July 23, 2015

Ramzi Abid

There have not been too many hockey players with Arabic roots. But one rare exception was Ramzi Abid.

"My dad was born in Tunisia and came over to Canada when he was 20 years old, and I was born and raised in Montreal.

Abid's 1999-2000 campaign was one for the ages. Not only did he score 57 goals and 80 assists in 59 regular season games with Halifax, but he led the Memorial Cup hosting team to an admirable performance in the high-profile tournament. The Mooseheads team captain was the top scorer in that year’s Memorial Cup tournament.

Abid was originally drafted 28th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 1998, but having failed to sign his first pro contract with the team, he re-entered the draft in 2000. Despite his strong performance in Halifax that season, the Phoenix Coyotes found him with the 85th overall pick.

Abid would play in the minor leagues for the next three seasons, with the exception of a 30 game look with the Coyotes in 2002-03.

He was then acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2003 trade deadline from the Coyotes along with Dan Focht and Guillaume Lefebvre in exchange for Jan Hrdina and Francois Leroux. He would spend parts of two seasons with the the Penguins, though a torn ACL injury kept him on the sidelines much of his time there.

In Phoenix Ramzi played for coach Wayne Gretzky. In Pittsburgh he skated with Mario Lemieux. Playing with those two all time greats ranks high as Abid's career highlights.

"I think that's pretty special. I had a chance to skate with Wayne and now I'm having to get a chance to play with Mario, especially on my line. Obviously, I feel special and it's an honor for me to play for these two guys."

Abid would go on to brief appearances in Atlanta and Nashville before an extended tour of Europe. He called Switzerland, Russia, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Finland home for a few seasons.

When asked to describe his game, Abid admitted he embraced "reckless abandon" as a style of play.

"That's my style. I have to work hard, play physical and my force is around the net and in the corners. I try to create room for my linemates and myself and I feel that this is a great situation for me."

Ramzi Abid played in 68 career NHL games, scoring 14 goals and 30 points.

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