✟ RIP Dave Semenko
Born 1957 - Death 2017
❝ David John Semenko (July 12, 1957 – June 29, 2017) was a Canadian professional ice hockey scout, and a coach and player. Semenko played for the Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. He was originally selected in 1977 by the Minnesota North Stars of the National Hockey League and the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association.
An acknowledged enforcer, he was Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard early in Gretzky's career in Edmonton, beginning in the WHA in 1978, and ending when Semenko was traded to Hartford in 1986. Semenko is considered one of the toughest players ever in the NHL. The protection offered by Semenko allowed Edmonton's stars -- Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, and Paul Coffey -- more freedom on the ice, contributing to the Oilers' Stanley Cup triumphs in 1984 and 1985. He fought boxing legend Muhammad Ali in an exhibition on June 12, 1983.
Semenko played junior hockey for the Brandon Wheat Kings. He spent his first two professional years as a member of the Oilers in the WHA before the WHA merged with the NHL. He scored the final goal in WHA history in Game 6 of the 1979 Avco Cup finals, which the Oilers lost to the Winnipeg Jets. After brief stops with the Hartford Whalers and Toronto Maple Leafs, he retired following the 1987–88 season. He finished his 575-game NHL career with 65 goals, 88 assists and 1175 penalty minutes.
After retiring, he became a colour commentator on Oilers radio broadcasts and an assistant coach with the Oilers during the 1996-97 season.
Semenko died on June 29, 2017, 13 days before his 60th birthday after a short battle with liver and pancreatic cancer. ❝
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