Damn Fine Hockey Player

That’s me at the very top, resting my weary head on my hand and stick. But more importantly, over on the left with black toque with pointed end is John French, who was the best player in our age group in Orillia and in the top three in central Ontario. John MacWilliams in Huntsville and Steve Sly in Collingwood were the only ones who would give him a run for his money.

John went on to play junior with the Toronto Marlies and found himself drafted by Montreal. But after a year with the Canadiens’ AHL farm team Montreal Voyageurs (with Ken Dryden as a teammate), and then the Baltimore Clippers, he  bolted to the World Hockey Association (WHA)  and enjoyed a fine career with the New England Whalers, San Diego Mariners, and Indianapolis Racers before ending back in the AHL with the Springfield Indians.

In the late 1970’s my first wife and I bought an old desk in a second-hand store in Ottawa, and in the drawer was a John French hockey card.

You can see John’s very respectable pro career stats right here

8 thoughts on “Damn Fine Hockey Player”

  1. Dennis, did John ever show Ken this picture? You may be the origin of his famous pose. While the Canadiens were en route to winning 6 Stanley Cups, Dryden was thinking about some kid in a photo.

  2. Hey Dennis, Kens photo posing like that was my pic on facebook until a couple of weeks ago ,I now have Pete Mahovolich scoring on Tretiak in the 72 series.I remember John French being drafted by the Habs but never saw him play.Great story though Dennis,always a pleasure to read.

  3. Thanks, Derry. French was a great player. I makes me wonder sometimes how some can become huge stars in the NHL and others, like John, enjoy just fair careers. He was a great young player and a good guy too.

  4. Dennis, at a minimum, Ken should write you an intro for when you write the next great book about hockey. He owes you, his book wouldn’t have been the same without your pose on the cover.

  5. john french was on my team in my first year of house league. an amazing player. he did anything he wanted, anytime he wanted seemingly at will and the reason we won the championship, my one and only. alas, my hockey career peaked and it was down hill from there.

  6. Hobo, after he and his family moved to Toronto he came back for a tournament in Orillia playing for a Toronto team. Don Mills I think. He scored five goals in the championship game, his team won the tourney, and he was voted tournament MVP. I think he was on his way after that.

  7. i remember really hoping he would catch on big with the habs. we would have been able to say we played with a hab.

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