Douglas William Jarrett
Born: April 22, 1944 (London, Ontario)
Died: February 10, 2014 (Fort Erie, Ontario)
Member: London (Ont.) Sports Hall of Fame (2011)
Doug Jarrett patrolled the blue-line of the Chicago Black Hawks for nine seasons, a steady figure whose control of play earned him the nickname Chairman of the Boards.
Jarrett used a long reach (he stood 6-foot-3) and a devastating hip check to make life miserable for opposing forwards. He had a reputation as a clean hitter. He was never assessed more than 78 penalty minutes in an NHL season.
He appeared in three Stanley Cup finals with the Hawks — in 1965, 1971 and 1973 — losing each time to the Montreal Canadiens. Jarrett never had his name engraved on the cup.
Douglas William Jarrett was born in 1944 in London, Ont., where he became the first player in the city’s midget program to rise to the NHL. Chicago signed him to the organization as a teenager and he spent four seasons playing junior hockey with the St. Catharines (Ont.) Teepees (later Black Hawks), a team whose roster was filled with future NHLers. The defenceman was named to the First All-Star team in his final year in the Ontario Hockey Association.
Jarrett was called up to the parent club for the 1964-65 season, during which he also played 17 games for the St. Louis Braves and one game for the Buffalo Bisons. Jarrett made such an impression as a rookie that he played in 11 playoff games with the Black Hawks, scoring a single goal.
Later in his career with Chicago, Jarrett was paired with Keith Magnuson, an intimidating — and bruising — blueline duo.
Jarrett missed more than a month of the 1970-71 season after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder. He rebounded the following season by recording career highs for goals (six) and assists (23) in 1971-72.
It was an era in which some fans were less interested in goals than fistfights.
“For a while, it didn’t matter who was playing,” Jarrett told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times in 1980. “It was who spit out the most teeth.”
He played in the NHL all-star game on Jan. 21, 1975.
On Oct. 28, 1975, he was traded to the New York Rangers for goalie Gilles Villemure. He would only play in 54 games with the Rangers over two seasons before winding up his playing career with the New Haven Nighthawks of the American Hockey League.
The end to his playing days was not a happy one. He blocked a shot by Guy Lafleur late in the 1976-77 season. He assumed he had a swollen ankle, but days later his back was so sore even a sneeze caused agony.
“When I blocked that shot, I flipped into the air,” he told the Globe and Mail five years later. “I must have done something to my back. I didn’t realize it because my ankle was so sore. Finally, I went to a specialist and he told me, ‘Doug, you might as well go home to Niagara Falls. Your career is probably over. You’ve got a ruptured disc.’ ”
For a few years, the only income he had was a disability fund from the NHL Players’ Association.
Before the injury, he figured he had a few more seasons left and was planning on the income, now that he was making $75,000 per season.
“I was bitter at the way I was treated. I got sick of the game because of the raw deal the Rangers gave me.”
In 11 NHL seasons, Jarrett scored 38 goals with 182 assists in 775 games. He was assessed 631 penalty minutes. He also skated in 99 playoff games with seven goals and 16 assists.
Angry at the way he had been treated, Jarrett refused even to watch a hockey game for three years. He returned to the game as a coach for the Niagara Falls (Ont.) Canucks of the junior-B Golden Horseshoe League in 1980.
Away from hockey, he worked in sales for the steel industry.
His death was announced by his brother-in-law, who said Jarrett died only 10 days after being diagnosed with lung cancer.