Ron Duguay, the NHL veteran who made a name for himself off and on the ice, signed with the Gulls Tuesday and will play in tonight’s game against Phoenix.
Duguay, 33, played 864 NHL games covering 12 seasons--seven with the New York Rangers, three with Detroit, and parts of two with Pittsburgh and the Kings--and scored 274 NHL goals and had 346 assists. His best season was with the Rangers in 1981-82, when he scored 40 goals, had 36 assists, and was named to play in the NHL All-Star game.
General Manager Don Waddell said he tried to acquire Duguay, who played in West Germany last year and was one of the last players cut from Toronto’s training camp, for three months.
“I think he’ll be a very popular player here in San Diego,” Waddell said. “I think fans will enjoy watching him play. He’s known for his hustle and his robust play, and at 33 years of age, we still think he can do that and help us win hockey games.”
Although Duguay, a right wing-center, had been practicing with the semipro San Diego Surf for two months and followed the progress of the Gulls from his home in San Clemente, he said he wasn’t sure he wanted to play again if it wasn’t in the NHL.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” he said. “I wanted to make sure 100% of me was ready, mentally to come. I didn’t know if I wanted to play in the minors or not.”
Duguay said his career has been satisfying, but he hopes to squeeze out two more years, and use the Gulls as a stepping stone back into the NHL.
“I’ve had a great career, lots of fun,” Duguay said, “I guess I’m making somewhat of a comeback. I’ve been watching (San Diego.) It’s a quality team, and run a professional way. I come here in hopes of getting back in the NHL. We’ll see what happens.”
According to Duguay, he has done “a little bit of everything,” scoring, checking and defense in the past, and it is too early to determine what his role with the Gulls will be.
“I’ll do whatever I can,” he said. “A lot of it is providing leadership for some of the other players because I do have a lot of experience.”
Duguay was one of the last NHL players not to use a helmet, a practice he said he would continue in San Diego.
Known as a playboy in New York, Duguay said seven years of marriage and family, he and his wife Robin have two girls, have changed him.
“I got a lot of attention (in New York),” he said. “They treated me very special, and I made the best of the situation . . . But I’ve settle down quite a bit.”