Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pete Donnelly

1 NHL Game

December 14, 1968 Detroit Red Wings vs Oakland Seals. 3-1 win.

   December 14, 1968 the Detroit Red Wings were scrambling to find a backup goalie when Roger Crozier came down with a bad case of the flu. With Terry Sawchuck suffering from a broken finger, the Wings were left with just Roy Edwards on their roster to tend goal. The Red Wings had not anticipated that Crozier would be in such disrepair that the goalie had to be sent home from the rink. A netminder short and with a 2 pm matinee drawing near, Detroit general manager Jim Skinner called on local goalie Pete Donnelly. Donnelly was an amateur playing with the University of Detroit but had been scouted by the Red Wings as a junior. Donnelly was home watching a football game when he was asked to be at the rink within the hour to dress for the Detroit Red Wings. He happily obliged. "I never imagined I'd get a chance like this," Donnelly said post-game. "They give you so much money for a game but I wasn't even interested in that. I just wanted to come down and be in the same room with these men and sit on the bench with them. My biggest thrill was when I stopped Gordie Howe point blank. I know Mr. Hockey; my younger brother played hockey with his sons."(1) 

   At the time of his NHL call up with the Red Wings it seemed highly unlikely Donnelly would return to the big leagues. Donnelly, however, beat the odds and after attending the Philadelphia Flyers 1971 training camp but not making the cut, a new league gave light to new opportunity in 1972. Donnelly signed with the newly created New York Raiders and went on to spend three seasons in the World Hockey Association, the rival league to the NHL in the 1970s. Donnelly once again saw himself facing off against the great Gordie Howe. While Donnelly was a member of the Vancouver Blazers he actually surrendered Mark Howe's first professional goal while the young Howe was a member of the Houston Aeros. 

Career stats from
Born Jun 14 1948 -- Detroit, MI 
Height 5.08 -- Weight 165 
RS ScoringRS Goalie StatsPO Scoring
1967-68Kitchener RangersOHA2010
1967-68Ottawa 67'sOHA000
1970-71Quebec AcesAHL100401001.50---
1971-72Jersey DevilsEHL0000000.00---
1971-72New Haven BladesEHL-------------200
1972-73New York RaidersWHA47022606155123.562219211730.883---
1973-74Roanoke Valley RebelsSHL5003009001.805001440.941---
1973-74Vancouver BlazersWHA49192824179433.802224013460.883---
1974-75Tulsa OilersCHL2209126570003.328104100
1975-76Quebec NordiquesWHA40012910004.65010550.846---
1975-76Maine NordiquesNAHL410192383222205.5912270400
1977-78Long Beach Sharks/RocketsPHL3214
(1) From newspaper source: Omaha-World Herald, Dec. 15, 1968.

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