Dave Hoyda

Dave Hoyda (Flyers)

David Allan Hoyda
Born: May 20, 1957 (Edmonton, Alberta)
Died: February 8, 2015 (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

Dave Hoyda was a left winger and an enforcer who played in 132 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets.

His major pro career started just as league officials began introducing measures to bring an end to the era of brawling hockey.

Dave Hoyda (Jets card)His death, at 57, for reasons undisclosed, adds another name to a growing list of hockey players with shortened lives.

In a 1978 game in Buffalo, referee Ron Wicks assessed the Flyers tough guy a two-minute penalty for roughing, a five-minute major for fighting, and a game misconduct under a new aggressor-intimidator rule designed to punish players such as himself. “The only trouble was, Hoyda wouldn’t go,” the columnist Scott Young wrote in the Globe and Mail. “He wanted to fight everybody, and didn’t like the referee hanging on to his shirt, either.” It took four minutes and 33 seconds of the referee tussling with Hoyda before he left the ice.

Later that year, Hoyda was one of 12 players ejected during a wild brawl in a preseason exhibition game between the Flyers and New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden which NHL executive vice-president Brian O’Neill called “one of the most disgusting exhibitions of violence I have ever seen.”

Some of his bouts were featured on early collections of NHL goonery, including fights with John Wensink and Derek Smith.

The grinding forward played in 132 NHL games over parts of four seasons. He scored six goals with 17 assists, while accumulating 299 penalty minutes. His first NHL goal was scored against Tony Esposito of the Chicago Black Hawks, a future Hall of Famer. Hoyda recorded no points (but 17 penalty minutes) in 12 career NHL games.

Born in Edmonton, Alta., he played junior hockey with the Spruce Grove (Alta.) Mets and Edmonton Oil Kings. A final junior campaign with the Portland (Ore.) Winter Hawks had him score 42 points in 61 games, though it was likely the 220 penalty minutes, as well as his 6-foot-1, 205-pound physique that caught the eye of scouts.

Hoyda was drafted by the Flyers in the third round (No. 53 overall) of the 1977 NHL amateur draft. (The Edmonton Oilers selected him in seventh round, No. 60 overall, of the simultaneous World Hockey Association draft.) The Flyers left him unprotected and he was taken by the Jets in the 1979 NHL expansion draft after the league merged with the remnants of the WHA.

Hoyda also skated for such NHL farm teams as the Maine Mariners and Tulsa Oilers, where he closed out his career with 13 goals and 22 assists in 42 games in 1980-81.

He stayed in Oklahoma, where he worked as a general manager for Keystone Equipment in Sand Springs, Okla., outside Tulsa. He also sold used cars for a local Chevrolet dealer.

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