Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Brian Spencer
Brian Spencer lived long enough to reach his ultimate goal of playing in the NHL, but his life was cut down before he could fully live it.

Spencer grew up in Fort St. James, B.C. His father, Roy, did everything he could to give his son a chance to play hockey, including scraping together enough money to send Brian to a hockey school. It was at this school that Spencer learned how to skate and how to believe that he could play in the NHL. After two seasons in the WCJHL, Spencer was selected by the Maple Leafs in the 1969 Amateur Draft.

While playing for the Leafs' CHL affiliate, the Tulsa Oilers, Spencer was called up to Toronto to be the tough player the struggling Leafs needed. The first person he called was his dad back home in B.C. When Spencer found out that the game against the Blackhawks was to be televised across Canada, his father was all set to see his son play in the NHL for the first time. For some reason the game was switched to the Canucks game and Roy Spencer was incensed as he sat in front of his television set. He drove 85 miles to the television station and, with gun in hand, ordered the workers to switch the game. When he left the station the RCMP was waiting outside and shots went back and forth. Roy was dead. Brian was shattered but kept playing. The next game that was televised back to Fort St. James he scored a hat trick.

Spencer spent his first three seasons in the league splitting time between Toronto and Tulsa. He was claimed by the Islanders in the 1972 Expansion Draft but remained in New York one full season before being traded to the Sabres partway through the second. Spencer spent three more seasons in Buffalo and helped the team go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals in 1975 only to lose to the Flyers. Spencer was dealt once again, in 1977, to the Penguins where he played two seasons, his last in the NHL coming in 1978-79. He spent the remainder of his playing days in the AHL before retiring from the game after 1979-80.

After hockey, Spencer ran into some rough times, moving down to Florida where he ran into a life of drugs and violence. In 1987, he was charged with kidnapping and murder and faced the death penalty. His family and friends, including ex-teammates, gathered around him and helped Spencer through a rough time. The jury came back with a not guilty verdict in 1988 and Spencer vowed to rebuild his life. Three months later, he was shot and killed while being robbed.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1966-67 Estevan Bruins SJHL
1967-68 Regina Pats WCJHL 23 1 2 3 12
1967-68 Calgary Centennials WCJHL 34 13 10 23 27
1968-69 Estevan<196>Swift Current WCJHL 53 19 29 48 120 4 3 1 4 14
1969-70 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 9 0 0 0 12 -4
1969-70 Tulsa Oilers CHL 66 13 19 32 186
1970-71 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 50 9 15 24 115 +2 6 0 1 1 17
1970-71 Tulsa Oilers CHL 23 6 8 14 103
1971-72 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 36 1 5 6 65 +2
1971-72 Tulsa Oilers CHL 20 7 7 14 115
1972-73 New York Islanders NHL 78 14 24 38 90 -47
1973-74 New York Islanders NHL 54 5 16 21 65 -16
1973-74 Buffalo Sabres NHL 13 3 2 5 4 -3
1974-75 Buffalo Sabres NHL 73 12 29 41 77 +17 16 0 4 4 8
1975-76 Buffalo Sabres NHL 77 13 26 39 70 +14 9 1 0 1 4
1976-77 Buffalo Sabres NHL 77 14 15 29 55 0 6 0 0 0 0
1977-78 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 79 9 11 20 81 -18
1978-79 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 7 0 0 0 0 0
1978-79 Binghamton Dusters AHL 39 5 9 14 58
1979-80 Springfield Indians AHL 9 1 1 2 0
1979-80 Hershey Bears AHL 30 0 4 4 23
NHL Totals 553 80 143 223 634 37 1 5 6 29


Claimed by NY Islanders from Toronto in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1972. Traded to Buffalo by NY Islanders for Doug Rombough, March 10, 1974. Traded to Pittsburgh by Buffalo for Ron Schock, September 20, 1977.
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