Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Bucyk, John

Bucyk, John

Johnny Bucyk had a marathon career of 23 years, almost all of which was spent with the Boston Bruins. He was nicknamed "the Chief" after a Boston sports cartoonist mistook him for having First Nations ancestry because of hisfeatures. Although Ukrainian, Bucyk loved the nickname and it stuck.

He grew up in Edmonton, Alberta and played Junior 'A' hockey on the Edmonton Oil Kings with his older brother Bill, who later played in the Western Hockey League but never made it to the NHL. For the next three seasons, Bucyk shifted back and forth between the Detroit Red Wings and the Oil Kings. Finally, in 1954, he was "discovered" in an Oil Kings game by Boston general manager Lynn Patrick, but it would still be three more years before he actually put on a Bruins jersey. In 1957, Boston obtained Bucyk from Detroit in a trade for Terry Sawchuk.

A member of the Uke Line in Boston with fellow Ukrainian-Canadians Bronco Horvath and Vic Stasiuk, Bucyk set an astounding number of franchise records by the time he retired -- most seasons (21), most games (1,436), most goals (545), most assists (794) and most points (1,339).

Bucyk's seasonal scoring totals got better as he got older. Unfortunately, his career almost ended when he was in his mid-30s because of a back injury. From then on he had to wear a harness, but he continued to play left wing well into his forties. It wasn't the only extra bit of equipment he wore, either. Bucyk also sported a special medallion for good luck that four of his teammates gave him after his 500th goal.

In 1976, as he neared the end of his playing career, Bucyk was aware that his age was showing. But it didn't seem to be affecting his game as he continued his streak of 10 straight seasons of more than 20 goals. Bucyk ended his career with the Bruins as the fourth-leading scorer in NHL history at the time.

Following his retirement as a player, Bucyk continued to work with the team in its public relations department in addition to doing colour commentary on games on the radio and later ran the team's Alumni Association. He would also serve as an ambassador for the Bruins.

Esso hockey medals of achievement