Born: September 19, 1957 (Robertsville, Québec)
Died: January 2, 2015 (Québec City, Québec)
Dan Poulin, a defenceman with the Minnesota North Stars, scored on his first shot in the NHL, beating future Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Tony Esposito of the Chicago Black Hawks.
Poulin made his NHL debut in Bloomington, Minn., on Dec. 12, 1981. He skated in two more NHL games in the 1981-82 season, being credited with an assist. Those were his only three NHL games in a professional career lasting 13 seasons.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defenceman played four seasons of junior hockey with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in his home province of Québec. The Montreal Canadiens drafted him in the 18th round (No. 167 overall) of the 1977 amateur draft.
He spent a season in the International Hockey League with the Kalamazoo Wings and Muskegon Mohawks before joining the Erie Blades of the North Eastern Hockey League. The Erie franchise shifted to the Eastern Hockey League for the 1979-80 season. He scored 33 goals with a league-leading 66 assists in just 65 games that season.
Poulin then skated for the Oklahoma City Stars of the Central Hockey League in 1980-81 after which he was named to the league’s First All-Star Team, an honour he had also received in the NEHL, the EHL and Quebec Major Junior.
Poulin won the Bobby Orr Trophy as the Central Hockey League’s top defenceman in 1981-82 with the Nashville South Stars. It was the same season in which he made his NHL debut.
The Québec rearguard then completed his career with eight seasons in Switzerland, seven of those with Biel-Bienne before closing out with Davos. He was regarded as a legend in Swiss hockey as a top-scoring defenceman. He scored 32 goals in 38 games for Biel-Bienne in 1982-83, while recording 64 points in 40 games the following season.
A resident of Adstock, Que., he died of skin cancer at l’Hotel-Dieu in Quebec City on Jan. 2. He was 57.