April 21, 2016

Jim Hofford

At 6'0" and 190lbs, Jim Hofford wasn't nearly as big as he played. He was a rugged defenseman out of Sudbury Ontario. Hofford established himself as a good NHL prospect while playing with the OHL Windsor Spitfires, and the Sabres drafted him 114th overall in 1983.

Hofford would return to junior after being drafted, but he lost all but one game in the 1983-84 season due to a serious knee injury. A season-long injury to a player, especially a defenseman, can really hurt a young player's development.

Hofford was able to come back and recover fully, though he would never become a NHL defenseman. He played until 1990, spending almost all of his time with the AHL Rochester Americans. He was recalled to the Sabres for a total of 17 NHL games, and also had a 1 game stint with the Los Angeles Kings. He never registered a point, but had 47 penalty minutes in his brief NHL career.

After retiring in 1990, Hofford continued to reside in the Rochester area. He eventually became manager of the Greece Ridge Center shopping mall in the Rochester suburb of Greece.

Oddly enough, in 2003 Hofford was able to lift the Stanley Cup above his head. Brian Gionta, of the 2003 Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils, brought the Cup to Rochester and Greece, NY, and the Cup was on display in Hofford's mall. Hofford joked "I played hockey all my life, but it took becoming a mall manager for me to get to hold the Stanley Cup!"

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