Centre Ivan Boldirev was a superior puck handler with a natural touch around the net. He spent 15 years in the league with six different clubs and recorded nine 20-goal seasons.
Boldirev came to Canada in his youth. After starring with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the NOHA in 1966-67, he spent two years with the Oshawa Generals under the sponsorship of the Boston Bruins. When he was ready to turn pro, Boston sent Boldirev to the CHL to work on his overall game. In the end, the Bruins had too many good forwards and traded the youngster to the California Seals in November 1971.
The talented pivot toiled for nearly three years on one of the NHL's all time sad sack franchises. In May 1974, his career took a turn for the better when he was acquired by the Chicago Black Hawks. Boldirev spent nearly five years in the Windy City where he worked the power play and teamed effectively with Grant Mulvey and Darcy Rota.
Late in the 1978-79 season, the clever centre was part of major trade between the Hawks and the Atlanta Flames which involved star forward Tom Lysiak. Boldirev averaged over a point per game for his new club but the Flames were knocked out in the first round of the post-season. The next February he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks to add playmaking savvy and experience to the club. His best season came in 1981-82 when he scored 33 goals playing on a line with Dave "Tiger" Williams and Tony Currie notched eight playoff markers as the club reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time.
Midway through the 1982-83 season he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Mark Kirton. Boldirev set a career-high in 1983-84 with 35 goals and helped Detroit qualify for the playoffs for only the second time in twelve years. He slipped to 19 goals the next season but did reach the 1,000 game milestone before retiring.