October 17, 2015

Jim Hargreaves

In the early 1970s the Vancouver Canucks could not decide whether or not they wanted to use their prized prospect Dale Tallon as defenseman or as a forward.

Once they committed to him as a forward in 1972, that opened up a spot on defense. One of the earliest players given the opportunity to fill that vacancy was a tough guy with the nickname of Cement Head - Jim Hargreaves.

Not that Hargreaves played much. When he was in the line-up he was the 5th defenseman in an era when usually only four defensemen played most of the game.

Hargreaves' coach, Vic Stasiuk, knew it wasn't fair to him.

"Lately he's been playing the kind of hockey I've been expecting him to play all season. Maybe that's not being entirely fair to him. He did spend a lot of time as our fifth defenseman and a big guy like him needs lots of ice time."

Hargreaves, a former junior standout out of Winnipeg, played in 59 games that season, as a shoulder injury ended his campaign early. He scored just one goal and seven points. His goal - the only goal of his NHL career - came early in the season on October 12th, 1972, against Philadelphia.

He was off to the WHA the following year, bouncing around with three teams in three seasons before retiring.

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