July 30, 2015

Gene Sobchuk

Dennis Sobchuk was one of the all time great players in Regina Pats history. He parlayed that into a lengthy pro career, most notably in the World Hockey Association with two brief stops in the National Hockey League.

But not a lot of people know his brother, Gene, also played in the NHL.

Gene, three years older than Dennis, graduated from the Pats in 1971, the same season Dennis first joined the Pats. Gene actually spent most of his junior career with the Weyburn Red Wings. He led the entire Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in assists in 1969-70, with 36 in 36 games. That same season he led Weyburn to the Memorial Cup final where they lost to Gilbert Perreault's Montreal Junior Canadiens.

The New York Rangers drafted the 5'9" and 170lb left winger with the 109th overall pick in the 1971 NHL Draft. But it was a tough couple of years in the minor leagues, low-lighted by a collapsed lung and appendectomy in 1972-73

The following season he became property of the Vancouver Canucks. Sobchuk played his only NHL game with the Canucks on December 7th, 1973, against the Atlanta Flames. Sobchuk wore jersey number 21 but did not record a point.

That may have been Sobchuk's only NHL game, but he did play a season with in the World Hockey Association with the Cincinnati Stingers where he finally got to play with his brother Dennis. It was a good season in the WHA, as Gene won the Booster Club's "Mr. Hustle" award.

Sobchuk would continue playing in the minor until 1977 when a nasty wrist injury after crashing into the goal post.

Gene would return to his native Lang, Saskatchewan where he continued to play senior hockey while coaching and managing his old junior team in Weyburn. He also operated a farm.

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