Jean-Paul Joseph-Louis Parisé
Born: December 11, 1941 (Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario)
Died: January 7, 2015 (Prior Lake, Minnesota)
Member: Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (2005)
It is the first period of Game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series. The Soviets have a 1-0 lead after scoring on a power-play with a two-man advantage. At 4:10, referee Josef Kompalla of West Germany calls Jean-Paul Parisé of Canada for interference, a questionable call as he seems to have merely completed a check on a Soviet player as he passed the puck.
The penalty call outrages Parisé, who smashes his stick on the ice as he swears. Kompalla signals a 10-minute misconduct penalty. As he speaks to the officials at rink side, an enraged Parisé skates towards the referee, lifts his stick over his head with both hands and begins to swing as though he was an executioner wielding an axe. Kompalla cowers, lifting a leg to protect his groin and both arms to protect his head. It was a sad, ugly sight.
Parisé was dismissed with a game misconduct, the 28 penalty minutes he accrued the most assessed to any player in the eight-game exhibition. After, the incident would be dismissed and forgotten — in Canada, at least — in the joyous relief of Paul Henderson’s historic, last-minute goal.
That Parisé had been named to Team Canada was a bit of a shock. At the time, he had played in only one All-Star Game (in 1970) and was not regarded as one of the NHL’s elite players. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound left winger made the team as a grinder and a checker, whose job it was to feed the puck from the corner to linemate Phil Esposito, the immovable object parked in the Soviet slot. In the end, Parisé contributed two goals and two assists in the series.
He usually sported a five-o’clock shadow to go with righteous sideburns, giving the pint-sized forward an air of menace.
Jean-Paul Joseph-Louis Parisé was born in Smooth Rock Falls, a pulp-mill town in nrotheastern Ontario with a large Franco-Ontarian population. His birth came four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After playing junior-B hockey with the St. Marys (Ont.) Lincolns, he spent a season with the Niagara Falls Flyers, a junior-A team affiliated with the NHL’s Boston Bruins.
Parisé then spent five seasons as a professional in the minors with the Kingston (Ont.) Frontenacs, Minneapolis Bruins and the Oklahoma City Blazers. He had a three-game tryout with the parent Bruins in 1965-66, failing to get on the scoresheet. He skated with the Bruins in 18 games in 1966-67 (Bobby Orr’s rookie year), scoring two goals with two assists.
The doubling of the NHL from six to 12 teams in 1967-68 ensured the undersized and underrated Parisé would have an NHL career. He was selected by the Oakland Seals in the expansion draft but was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs with Bryan Hextall Jr. for Gerry Ehman just before the start of the season. He skated in a single game with the Leafs, gaining an assist. He spent most of the first half of the season with the Rochester Americans until part of an eight-player deal with the Minnesota North Stars.
Playing on a line with Jude Drouin and Bill Goldsworthy, the trio emerged as the North Stars top line. In seven campaigns with Minnesota (five full and two partial), Parisé had seasons in which he scored 27, 24 and 22 goals. His 72 points (24 goals, 48 assists) in 1969-70 placed him seventh on the NHL scoring list. He also gained recognition as a fine two-way player, a pesky checker who had a knack for scoring timely goals. He played in the 1973 All-Star Game, his second.
On Jan. 5, 1975, the North Stars traded him to the New York Islanders. Three months later, on April 11, 1975, Parisé scored at 11 seconds of overtime against Eddie Giacomin of the arch-rival new York Rangers in the deciding Game 3 of the preliminary round of the playoffs. The goal set the Islanders, still a young franchise, on an exciting playoff run, as they eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games before stretching the Philadelphia Flyers, the eventual Stanley Cup winners, to a seventh game in the semifinals. Parisé had eight goals and eight assists in the 17 playoff games. The 1975 playoffs was the foundation for the Islanders destiny to come, though, by then, Parisé would be gone.
Three years after arriving on Long Island, he was traded to the Cleveland Barons for the final 40 games of the 1977-78 season. When the franchise was dispersed at the end of the season, he returned to the North Stars for a final campaign in 1978-79. He retired after the season, having scored 238 goals and 356 assists in 890 NHL games.
He then worked as an assistant coach with the North Stars for seven seasons, interrupted by a season as coach of the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the Central Hockey League.
Parisé was a coach and, later, hockey director at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a prep school in Fairbault, Minn. He rebuilt the program, making it a national powerhouse, as well as a training centre for the likes of Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and his own son, Zach Parisé, today a star player with the Minnesota Wild.
He died of lung cancer in Minnesota, leaving his wife, Donna, whom he had met after she won a prize as the North Stars’ two millionth fan. He also leaves sons Zach and Jordan, a former minor pro goalie.
J.P. Parisé threatens a two-handed swing at referee Josef Kompalla in Game 8 of 1972 Summit Series.