August 20, 2015

Mark Lofthouse

Mark Lofthouse was big right winger who played over 180 games in the NHL with Washington and Detroit in the early 1980s.

"Unforunately I played on the worst teams in the NHL at the time. Washington and Detroit were at the bottom every year," he told Ken Reid in the book Hockey Card Stories. "I always tell people, when they say, 'How come you guys were so bad?' I just tell them, 'They didn't play me enough,'"

Lofthouse may have been right. He was a junior scoring sensation out of New Westminster. In his tenure there he helped the Bruins to three straight Memorial Cup appearances, winning Canada's national junior championship in 1977.

The Washington Capitals drafted the heavy shooting winger 21st overall in the 1977 NHL Draft. He he had just come off of back-to-back fifty-plus goal seasons in junior and there were high expectations he could help the Caps out of the NHL basement.

But it never happened. Over the next three seasons Lofthouse was used sparingly, often on a third or fourth line role. Though he had proven he as a lethal scorer in junior and in the minor leagues he never got a great chance to do so in the NHL.

And it was the same story in Detroit, whom he joined in 1981 after being traded for goalie Al Jensen. At least he got to play in 40 more games with the Red Wings. He later signed with Philadelphia and LA, only to never play for either team.

Throughout the 1980s Lofthouse was a scoring star at the minor league level. He totalled 281 career AHL goals, a very impressive number. In 1981 he led the entire AHL in goals (48) and points (103). He also won a Calder Cup with Hershey in 1988.

Mark Lofthouse has long worked in real estate in the Vancouver area since retiring. He regularly plays in charity hockey games, particularly with the Vancouver Canucks alumni team. He also made a now-famous appearance with the Washington Capitals alumni team at the 2010 NHL Winter Classic alumni game, scoring a goal.

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