November 26, 2015

Hank Lammens

Hank Lammens holds a rare distinction among NHL players. He was a World Champion in another sport than hockey.

Lammens was in fact a two-time sailing World Champion in 1990 and 1991 and a participant in the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona. His tremendous accomplishment of playing professional hockey and being a world class athlete in another sport made him one of three nominees for the Canadian Male Athlete of the year award in 1991 along with Michael Smith (track and field) and Kurt Browning (figure skating).

Hank played for his hometown Brockville Braves as a youngster before attending St. Lawrence University. He played four seasons in St. Lawrence between 1984-88. He was a ECAC second team All-Star in 1987 and 1988.

Drafted by NY Islanders in 1985 (160th overall), Hank became a pro in 1988-89 and immediately helped the Springfield Indians (AHL) win the Calder Cup.

The defenseman continued to play for Springfield in 1989-90. In 1990-91 he played for Capital District Islanders (AHL) and Kansas City Blades (IHL) while at the same time concentrating on his sailing. Before the 1991-92 season began Hank was fully concentrated on his sailing and took a one-year layoff from hockey so that he could focus on the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

After his one-year absence from the hockey scene, Hank returned to captain the Canadian national team in 1992-93. He played 75 games and had 30 points (8 goals and 22 assists).

On June 25, 1993 Ottawa Senators signed him as a free agent. At the age of 27 Hank made his NHL debut. He played a total of 27 games for Ottawa, scoring one goal and two assists. He spent the rest of the season in the AHL before retiring from hockey for good.

Lammens would become a director at an investment bank in New York city.

He will not be remembered for what he accomplished in a hockey rink but rather for his unique ability to combine two sports at a world class level in the 1990's when this type of combination was unheard of.

1 comment:

Graham Clayton said...

Sailing and ice hockey is certainly an unusual combination of sports.