Conacher still has to establish himself as a NHL player, but he has already come across incredibly long odds. He has always faced size discrimination. He was realistic enough to know that playing at Canisius College to focus hard on his studies. He had every intention of becoming an accountant. The only numbers he is crunching these days are goals and assists.
And then there's his health. Assuming he plays with the Lightning he will become only the third active player in the league with Type 1 Diabetes, joining B.J. Crombeen and Toby Petersen. But for Conacher it is not an issue.
Also interesting is Conacher's Hall of Fame family connections. According to Adam Proteau of The Hockey News, he is a distant relative of hockey's famous Conacher family. Back in the 1930s Charlie "The Big Bomber" Conacher scored at will and established himself as arguably the greatest player in Toronto Maple Leafs history. Lionel "The Big Train" Conacher was not only a hockey star but he excelled at so many sports that he was named as Canada's best athlete in the first half of the 20th century. Then Roy Conacher of the Chicago Blackhawks joined his two brothers in the Hockey Hall of Fame. On top of that, Lionel's son Brian Conacher also played in the NHL and at the Olympics. Brian's cousins Pete Conacher and Murray Henderson also played in the NHL.
The Tampa Bay Times also confirms the family relationships.
|Charlie and Lionel Conacher, with brother Bert in the middle. |
Bert lost vision in an eye before he had a chance to play in the NHL