Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Warren Rychel
As a youngster growing up in southwestern Ontario, Warren Rychel found himself in the hands of NHL defenseman Pat Stapleton -- but not for reasons related to hockey.

Rychel used to hang out with his buddy, future NHLer Mike Stapleton, Pat's son. During the harvest on the farm near Strathroy, the lads were climbing around above a large conical funnel used to channel grain into storage. While the men were on a coffee break across the street, young Rychel fell into the funnel and became lodged at the bottom with grain closing off his breathing passages. A yell for help brought Pat Stapleton and company who saved the lad's life by forming a human chain suspended upside down. Stapleton extended his arms just far enough to wrestle Rychel free from the smothering grain.

Rychel survived to eventually have his day, like the Stapletons, in the NHL. But the path was long and winding in nature. Even his junior career was marked by travel. During his three years in the OHL, he skated for Sudbury, Guelph, Ottawa, and Kitchener.

Although never selected in the NHL draft, Rychel did sign as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks' organization. The move sparked the beginning of a lengthy stay in hockey's equivalent of the boondocks. He patiently put in stints with Peoria, Saginaw, Chicago, Indianapolis, Moncton, and Kalamazoo while his NHL rights were passed to Winnipeg and then to Minnesota.

In 1992-93, however, he caught his first big-league break. The L.A. Kings were in need of a grinding forward that matched Rychel's profile. They signed him as a free agent and set him loose on the league as a take-no-prisoners pugilist who fought often and remembered to play enough hockey to look respectable.

After several seasons of stability, Rychel's rights began to move again in 1995. In February of that year, he was traded to the Washington Capitals who flipped him to the Leafs. He put in 29 games in Blue and White and was then sold to Colorado. He played one season with the Avalanche and then landed in Anaheim with the Mighty Ducks. There, Rychel played parts of two seasons in his usual physical mode and was then returned to the Avalanche where he rounded out his career in 1998.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1983-84 Essex 73's ON-Jr.C 24 11 16 27 86
1984-85 Sudbury Wolves OHL 35 5 8 13 74
1984-85 Guelph Platers OHL 29 1 3 4 48
1985-86 Guelph Platers OHL 38 14 5 19 119
1985-86 Ottawa 67's OHL 29 11 18 29 54
1986-87 Ottawa 67's OHL 28 11 7 18 57
1986-87 Kitchener Rangers OHL 21 5 5 10 39 4 0 0 0 9
1987-88 Peoria Rivermen IHL 7 2 1 3 7
1987-88 Saginaw Hawks IHL 51 2 7 9 113 1 0 0 0 0
1988-89 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 2 0 0 0 17 -1
1988-89 Saginaw Hawks IHL 50 15 14 29 226 6 0 0 0 51
1989-90 Indianapolis Ice IHL 77 23 16 39 374 14 1 3 4 64
1990-91 Indianapolis Ice IHL 68 33 30 63 338 5 2 1 3 30
1990-91 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 3 1 3 4 2
1991-92 Moncton Hawks AHL 36 14 15 29 211
1991-92 Kalamazoo Wings IHL 45 15 20 35 165 8 0 3 3 51
1992-93 Los Angeles Kings NHL 70 6 7 13 314 -15 23 6 7 13 39
1993-94 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 10 9 19 322 -19
1994-95 Los Angeles Kings NHL 7 0 0 0 19 -5
1994-95 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 26 1 6 7 101 +1 3 0 0 0 0
1995-96 Colorado Avalanche NHL 52 6 2 8 147 +6 12 1 0 1 23
1996-97 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 70 10 7 17 218 +6 11 0 2 2 19
1997-98 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 63 5 6 11 198 -10
1997-98 Colorado Avalanche NHL 8 0 0 0 23 -1 6 0 0 0 24
1998-99 Colorado Avalanche NHL 28 0 2 2 63 +3 12 0 1 1 14
1999-00
2000-01 Phoenix Coyotes NHLMGNT
NHL Totals 406 38 39 77 1422 70 8 13 21 121


Signed as a free agent by Chicago, September 19, 1986. Traded to Winnipeg by Chicago with Troy Murray for Bryan Marchment and Chris Norton, July 22, 1991. Traded to Minnesota by Winnipeg for Tony Joseph, December 30, 1991. Signed as a free agent by Los Angeles, October 1, 1992. Traded to Washington by Los Angeles for Randy Burridge, February 10, 1995. Traded to Toronto by Washington for Toronto's 4th round pick (Sebastien Charpentier) in 1995 NHL Draft, February 10, 1995. Traded to Colorado by Toronto for cash, October 2, 1995. Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, August 21, 1996. Traded to Colorado by Anaheim with future considerations for Josef Marha, March 24, 1998.
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