By Tom Egan | Follow Me @eganthoughts
I’ve decided to start writing a weekly column spotlighting former Bruins. This series won’t cover the superstars. You can read up on Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, and Patrice Bergeron anywhere and often written by better storytellers than me. This series will cover more of the roster fillers and depth, guys. For some older fans, it will be a fun trip down memory lane or an “oh, I remember that guy.” For the younger fans, It will be a fun way to learn more about the team’s history. So let’s get into it with our first obscure Bruin of the week, defenseman Greg Hawgood “.
Hawgood, an Edmonton native, had an illustrious junior career with the Kamloops Blazers. He put up a whopping 133 points in 63 games in the 1987-88 season. It was his third 100 point season with the Blazers. His number 4 sweater is retired by the club. He represented Canada in the 1987 and 1988 World Junior Championships, being selected to the tournament Allstar team in 1988 while leading Team Canada to the gold medal. He got his not broken in the infamous “Punch up in Piestany” brawl in the 1987 tournament between Canada and the Soviet Union. Brendan Shanahan famously quipped that Soviet defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov hit Hawgood with “the greatest head-butt I’ve ever seen.” The game was ended on the spot, and Team Canada, who was assured of a medal entering the game, was disqualified (as were the Soviets, but they were already out of contention).
Hawgood was taken by the Bruins in the tenth round (202nd overall pick) in the 1986 draft. He made his debut with the big club in 1987, playing in one regular-season game and three playoff contests. The next year he spent the majority of the season in Boston, where he was able to put up 40 points. He stuck around the hub for almost the entirety of the 1989-90 season. That year was a special one for the Bs as they made it all the way to the finals before falling to Hawgood’s hometown Oilers in five games. Hawgood scored a goal in game 2 of the series.
Hawgood’s time wearing the spoked B ended in October of 1990 as he was traded to Edmonton in exchange for Vladimir Ruzicka. His Bruins career consisted of 134 games, 27 goals, and 51 assists. He would then become the definition of a “journeyman” as his career had stops in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Jose, Dallas, Vancouver, and Florida. His minor league career took him to Maine, Cape Breton, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Houston, Chicago, and Kansas City. He also had a few stints overseas playing in Finland, Denmark, and Italy. As an aside, I played against his son Logan in Salt Lake City.
My dad’s only “hockey dad” moment came when Logan’s team was up 9-2 on mine when they pulled their goalie with about a minute left to try to get Logan a hat trick. My dad said some four-letter words to their coach. I didn’t even notice that they had pulled the goalie. Greg was in the house that night, sitting in the back row. I was upset after my dad told me what happened, but I forgave Greg pretty quickly when that weekend he scored the goal that gave all the die-hard Utah Grizzlies fans in attendance a free famous star from Carl’s Junior. This was in 2002, so he had already played his last NHL game, but he was still playing professional hockey and refusing to end the dream. He truly did what he loved until he couldn’t do it anymore.
Greg Hawgood may not have been a star, but he was able to play the game he grew up dreaming of playing for a living for eighteen years. The game was able to get him to call over 20 different cities across five different countries home. He was able to play on the world’s biggest stage in the Stanley Cup Finals. He was able to proudly don his home country’s sweater and lead them to gold. I was able to have two brief stories of our paths crossing. My town was one of 20 stops for him, so think about how many other stories there are about him within the hockey community. He officially retired in 2006. After his playing days, he took a stab at coaching with the Blazers. His coaching tenure was lackluster, but he was able to hang on in some capacity until 2010 as he was such a legend during his junior career. His story is one of a great hockey life, and I was happy to share it here. Feel free to let me know who you would like to see profiled in this series. Thanks for reading.