Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Dave Balon
Dave Balon began to feel the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis while still a high-scoring star in the NHL, though he wasn't diagnosed with the disease until after his playing days were over. Fans and coaches thought his legs were gone, that he had lost the drive that had helped him win two Stanley Cups with Montreal and grab headlines as a top goal scorer in New York.

Plagued by constant fatigue, he saw his goal-production dwindle and a few short years after being voted the most popular New York Ranger in 1970-71, he was out of the league. The winger first came to prominence playing on a junior team with his brothers, Chick and Rudy. In 1963 he was involved in a much-discussed trade between New York and Montreal, moving with Gump Worsley to the Canadiens for Jacques Plante.

He won Cups with the Habs in 1965 and 1966 and led the league in playoff assists with the Minnesota North Stars in 1967. He returned to the Rangers the next year and played on a line with Walt Tkaczuk and Bill Fairbairn. A high-scoring trio known as "The Bulldogs", Balon was assigned to check opposing stars such as Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull, and his savvy play garnered him one of the best plus-minus ratings in the league. When his illness began to affect his play, Balon was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks, where he was booed by fans that expected him to score as he had in New York.

After a year in the WHA, Balon retired in 1974 to battle MS.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1955-56 Prince Albert Mintos SJHL 14 5 5 10 14 12 3 2 5 14
1956-57 Prince Albert Mintos SJHL 40 29 30 59 112 13 5 5 10 15
1957-58 Prince Albert Mintos SJHL 51 35 44 79 113 6 3 1 4 10
1957-58 Vancouver Canucks WHL 4 0 2 2 8
1957-58 Regina Pats M-Cup 16 6 4 10 23
1958-59 Saskatoon Quakers WHL 57 12 25 37 80
1959-60 New York Rangers NHL 3 0 0 0 0
1959-60 Vancouver Canucks WHL 3 1 1 2 2
1959-60 Trois-Rivieres Lions EPHL 61 28 42 70 104 7 2 2 4 19
1960-61 New York Rangers NHL 13 1 2 3 8
1960-61 Kitchener-Waterloo Beavers EPHL 55 15 26 41 77 7 1 1 2 12
1961-62 New York Rangers NHL 30 4 11 15 11 6 2 3 5 2
1961-62 Kitchener-Waterloo Beavers EPHL 37 23 19 42 87
1962-63 New York Rangers NHL 70 11 13 24 72
1963-64 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 24 18 42 80 7 1 1 2 25
1964-65 Montreal Canadiens NHL 63 18 23 41 61 10 0 0 0 10
1965-66 Montreal Canadiens NHL 45 3 7 10 24 9 2 3 5 16
1965-66 Houston Apollos CPHL 9 6 6 12 0
1966-67 Montreal Canadiens NHL 48 11 8 19 31 9 0 2 2 6
1967-68 Minnesota North Stars NHL 73 15 32 47 84 -10 14 4 9 13 14
1968-69 New York Rangers NHL 75 10 21 31 57 +5 4 1 0 1 0
1969-70 New York Rangers NHL 76 33 37 70 100 +40 6 1 1 2 32
1970-71 New York Rangers NHL 78 36 24 60 34 +14 13 3 2 5 4
1971-72 New York Rangers NHL 16 4 5 9 2 +5
1971-72 Vancouver Canucks NHL 59 19 19 38 21 -15
1972-73 Vancouver Canucks NHL 57 3 2 5 22 -16
1973-74 Quebec Nordiques WHA 9 0 0 0 2
1973-74 Binghamton Dusters AHL 7 0 1 1 0
NHL Totals 776 192 222 414 607 78 14 21 35 109


Played in NHL All-Star Game (1965, 1967, 1968, 1971) Traded to Montreal by NY Rangers with Gump Worsley, Leon Rochefort and Len Ronson for Phil Goyette, Don Marshall and Jacques Plante, June 4, 1963. Selected by Minnesota from Montreal in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1967. Traded to NY Rangers by Minnesota for Wayne Hillman, Dan Seguin and Joey Johnston, June 12, 1968. Traded to Vancouver by NY Rangers with Wayne Connelly and Ron Stewart for Gary Doak and Jim Wiste, November 16, 1971. Selected by Quebec (WHA) in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, February 12, 1972.