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April 28, 2015

Jeff Buchanan

Jeff Buchanan was a tough as nails defenseman. More than 2000 penalty minutes in 10 combined seasons of pro and junior tell you that. He was a feared fighter and a rugged presence.

The Swift Current native played his junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades in the early 1990s. Like a lot of western Canadian kids at that time he dreamed of playing pro alongside Gretzky. Buchanan's dreams came true, but only sort of.

Undrafted after three years in junior, this frequent visitor to the penalty box signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992. He was immediately assigned to their IHL farm team in Atlanta. It was with the Knights that Buchanan got to play with Gretzky - only it Wayne Gretzky's kid brother Brent!

Another of his more famous teammates was female goaltender Manon Rheaume.

After two years (and nearly 600 penalty minutes) in the minor leagues Buchanan was included as part of trade to Chicago. He continued to toil in the minor leagues, never making it to the show.

In 1998 Buchanan signed with the Colorado Avalanche organization. He spent another season battling with Hershey in the minor leagues but Buchanan finally got rewarded with a chance in the NHL. The Avs played him in six games in November. He went scoreless and also, by his standards, really behaved himself with only 3 minor penalties.

Buchanan knew that cup of coffee would be the extent of his NHL story. Rather than return to the cramped buses and cheap motels of the minor leagues he decided to hang up the blades. He stayed in the Hershey area and became an account manager with a financial firm while staying active with the Hershey Bears alumni and local youth hockey scene.

1 comment:

Michael Fenlon said...

Very surprising he didn't get into fight in his 6 games in the NHL. He picked up four of those 6 penalty minutes in a scrum with RIck Tocchet, high sticking and roughing. Both threw punches with the gloves and surprisingly didn't get fighting majors. So although he didnt get the 5 minutes on the scorecard, i'm sure"Bucky" Buchanan doesn't feel that cheated.

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