The city of Barrie lost a true hockey tough guy. Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney died at the age of 68 on Nov. 20. No cause of death was given.
Taken 14th overall in the 1970 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, the Barrie native would go on to play 11 seasons with Chicago, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and wrapping up his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1982.
“The thing with Dan, he was such a competitor,” said Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk, who played three seasons for Maloney when he was head coach of the Winnipeg Jets from 1986 to 1989. “He was going to find a way. He ended up doing that and coaching as well. I think for him, hockey was his life.”
A physical left winger who was always willing to take on the NHL’s toughest players, Maloney would rack up 1,489 penalty minutes in 737 NHL games. He finished his career with 192 goals and 259 assists, with his best seasons coming in 1974-1975 with the Kings and 1975-76 with the Red Wings when he racked up back-to-back scoring totals of 27 goals and 39 assists for 66 points.
Maloney would score 20 or more goals in a season three times in his career.
The Barrie native would stay in the game, moving behind the bench as an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs in 1982-83. He was an assistant for two seasons, before taking over the Toronto head coaching duties for two seasons beginning in 1984-85. Maloney finished the 1985-86 season with Leafs, but couldn’t come to an agreement on a new deal with, then-owner, Harold Ballard. He would go on to coach the Winnipeg Jets for three seasons before he was fired in 1989.
“As a coach, Dan loved the game and brought a lot of enthusiasm to the rink every time he was there,” said Hawerchuk, who is now head coach of the Barrie Colts. “He had such a passion for the game, even knowing him while coaching here in Barrie he used to come to a lot of the games and you could still see the passion. He loved talking about certain players. That’s the one thing Dan always had. He played that way and he coached that way.”
Maloney had no problem getting his message across, according to Hawerchuk.
“Dan was one of those guys he didn’t lose it a lot, but in between when he did you saw a very strong man,” explained the former Jets captain. “No garbage can was safe, that’s for sure. But he had such a love for his players and his team. The players all felt that whenever he’d get upset. You felt like you were letting him down, so usually there was a good response from the players.”
The six-foot-one, 195-pound forward was inducted into the Barrie Sports Hall of fame in 1994 and would become a local businessman in Barrie after wrapping up his coaching career.
Maloney will be sadly missed by children Shelley Maloney, Tom Maloney (Jaclyn), Matt Maloney (Elise) and their mother Susanne.
He is the proud grandpa of Connor and Kaitlyn and is survived by his brother Conrad Maloney (Linda), Colum Maloney (late Kay) and sister Pat McAvoy (Gerry). He is predeceased by brother Jimmy Maloney, Brigid Priestner, John Maloney, William Maloney and Gerry Maloney.
The funeral is scheduled for Nov. 26 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on 65 Amelia St. in Barrie, beginning at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Barrie.