May 16, 2015

Pat Daley

There has never been much NHL representation out of France. That is starting to change, with the likes of Antoine Roussel emerging in Dallas, with Max Sauve and Stephane Da Costa also getting looks.

It is rare to have a Phillippe Bozon or Cristobal Huet in the NHL - true French raised players. Mind you, the few who have made it tend to begin their elite training in the Quebec junior league.

More likely French NHLers were born in France but raised in Canada from an early age. Take Andre Peloffy, the very first Frenchman, or Paul MacLean, the player with the best NHL resume among those technically born in France.

Pat Daley is another such example. Daley was born in Mareville, France on March 27th, 1959 but grew up in Chatham, New Brunswick.

By the age of sixteen he left home to play three seasons with the Laval National and one more with the Montreal Juniors of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Playing with the likes of future NHLers Glen Currie and Gilles Hamel, Daley steadily emerged as a solid prospect himself. In 1978 he scored 120 points to go along with 174 penalty minutes and earned a spot on the Canadian world junior team. That was the year Wayne Gretzky played for Canada at the world juniors.

That was enough to get him noticed by National Hockey League scouts. Good size. Feisty streak. Can make plays and goes to the net well, they said. The original Winnipeg Jets liked him most, taking him 82nd overall in the deep 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He was selected immediately ahead of Anton Stastny, Mark Reeds, Dirk Graham and Alan Haworth.

Those aforementioned gentlemen went on to long NHL careers. Daley did not.

His career started out promisingly enough. He scored his first NHL goal in his very first NHL game, getting the puck past Los Angeles Kings' goalie Ron Grahame just 2:53 into the game. Winnipeg won the game 5-3.

Unfortunately Daley never picked up another tally or an assist in 11 more NHL games over two seasons. He spent most of his time trying to establish himself in the American Hockey League.

After two seasons in the Jets organization Daley was let go. He signed as a free agent with the Quebec Nordiques, but only played in the minor leagues.

Perhaps frustrated with life in the minors, Daley took an offer to go overseas and return "home." He would play with several club teams in France through to 1994. He also twice skated for the French national team at World Championships.

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