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Dennis Polonich

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Dennispolonich

Dennis Daniel Polonich

Selected by Detroit Red Wings 8th round (#118) in 1973 NHL Amateur Draft


is a retired professional centre who spent his entire NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings. He was known as a troublemaker who would do anything (especially fighting) to disrupt the opposition. He was selected 8th (118th overall) by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft.

Playing careerEdit

Junior hockeyEdit

Polonich began noticing early on that he wasn't one of the big kids around the league. Standing only an unimpressive five feet, six inches, and while playing for the Flin Flon Bombers of the WCHL, Polonich decided he needed a way to get the attention of the pro scouts. He felt the easiest way to do this was getting the face of every single player on the other team while scoring some goals in between. Polonich started picking fights with players all over the league during the 1972–73 season and was known to never stop trash-talking. He racked up 222 penalty minutes to go along with 83 points that season but also accomplished what he first set out to do, impress the scouts. Polonich was drafted 118th by the Detroit Red Wings in 1973. However, the Wings wanted to see if Polonich could be as effective in a higher league. They decided to ship him across the pond to Britain to play a season with the London Lions. He impressed and was brought back for the 1974–75 season.

Professional hockeyEdit

In the 1974–75 season the AHL had its first look at the young firecracker when Polonich joined the Virginia Wings. He helped them reach the playoffs with 34 points while leading the team in penalty minutes and went on to be the best scorer in their short playoff appearance. Towards the end of the season Polonich got the chance to play in his first NHL game. He would join the Wings for four games that season ending with no goals, no assists, and surprisingly no penalty minutes, but with a renewed sense of what he was playing for. After a quick stint with the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL, Polonich became a full-time Red Wing in the 1975–76 NHL season. The Red Wings were retooling, adding toughness and grit to their roster after a few disappointing seasons and Polonich fit the bill. Although small, Polonich brought an instant force to the team and starting wreaking havoc in the highest league in hockey. Polonich set a club record on March 24, 1976 by sitting out eight penalties - five minors, a major and a misconduct. Looking back, Polonich wishes he’d spent less time in the sin bin and more on the ice.

"If I had stayed out of the box a little more, I might have scored 20 or 25 goals, you have to have a mighty long stick to score from the penalty box."

In the 1976–77 season Polonich had a short tenure as captain of the Detroit Red Wings while Danny Grant was injured. He would finish second on the team in scoring with 46 points and first on the team (second in the league behind Tiger Williams) in penalty minutes with 274. He would again lead the team in penalty minutes the following season.

On October 25, 1978 Polonich was doing what he did best when he got under the skin of Colorado Rockies' Wilf Paiement. In what has been termed as the worst-ever case of brutality in the NHL, Paiement smashed the dimunitive Polonich across the face with his stick, leaving Polonich with a concussion, severe facial lacerations, and a broken nose requiring reconstructive surgery. Polonich sued, and was rewarded with a settlement of $850,000 in 1982. Polonich suffered from breathing problems for the remainder of his career.

After five and a half seasons with the Red Wings, Polonich was sent down to the AHL after the 1980–81 season and, besides 11 games in 1982, would remain there. He helped the Adirondack Red Wings reach the playoffs twice in the following four years before jumping to the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the IHL.

Polonich finally retired in 1987.

RecordsEdit

  • Red Wings club record: Sitting out eight penalties in one game - five minors, a major and a misconduct. (1976)

