After being told by his college coach that he should look for a real job outside of hockey, left-winger Paul Fenton played over 400 NHL games for seven different clubs in the 1980s and '90s. He was a solid defensive player with good speed and was capable of contributing on offense as well. Although he was not blessed with an abundance of natural skill, Fenton outworked the opposition on a regular basis and maximized his potential.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Fenton played three years at Boston University. He scored 20 goals as a senior but was undrafted and unsigned. He played the 1982-83 season with the IHL's Peoria Prancers and scored 60 goals to earn a place on the league's second all-star team.
The Hartford Whalers just prior to the 1983-84 season signed Fenton as a free agent. He spent 33 games as a role player in Hartford then excelled with the club's Binghamton farm team in the AHL with 47 points in 45 games. In the spring played for the United States at the 1985 World Championships. In 1985-86, Fenton played just one game for Hartford but scored 53 goals in Binghamton and made the league's first all-star team.
In September 1986 Fenton was signed by the New York Rangers but spent most of his time with the AHL's New Haven Nighthawks. Once again he produced fine numbers with 75 points in 70 games and place on the league's second all-star team. Fenton next played with the L.A. Kings and received his first chance to play an entire season in 1987-88. He responded with 20 goals and his industrious work habits earned the respect of his teammates.
Fenton started the 1988-89 season on the West Coast but was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for Gilles Hamel in November. He was a solid checker and scored 14 goals in the last 59 games of the season. When the Jets failed to make the playoffs, Fenton joined Team USA at the World Championships and scored four points in ten games as the team finished sixth. In 1989-90, he enjoyed his finest year by playing in all 80 games and scoring 32 goals to tie Pat Elynuik for the team lead.
Early in the 1990-91 season he was included with Dave Ellett in a trade that brought Ed Olczyk and Mark Osborne to Manitoba. After 30 games with the Leafs Fenton was traded to Calgary where he spent the last 31 games of the season. Another trade brought him to the Jose Sharks for their inaugural season in 1991-92. Fenton scored eleven goals and provided leadership with the young squad before retiring at the end of the season.