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October 06, 2015

Rocky Dundas

A lot of people in hockey - fans and players alike - believe hockey is a religion.

Rocky Dundas knows better.

The Montreal Canadiens drafted Dundas 47th overall in the 1985 NHL draft. He was a six foot tall, 195 pound right winger from the Western Hockey League with a reputation to score 30 goals, tally over a point a game and play with a physical edge. He was a nice piece of the Medicine Hat Tigers' Memorial Cup championship team in 1987, along with Trevor Linden, Wayne McBean and Mark Fitzpatrick.

Some had him ranked a lot higher than the 3rd round, but somehow he slipped. He was so disappointed that he actually left the draft proceedings at the rink when the Canadiens called his name.

Disappointment would continue on for Dundas as a pro. In order to find a roster spot in the minor leagues he found himself dropping the skill elements from his game and playing very physically. Increasingly that meant fighting, something he was quickly getting labelled for.

But he was never comfortable with it. After two seasons with Montreal's farm team he jumped at the chance to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization in 1989, hoping things would improve.

Things did improve in the sense that he scored 18 goals in 63 games with the farm team in Newmarket and got called up to the Leafs for his first five NHL games.

But when the Leafs made it clear his future in the organization rested on his ability to fight and play physically, Dundas made a tough choice that really was not so tough at all. He quit playing hockey.

“I didn’t want to do that anymore,” said Dundas. “I still had a couple of years left on my contract, but I had an internal choice to make. It was an easy choice in the sense that I didn’t want to fight any more.”

Dundas walked away from the game in 1989. He became a youth pastor in Richmond Hill, Ontario. He also obtained a Masters Degree in Adolescent Education, which he used to tackle youth issues be it as a coach, pastor and community member.

Interestingly, one of the issues he had to deal with was his own son's hockey career. Justice Dundas was a junior level player in both the OHL and QMJHL who earned a reputation for fighting. He was never drafted into the NHL nor played professionally.

Rocky Dundas also formed his own sportswear line before joining the Trimark Sportswear Group as a national sales manager.

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