Doug Mohns grew up in Capreol, Ontario where railway culture and hockey were the kings of time well spent. It is no surprise that, in such a setting, he would earn the nickname "Diesel" out of respect for the manner in which his piston-like legs could dig into the ice and propel him forward like a locomotive.
During his junior career with the Barrie Flyers of the OHA, Mohns played left wing rather than defense. It was there that, under the strict discipline of coach Hap Emms, the youngster learned the finer parts of the game. At the time, he liked Emms' strictness like a spoon of bad cough syrup but appreciated the lessons learned as he entered higher levels of the sport. And in the short term, he enjoyed two Memorial Cup victories in 1951 and 1953.
As he turned pro, Mohns managed to forego the customary developmental stint in the minors when the Bruins' Jack McIntyre went down with an injury at the start of the 1953-54 campaign. The junior standout was brought in and placed on defense as a two-week fill-in. Unfortunately for McIntyre, Mohns impressed the team so much that he won a permanent post with the club and McIntyre was sold to the Blackhawks.
Over the eleven seasons that followed, Mohns became an anchor on the Bruins' defense with his blueline partner, Fernie Flaman. Mohns' mobility and puckhandling skills made him a fan favourite with the Boston crowd. In 1959-60, he became only the second rearguard in NHL history to score 20 goals in a single season.
In 1964-65, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks. There, his versatility began to show as his superior speed earned him a spot on left wing with "Scooter Line" members Stan Mikita and Ken Wharram. Naturally, Mohns' point totals increased dramatically over his blueline days.
But by the end of the 1960s, his customary speed had begun to recede to a more average level. In order to survive into his third decade of pro hockey, he had to rely more on savvy to compensate for fewer physical attributes.
The earliest indication of his age came with the loss of his hair. Mohns became one of the first NHLers to sport a toupee. Being such a novelty, his Blackhawk teammates couldn't resist pinning a note on the back of his coat, unbeknownst to him, that read "It's a wig!"
By 1970-71, the veteran skater was back at his original NHL trade as a defenseman. From then on, until his retirement in 1975, he worked as a stay-at-home defender who added stability and leadership to the young lineups he supported in Minnesota, Atlanta, and, finally, Washington where he hung up his blades after 22 big-league campaigns.