October 07, 2014
French First: Andre Peloffy
This is Andre Peloffy. He played in only nine NHL games, all with Washington in 1974-75, never scoring a goal or a point.
But by appearing in the NHL he became an immediate answer to a odd trivia question. He was the first NHL player ever from France.
Peloffy, a diminutive scorer, was born in Sete, France, though he grew up in Quebec. St. Lucie, Quebec is listed as a his hometown. He grew up playing the game like so many other Canadian kids, eventually making it to the QMJHL where he starred with Laval and Rosemont.
The New York Rangers drafted Peloffy in 1971 but aside from that nine game sniff with Washington and a 10 game stop in the WHA with New England, he was mostly known as a strong scorer at the AHL minor league level.
In 1979-80, in the days long before the internet allowed us to follow such things, Peloffy all but disappeared from the hockey scene as far as North Americans were concerned. He took up an offer from "back home" and began playing in France. Aside from a season in Austria, Peloffy starred in France for the next decade.
He also starred with the French national team, playing in B and C Pool World Championships in such strange places as Beijing, China, Jaca, Spain, Budapest, Hungary, Eindhoven, Netherlands and Canazei, Italy.
Two of Peloffy's great highlights of his career came while representing the French national team. In 1985 he helped France finish first place in the C Pool world championships held in France, with Megeve, Chamonix and Saint-Gervais serving as hosts. And in 1988 he helped France qualify for the Olympics. To make it even more special, for the first time in history the Winter Olympics were held in Canada (Calgary.)
France has never been much of a power in the hockey world, though they have made strides in recent years. A lot of that credit should go to Peloffy, as he has remained in France and has served as a long time coach.