Steve Cardwell played in 103 NHL contests, scoring just nine goals and eleven assists. It might not sound like much, but he, too, is very much a hockey legend. Especially if you ask anyone in Whitby, Ontario.
Cardwell was born in Toronto but played Junior B for one season with the Whitby Lasco Steelers in 1967-68. He was off to play for the Oshawa Generals from 1968-70 and then off the big leagues, but Whitby left a lasting impression on the youngster.
Cardwell was drafted 53rd overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1970. He went on to play his aforementioned 103 NHL games with the Penguins from 1970 to 1973, recording 9 goals and 11 assists. He also played the two seasons in the World Hockey Association with the Minnesota Fighting Saints in 1973-74 and the Cleveland Crusaders in 1974-75. In a total of 151 WHA games, Steve scored 32 goals and had 34 assists. Cardwell also enjoyed three seasons with Hershey in the AHL, and a season in Sweden.
Cardwell retired in 1979 and made Whitby his home. He coached minor hockey in Whitby from 1982 through 1992, winning two provincial AA titles. His sons Justin and Matt were part of those teams. Both players would play professional hockey.
Cardwell was also instrumental in the return of high level senior hockey in Whitby. He played a key role in seeing the resurrection of the Whitby Dunlops in 2004-05 - exactly 50 years after the legendary team was originally founded. They twice won the Allan Cup in the 1950s, and successfully represented Canada as the 1958 World Champions.
Cardwell, who worked for Labatt's for many years, emerged as the Dunlops' President, overseeing six first place finishes in league play and three Allan Cup appearances. Twice the Dunlops reach the finals of Canada's senior amateur championships, but they were unable to return the title to Whitby.
Steve's involvement with the Dunlops has expanded over time to include the role of Team President. In the years since the Dunlops returned to the ice in Whitby, the team has brought recognition to the Town through its successes and championships: six first-place finishes in league play and three Allen Cup appearances, including the finals on two occasions.
His toughest moment came in 2009 when Dunlops defenseman Don Sanderson died after hitting his head on the ice. Cardwell handled the tragedy with class and respect. He was awarded the Ontario Hockey Federation's Senior Hockey Award in 2009 for his efforts.
Both of his sons would play for the "Dunnies," with Justin taking more of an administrative role with stints as manager and coach. Though senior hockey struggles with attendance and fundraising, the Cardwells remained devoted to hockey in Whitby.