April 04, 2016
Prior to 1980, goaltender Bob Dupuis was a five year veteran of the Ontario senior hockey circuit. He had a brief past in junior B and the semi-pro minor leagues.
So absolutely no one would have ever have guessed that the lanky goalie from North Bay, Ontario would go on to play in the Olympics and the National Hockey League that year.
Dupuis joined Paul Pageau on the Canadian national team that year, splitting the goaltending duties. Others on that team included some pretty impressive future NHLers - Glenn Anderson, Randy Gregg, Paul MacLean, Jim Nill and Tim Watters.
1980, of course, was the year a bunch of upstart American college kids upset the mighty Soviets in the "Miracle on Ice."
But not many people realize that Canada was a couple of bad breaks away from pulling off their own miracle in Lake Placid.
Dupuis is unfortunately best remembered for letting in a soft goal against Finland to sink Canada's medal chances. Finnish defenseman Kari Eloranta simply flipped the puck in on Dupuis from center ice. Dupuis somehow misplayed the puck, which ended up in the Canadian net. Everyone in the building was shocked.
The Olympics were a tough go for Dupuis. He had hurt his hand in a game against Japan earlier in the tournament, but did not tell anyone just how bad it was as he feared he may not get another chance to play. He was still wearing a soft cast on his hand from an injury dating back to December, 1979.
Dupuis finished the Olympics with a 1-2 record. Canada finished in sixth place.
"Looking back, and I've looked back a lot, we should have spent more time getting a goaltender," Lorne Davis, one of Canada's three coaches, said. "You couldn't really blame Bobby. He played really well for us. He was probably just the wrong guy for the job."
Following the Olympics the Edmonton Oilers signed Dupuis for the rest of the regular season. He even got to play in what proved to be his only NHL game. Dupuis and the Oilers would come out on the wrong side of a 5-3 final score against the Philadelphia Flyers. Dupuis made 30 saves and actually kept the red hot Flyers to only one goal in the first two periods.
Dupuis would play one more season of pro hockey, riding the buses in the minor leagues in 1980-81.
Bob Dupuis hung up his goalie pads in 1981. He moved back to North Bay and worked for the police department as a 911 dispatcher.