Forward Dirk Graham spent parts of a dozen NHL seasons with the Minnesota North Stars and Chicago Black Hawks in the 80s and 90s. He was a diligent checker, team leader and under-rated goal scoring threat.
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Graham was chosen 89th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 1979 after starring with the hometown Pats of the WCJHL. He spent four years in the minors and was a dominant scorer with the IHL's Toledo Goaldiggers. In 1981 he scored 40 goals and was named to the league's second all-star team then notched 70 goals in 1983 and was placed on the first team.
The North Stars gradually worked him into the line up and oversaw his development in the CHL and AHL for two years before he won a job in 1985-86. Along the way he was named to the CHL first all-star team after scoring 94 points for the Salt Lake Golden Eagles in 1983-84. Graham recorded consecutive 20-goal seasons in Minny then represented Canada when it finished fourth at the 1987 World Championships. Early in the 1987-88 season the hard working forward was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks for hard-nosed forward Curt Fraser.
Graham played the finest hockey of his career in Chicago. He scored at least 20 goals four times, helped the team reach the Stanley Cup final in 1992 and served as the team's captain from 1989 to 1995. He was an inspirational leader on and off the ice and was an exemplary worker on both specialty teams. In 1991 Graham's stellar work without the puck earned him the Frank J. Selke trophy. A few months later represented his country at the Canada Cup and scored a key shorthanded goal when the team vanquished the United States in the two-game final. Graham retired after the Lockout-shortened season in 1995. He served as an assistant to Hawks' coach Craig Hartsburg in 1995-96, took a year off, then returned as a scout with the organization. Graham served briefly as head coach of Chicago in 1998-99 but was replaced by Lorne Molleken.