Terry French, for­mer Cana­di­ens’ draft pick, dead at 66

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Sports -

One of the finest hockey play­ers to come out of Grand Falls-Wind­sor, and New­found­land and Labrador, passed away Tues­day, Oct. 3.

Terry French was only 66 when he died in a Fred­er­ic­ton, N.B. hospi­tal of com­pli­ca­tions from di­a­betes and heart-re­lated is­sues.

One year re­moved from high school hockey, French joined the Grand Falls Cataracts in 1969 and was the first win­ner of the New­found­land Se­nior Hockey League’s Al­bert “Pee­wee” Crane Memo­rial Award as the league’s rookie of the year.

In 30 games with the Cataracts, French col­lected four goals and 11 as­sists.

It was dur­ing that sea­son Bill Long, head coach of the On­tario Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion’s Ot­tawa 67s, trav­elled to Grand Falls to see Don Howse play.

It was then Long took no­tice of the Cataracts’ fine young de­fence­man named French.

Howse and French would play for the 67s the next two years, French join­ing a blue­line an­chored by fu­ture Hall of Famer De­nis Potvin.

Just get­ting his feet wet, French ap­peared in 54 games and col­lected 19 as­sists and 23 min­utes in penal­ties.

French en­joyed a break­through 1970-71 ju­nior cam­paign with the 67s, scor­ing seven goals and 36 points in 52 games, to go along with 90 penalty min­utes.

Five spots af­ter the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens se­lected Larry Robinson 20thover­all in the 1971 NHL am­a­teur draft, Cana­di­ens gen­eral man­ager Sam Pol­lock drafted the 19-year-old New­found­lan­der 25th over­all.

Af­ter at­tend­ing train­ing camp in Mon­treal, French stunned the Cana­di­ens by walk­ing into coach Claude Ruel’s of­fice and quit­ting.

French re­turned home and helped Grand Falls win the 1971-72 Herder.

Howse and Tony White, both fu­ture NHLers, also played on the team.

Fol­low­ing a year at Memo­rial Univer­sity play­ing for the Beothuks, French, with the help of for­mer Grand Falls coach Marc Pichette, at­tended the 1973 train­ing camp of the WHA’s Que­bec Nordiques.

He ended up in the North Amer­i­can Hockey League that year in Maine, fin­ish­ing the sea­son with 34 points in 62 games.

It would be the last time he would play com­pet­i­tive hockey.

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