Tuesday

Dirk Graham

Meet Dirk Graham - Mr. Chicago Blackhawk.

Dirk Graham was a hard-hitting, defensive-minded forward in his eight years with the Blackhawks. His hustling aggressive style was very typical of the Hawks in those days. He was a tireless worker who did anything necessary to help Chicago win hockey games.

He was also pretty good with the puck. He had 152 goals, 190 assists and 685 penalty minutes in 546 games for Chicago from 1988 to 1995. He also set a team record for most short-handed goals in a season, 10 in 1988-89.

Originally a draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, Graham 6 seasons in the minors waiting for his chance to play in the NHL which finally came on a full time basis in 1985 with the Minnesota North Stars. His total NHL stats include 219 goals and 489 points in 772 games.

But most importantly, he was a leader. He was captain for 6 1/2 seasons and part of the 1992 squad
that won 11 straight playoff games before losing to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals.

"It's a commitment to team, a commitment to your teammates, playing with heart, playing with desire," Graham said. "If you come to play every night, play hard and leave everything on the ice ... we're going to win our share of hockey games."

A young Jeremy Roenick was awed by Graham's leadership.

"Dirk Graham, I've said many times, is the captain of captains. He is a man that has gone through so much adversity, who has paid his dues well beyond anybody's expectations."

Joe Murphy agreed.

"I think Dirk Graham is probably the most important player on our team, being the captain right now. He holds the group together. He's our captain. He's the guy the guys look up to. He's a quiet leader, but when he has something to say, the guys listen to him. He just goes out and plays hard. Night in and night out he does it.

Graham, who won the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward in 1991, was a playoff warrior. In the 1990 playoffs he played with a frozen leg due to a cracked knee cap. In 90 career playoff games Graham potted 17 goals and 27 assists to go along with countless body checks and dogged determination.

Graham was also a member of Team Canada at the 1991 Canada Cup. He scored a key short-handed goal against the United States in the two game finale.

Graham was named coach of the Blackhawks in 1998. The move was a surprise since Graham had only one season as an assistant coach under his belt.

"I played with the guy. I knew what kind of leadership he has," said Bob Murray, Chicago's general
manager and former teammate. "I know the kind of instantaneous respect he commands when he walks in the locker room."

Graham biggest disadvantage as a coach was that he didn't have Dirk Graham playing for him. He was quickly replaced behind the bench by Lorne Molleken.

6 comments:

nick 10:38 PM  

i dont remember much because i was very young , but i do remember when you played for the toledo goal diggers, along side my biological dad, Blake. i have worn the number 33 every season of hockey i played except for two season when i wore the number 8. watching you play hockey was the reason i started playing and the chicago blackhawks are still #1 in my book, i even have my 3 year old son starting to watch and like the sport when i say" what do we say boys?" my son yells lets go blackhawks . its great

nick 10:38 PM  

i dont remember much because i was very young , but i do remember when you played for the toledo goal diggers, along side my biological dad, Blake. i have worn the number 33 every season of hockey i played except for two season when i wore the number 8. watching you play hockey was the reason i started playing and the chicago blackhawks are still #1 in my book, i even have my 3 year old son starting to watch and like the sport when i say" what do we say boys?" my son yells lets go blackhawks . its great

Anonymous,  6:26 PM  

You can add tough and grit to the adjectives to describe Graham. That 1992 run was great, and I went to games in all the series. Most people don't know that he played that entire playoff run with a broken knee cap!! That's tough and grit in one package!

Dan

Anonymous,  12:55 PM  

Dirk Graham was a great hockey player, probably a good person also. I remember getting a stick from him after the game one time, then we chatted for a little bit bout the game. Wow!! He had one of the hardest shots in the league at the time, could break the glass from centre ice, I've seen that. Not to mention the fighting, he could outmuscle some big fellas. Seen him take up for his teammates a number of times, the epitome of mr.captian,Linden couldn't do that. Alright, he was one of the best captians around. Him and Wickenieser, were great to play shinny with, they spared us kids back then. r.i.p, wick, and hello graham wherever you are!!Seen them with the pats at different times, played shinny with them both though, fun times.

Kim 12:20 PM  

I know Dirk as a person. Integrity is and always was important to him. He is a good man, a devoted father, and I am proud to have him as a friend.

Anonymous,  8:16 PM  

A family member married Dirk- He was an awesome guy. We loved him alot. Unfortunately, she wasnt too smart and we lost him in the divorce. Her mom and her sister were crazy about him. Its too bad. We would love to reunite with him.

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