September 28, 2015
Jay Henderson likes to say he "was selected in the NHL draft right before Vincent Lecavalier."
Henderson is not lying, though he is stretching the story just a little bit.
Lecavalier, of course, was the much celebrated first overall draft pick of the 1998 NHL draft.
Henderson was not even an after thought when the Boston Bruins drafted him 246th overall - dead last - in the 1997 NHL draft.
Being drafted last overall is better than not being drafted at all, but the odds of playing in the NHL were not in Henderson's favour. But through hard work and sacrifice, he over came those odds and played 33 games in the National Hockey League.
The Edmonton born Henderson played junior down the road in Red Deer. His style of play in junior was quite different than as a pro. When he was first called up by the Bruins, coach Pat Burns made it be known he was looking for "someone to stir the pot."
"It's not something I did in junior, because I was one of the go-to-guys on offense," Henderson said. "I'm not going to be a first line goal scorer at this level, though. I'm going to be a fourth-line player, a guy who'll mix some stuff up and add some spark. I'll keep doing this as long as they want me to."
In 33 games over three seasons with the Bruins, Henderson scored one goal, four points and 37 penalty minutes. For the most part he played a very similar role in the minor leagues for the balance of his seven year pro career in North America.
Henderson extended his career by playing several seasons in Germany, with brief stops in Austria and England.
He later returned home to Edmonton and became an insurance broker. He also got into coaching in junior hockey with the Kootenay Ice and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.