Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Brett Callighen
It was the best of careers and the worst of careers, a life of hockey playing alongside Wayne Gretzky, a life cut short by a serious eye injury, a dreams-come-true story, a story ended too too soon. Callighen played minor hockey in Toronto, but gave up the sport entirely at 16, intending instead to become a ski instructor.

In 1973, he enrolled in Centennial College, took some courses in Hospitality, and now 21 he played casual hockey on the school team. Trouble was, he was noticeably better than anyone else, so his coach, Dave McDowell, arranged a tryout with the Flint Generals. Callighen made the team, and moved up through the ranks quickly.

New England signed him to a WHA contract in 1976 and during the season he was traded to the Oilers in Edmonton. There he stayed for six years, and when Wayne Gretzky arrived in 1978-79, coach Glen Sather formed a line of Callighen, Gretzky, and Blair MacDonald. But in February 1980, in a game against Boston, he was accidentally struck in the eye by the blade of Brad McCrimmon's stick. He missed six months of hockey, and when he returned the vision in his left eye was still nowhere near perfect. He had two operations, played again in Lugano, Switzerland for two years, and then quit.

Callighen is now legally blind in that eye. He continues to play Oldtimers hockey in Toronto, and established The Hockey Institute, a school that runs programs for tykes and older. He also works in commercial real estate for John W. Combs Ltd. in Toronto.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1973-74 Centennial College OCAA
1974-75 Dallas Black Hawks CHL 5 0 1 1 2
1974-75 Flint Generals IHL 50 6 20 26 80
1974-75 Kalamazoo Wings IHL 21 3 11 14 40
1975-76 Kalamazoo Wings IHL 72 25 33 58 104 6 2 2 4 21
1976-77 New England Whalers WHA 33 6 10 16 41
1976-77 Rhode Island Reds AHL 22 4 8 12 32
1976-77 Edmonton Oilers WHA 29 9 16 25 48 5 4 1 5 7
1977-78 Edmonton Oilers WHA 80 20 30 50 112 5 0 2 2 16
1978-79 Edmonton Oilers WHA 71 31 39 70 79 13 5 10 15 15
1979-80 Edmonton Oilers NHL 59 23 35 58 72 -1 3 0 2 2 0
1980-81 Edmonton Oilers NHL 55 25 35 60 32 +13 9 4 4 8 6
1981-82 Edmonton Oilers NHL 46 8 19 27 28 +16 2 0 0 0 2
1982-83 HC Lugano Swiss
1983-84 Vienna EV Austria 23 26 13 39 38
1984-85
1985-86 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 11 0 2 2 6
NHL Totals 160 56 89 145 132 14 4 6 10 8


Signed as a free agent by New England (WHA), October, 1976. Traded to Edmonton (WHA) by New England (WHA) with Ron Busniuk for Mike Antonovich and Bill Butters, February, 1977. Traded to New England (WHA) by Edmonton (WHA) for future considerations, June, 1977. Traded to Edmonton (WHA) by New England (WHA) with Dave Dryden and future considerations for Jean-Louis Levasseur, September, 1977. NHL rights retained by Edmonton prior to Expansion Draft, June 9, 1979.
Missed remainder of 1979-80 regular season and start of 1980-81 due to an eye injury vs. Boston, February 24, 1980. Signed as a free agent by Adirondack (AHL), January 11, 1986.
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