Doug Lecuyer

"In this corner, standing at 5 foot 9 inches tall weighing in at 180 pounds, from the Winnipeg Jets, the veteran of many fights Doug Lecuyer!"

"And now entering the ring, in his first professional bout, standing at 6 feet tall and weighing 175lbs if he has all of his hockey equipment on, Wayne Gretzky."

Wait a minute. Wayne Gretzky in a fight?

Yep. It is true. The Wayner actually received three 5 minute major penalties for pugilism. Mind you he wasn't very good at it.

In an interview with the CBC's Peter Gzowski Wayne talked freely about his fight with Minnesota's Neal Broten at Christmas time in 1982. Wayne insisted he won that fight of Ghandi-impersonators. However Gzowski reminded Wayne about a fight a couple of years later with Chicago's Bob Murray. Wayne didn't want to talk too much about that one. Obviously he didn't fare as well against big Bob. Mind you I'm sure Bob had Dave Semenko among others gunning for him for a number of games afterwards.

But what the Gzowski interview failed to point out that Gretzky's first fight was with a kid from Wainright Alberta named Doug Lecuyer.

Now Neal Broten was a lot like Wayne in that he couldn't hurt a fly. Bob Murray was big and strong but not much of a fighter. But Doug Lecuyer certainly knew how to handle himself in a fight.

A fine junior player in Edmonton, Calgary and Portland (WCJHL), Doug put PIMs total in junior was 1317. He stood only 5'9" and 180lbs, so he was hardly a heavyweight, but rather he played a fiesty, pesty Theoren Fleury-like game.

The fight came late in Gretzky's rookie season. Coincidentally, it was Lecuyer's rookie season as well. On March 14, 1980, the two somehow got entangled and dropped the gloves. Its tough to uncover much about this tilt. But I can assure you that as soon as the Oilers realized that Wayne was in a fight of all things they all jumped. The fight was pretty short, and not a classic. It led to a bunch of brawling and lots of name calling!

So who is this Lecuyer guy? He played an abrasive style to survive because he was so small. Scouts had always told him that he wouldn't make it to the big leagues because of his size. But Doug did make it to a certain extent. He played 126 games over 5 pro seasons.

Originally drafted by Chicago 29th overall in 1978, Lecuyer was pretty good with the puck too. He scored 40 goals 3 times in junior and was a point-a-game player at the minor league level. In his 126 NHL games he scored 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points, to go along with 178 PIM. 3 of his 11 goals were game winners too.

Doug was playing a very minor role as a rookie with the Hawks in 1979-80. Lecuyer of course made a name for himself when he fought "The Kid" of all people. Shortly after, Lecuyer had a strong player, scoring 4 goals in 7 games. The 4 goals matched his career production in the previous 55 games.

Lecuyer's name was becoming well known in hockeyland after that, and his stock went up. The Hawks, who saw him play all season, realized his stock would likely never get higher and took the chance and traded him away to Winnipeg with Tim Trimper in exchange for Peter Marsh in December of 1980. Lecuyer went on to score 6 goals and 23 points in 45 games with the Jets that season.

Lecuyer played the entire 1981-82 in the CHL with the Tulsa Oilers where he played well. He scored 30 goals and 38 points in 69 games, but never got recalled to the NHL.

On October 4, 1982, the Pittsburgh Penguins plucked him off of the waiver wire. Lecuyer played 12 games with Pittsburgh, scoring 1 goal and 4 assists, but spent most of the year with the Pens farm team in the AHL. It proved to Lecuyer's last season of professional hockey.

Lecuyer can claim he once fought Wayne Gretzky. But he can also claim he played hard for 126 NHL games, and earned every one of his paychecks.


rick comrie,  1:29 PM  

I knew doug well grew up at the outdoor rink in our neighbor hood he was always the best player but more importantly a real nice person he was brought up by his mother peggy, I had the opportunity to caddy for doug at the Canadian open, as he is a professional golfer not surprising hes a real winner. Rc

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