Career StatisticsEdit

PlayingEdit

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1971-72 Flin Flon Bombers WCHL 65 9 21 30 200 5 0 1 1 41
1972-73 Flin Flon Bombers WCHL 68 26 48 74 222 9 1 5 6 38
1973-74 London Lions Ind 67 17 43 60 57 -- -- -- -- --
1974-75 Detroit Red Wings NHL 4 0 0 0 0 -- -- -- -- --
Virginia Wings AHL 60 14 20 34 194 5 0 2 2 30
1975-76 Kalamazoo Wings IHL 5 1 8 9 32 -- -- -- -- --
Detroit Red Wings NHL 57 11 12 23 302 -- -- -- -- --
1976-77 Detroit Red Wings NHL 79 18 28 46 274 -- -- -- -- --
1977-78 Detroit Red Wings NHL 79 16 19 35 254 7 1 0 1 19
1978-79 Detroit Red Wings NHL 62 10 12 22 208 -- -- -- -- --
1979-80 Detroit Red Wings NHL 66 2 8 10 127 -- -- -- -- --
1980-81 Detroit Red Wings NHL 32 2 2 4 77 -- -- -- -- --
Adirondack Red Wings AHL 40 16 13 29 99 14 9 5 14 95
1981-82 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 80 30 26 56 202 5 2 2 4 0
1982-83 Detroit Red Wings NHL 11 0 1 1 0 -- -- -- -- --
Adirondack Red Wings AHL 61 18 22 40 128 6 2 2 4 10
1983-84 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 66 14 26 40 122 -- -- -- -- --
1984-85 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 53 18 17 35 133 -- -- -- -- --
1985-86 Muskegon Lumberjacks IHL 78 32 36 68 222 14 8 10 18 36
1986-87 Muskegon Lumberjacks IHL 22 2 9 11 24 -- -- -- -- --
NHL Totals 390 59 82 141 1242 7 1 0 1 19

CoachingEdit

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League Type GP W L T Pts Finish GP W L Results
1986-87 Yorkton Terriers SJHL Head Statistics Unavailable 4th 11 4 7 Lost Semi
1987-88 Yorkton Terriers SJHL Head 60 36 22 2 74 3rd 16 10 6 Lost Final
1988-89 Yorkton Terriers SJHL Head 64 37 25 2 76 2nd South 10 6 4 Lost Semi
1989-90 Yorkton Terriers SJHL Head 68 39 26 3 81 2nd South 17 10 7 Lost Final
1990-91 Yorkton Terriers SJHL Head 68 47 19 2 96 1st South 13 12 1 Won League
Anavet Cup Head -- -- -- -- -- -- 5 4 1 Won Series
Centennial Cup Head 4 3 1 - 6 1st 1 0 1 Lost Semi
1991-92 Yorkton Terriers SJHL Head 64 36 26 2 74 4th South 4 0 4 Lost Div Semi
1992-93 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL Head 31 16 11 4 36 7th East 10 5 5 Lost Div Semi

ManagingEdit

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T Pts Finish GP W L Results
1986-87 Yorkton Terriers SJHL Statistics Unavailable 4th 11 4 7 Lost Semi
1987-88 Yorkton Terriers SJHL 60 36 22 2 74 3rd 16 10 6 Lost Final
1988-89 Yorkton Terriers SJHL 64 37 25 2 76 2nd South 10 6 4 Lost Semi
1989-90 Yorkton Terriers SJHL 68 39 26 3 81 2nd South 17 10 7 Lost Final
1990-91 Yorkton Terriers SJHL 68 47 19 2 96 1st South 13 12 1 Won League
Anavet Cup -- -- -- -- -- -- 5 4 1 Won Series
Centennial Cup 4 3 1 - 6 1st 1 0 1 Lost Semi
1991-92 Yorkton Terriers SJHL 64 36 26 2 74 4th South 4 0 4 Lost Div Semi
1992-93 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 72 29 38 5 63 7th East 10 5 5 Lost Div Semi
1993-94 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 72 33 33 6 72 5th East 3 0 3 Lost Div Qtr
1994-95 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 72 38 32 2 78 5th East 5 1 4 Lost Div Qtr
1995-96 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 72 30 37 5 65 3rd Central 5 1 4 Lost Conf Qtr
1996-97 Prince George Cougars WHL 72 28 39 5 61 6th West 15 9 6 Lost Conf Final
1997-98 Prince George Cougars WHL 72 43 24 5 91 3rd West 12 5 7 Lost Conf Semi

Awards & Achievements Edit

  • Calder Cup American Hockey League Championship (1981)
  • International Hockey League Championship (1986)
  • Anavet Cup Manitoba / Saskatchewan Junior A Hockey Championship (1991)

External linksEdit

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