worked as a real estate agent for RE/MAX, with many of his clients being Leafs players like Doug Gilmour and Mats Sundin.
Wayne Cashman: “Cash” played his entire NHL career with the Bruins, retiring in 1983. From 1987 to 2006 was employed as an assistant coach with several NHL teams (NY Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers and the Bruins). Was the Flyers head coach in 1997-98.
Ed Westfall: Was selected by the NY Islanders in the 1972 expansion draft, becoming their first captain, a title he held until 1977. He played for the Isles from 1972 to 1979. Following his retirement as a player, worked until 1998 as a colour commentator with legendary broadcast partner “Jiggs” McDonald covering Islanders games. Currently works for The Corporate Relocator moving firm as a Relationship Coordinator.
Derek Sanderson: “Turk” jumped to the WHA in the summer of 1972 for only 8 games, then returned to the Bruins midway through the 1972-73 season. Played five more NHL seasons with the Bruins, NY Rangers, St.Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins. Injuries and addictions to drugs and alcohol shortened his career, resulting in his retirement in 1979. At one point he was living homeless and penniless in New York City. Following a successful stint in rehab, funded in part by former Bruins teammates like Bobby Orr, Sanderson went on to become a sportscaster with NESN, Director of Sports Investment Group, which provides professional financial advise for athletes, and is currently VP and Senior Investment Professional with Howland Capital Management in Boston. He’s also involved in a number of local charities.
Garnet Bailey: “Ace” was dealt to Detroit midway through the 1972-73 season. Played five more NHL seasons with Detroit, St. Louis and Washington, and one season with the Edmonton Oilers during their final WHA season in 1978-79. Retired in 1981 as a player. Was employed by the Los Angeles Kings as a pro scout. Died aboard Flight 175 when it was crashed into the World Trade Center in New York by terrorists on September 11, 2001. His family founded the Ace Bailey Children’s Foundation in his memory.
Don Marcotte: Played his entire NHL career with the Bruins. Retired in 1982 after the club released him. Lives in Massachusetts and remains active with the Bruins, most recently as manager of the Boston Garden Club, and with the Bruins alumni, especially in local charity games.
Chris Hayes: Played only one playoff game, and never played again in the NHL, but got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Status today is unknown.
Garry Peters: Played only two regular season and one playoff game for the Bruins in 1972, and never played in the NHL again, but like Hayes, got his name on the Cup. He played in the WHA until 1974. He coached Syracuse in the NAHL in 1974-75. Status today is unknown.