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March 28, 2016

Bob Lorimer

Every NHL player remembers their first NHL game. For Bob Lorimer, it was a painful memory.

Lorimer joined the New York Islanders for a call-up during the 1976-77 season, playing a game against the Buffalo Sabres.

" I went to check Craig Ramsay and when he put up his stick as he was trying to protect himself, he got me," he said. "Nobody thought anything was wrong with me until I felt really bad later that night. The moment I walked through the hospital doors I fell flat on my face. I was lucky."

Lorimer somehow managed to pick up an assist in that game, too. But it would not be until 1978-79 until Lorimer returned as a regular NHL player. It was an excellent time to land a job with the Islanders as they were about to embark on their Stanley Cup dynasty.

For Lorimer, winning was definitely part of his story.

" I was very fortunate" said Lorimer. "I won a college championship, a Central League title and two Stanley Cups. There aren't many guys out there who can claim as much."

Born and raised in Toronto, Lorimer played for the Michigan Tech Huskies rather than playing in junior hockey. It was a decision Lorimer never regretted.

"Going to college was perfect for me- school helped prepare me for life after hockey" said Lorimer, who worked as an investment adviser.

"Also, I needed extra time to develop my defensive skills – in midget – I played forward and the collegiate system got you grounded in the fundamentals"

The New York Islanders drafted Lorimer 129th overall in 1973 and waited for him to complete his studies. In his final season Lorimer captained the Huskies to the NCAA title.

Despite his strong collegiate career, Lorimer faced an up-hill battle cracking the Islanders' roster. The Islanders were accumulating a lot of talent, forcing Lorimer to apprentice in the minor leagues for the better part of three seasons.

Lorimer - a depth defenseman under coach Al Arbour - would win Stanley Cups with the Islanders in 1980 and 1981, but would miss the final two championships as he was traded to the Colorado Rockies, who of course later became the New Jersey Devils. Lorimer and Dave Cameron were traded for a first round draft pick used to select Pat Lafontaine.

Lorimer spent five seasons with the Rockies/Devils franchise, who were a pretty woeful group at the time.

"It was a really difficult situation there. I played the night Wayne Gretzky called us a "Mickey Mouse organization" It was a horror show with that team"

Lorimer retired in 1986, having played in 529 NHL contests (22 goals, 90 assists, 112 points) and 49 more (three goals, ten assists, thirteen points) in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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