Former NHL defenseman Gary Doak died today at 71 years old. Doak was a veteran of over 750 NHL games in a 15-year NHL career. While Doak was known for his tough, fearless, physical style, his teammates and peers described him as a gentleman off the ice who was quiet, humble, and the ultimate team player.
Doak broke into the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings at the age of 19 in 1965, but was traded to the Boston Bruins midway through his rookie season. It was with the Bruins that Doak made a name for himself as one of the fiercest defenseman in the league and called Boston his home long after his playing days were over. After being moved to the Bruins, Doak enjoyed four more seasons with the team, including helping them win the 1970 Stanley Cup championship while skating alongside the likes of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, John Bucyk, Derek Sanderson and more. However, he was claimed that off-season by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1970 NHL Expansion Draft and became one of the inaugural members of the league’s newest team. After one very successful season in Vancouver, Doak was first traded to the New York Rangers in 1971, then returned to the team that drafted him, the Red Wings, in 1972, before the Bruins were able to re-acquire the fan favorite in 1973. Doak played out the rest of his career in Boston, playing until 1981. Over 15 seasons in the NHL, Doak scored 23 goals and added 103 assists, but impressed more in his own zone with a career +140 rating, nearly 1,000 penalty minutes, and was widely known as a skilled shot-blocker and checker. Doak was perhaps one of the best stay-at-home defenders of the 1970’s.
After hanging up his skates, Doak stayed with the Bruins as an assistant coach under former teammate Gerry Cheevers for five seasons. Doak then stayed in the city, taking over as the head coach at the nearby University of Massachusetts – Boston for many years. A well-regarded and well-liked player and coach, Doak became a true Bostonian and will be missed by teammates and fans of the Bruins, as well as by his peers and supporters across the NHL.
RIP Gary Doak
Great tribute! Thanks Zach Leach!
So sorry to hear of the passing of Gary Doak; a great guy.
Mr. Doak was a true defensive defenseman; loved his defensive skills
Hard to believe that Mr. Doak was 71 years of age at his passing.