Denis Dupere keeps a picture of his crowning NHL moment on the wall in his kitchen. The native of Jonquiere, Quebec, in Maple Leaf blue, is seen leaping past sprawling Canadiens' netminder Rogie Vachon in celebration of his first-ever NHL goal.
Dupere made the journeyman's march to the big leagues via the Kitchener Rangers of the OHA and the Omaha Knights of the Central Hockey League. By 1970, the Leafs acquired the weighty winger for third- and fourth-line duty. Dupere was a defensive specialist who had a knack for winning face-offs and could effectively deceive goaltenders with his strong wrist shot off the wrong foot.
In 1974, Dupere joined the Washington Capitals where he scored twenty goals and fulfilled a dream as the Caps choice for the All-Star game. "I was shaking when I hit the ice," he recalled. "Seeing all those guys?Lafleur, Dryden, Esposito, Orr. You can't beat a thrill like that!"
Dupere's career wound down with stops in St. Louis, Kansas City and finally, in Colorado where he retired in 1978. After the NHL, Dupere played briefly in France.