April 21, 2016

Randy Wyrozub

Randy Wyrozub was born in Lacombe, Alberta. His parents were schoolteachers and his brother became a lawyer. Randy on the other hand turned to hockey.

He played his junior hockey back in Alberta for the Ponoka Stampeders and Edmonton Oil Kings. After the 1969-70 season where he scored a point per game for Oil Kings he got drafted by Buffalo 43rd overall in 1970.

He debuted for the first year Sabres during the 1970-71 season, only 20-years old. Randy played 16 games (2+2) and saw little ice time. He played the rest of the year in WHL for the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. The following season he split his time between Buffalo (34 games - 3 goals and 4 assists) and AHL's Cincinnati Swords (35 - 14 goals and 14 assists).

In 1972-73 he spent the entire season in Buffalo and played 45 games (3 goals and 3 assists), but on many nights he was a healthy scratch. In 1973-74 he played 5 games for Buffalo, these were his last NHL games.

"I was the fourth center behind good centers at Buffalo and seldom played. Punch Imlach treated me well and saw to it that I qualified for the pension plan, but I had little luck there."

Yes indeed, Randy only scored 8 goals in 100 NHL games and was destined for the minor leagues. He had a fine 1973-74 season in Cincinnati (AHL), scoring a respectable 57 points (22 goals and 35 assists) in 69 games.

Randy was picked up by Washington in the 1974 expansion draft. Frustrated, he jumped to the WHA, but spent the following season in the minors in Richmond (AHL). He eventually played one season in the WHA (1975-76), when he played 55 games for Indianapolis (11 goals and 14 assists). But when Indianapolis changed the coach Randy was out in the cold again and wasn't invited back to Indianapolis.

It went downhill from there for Randy. He earned a respectable $75,000 when he played in the majors, but then he played for the Mohawk Valley Comets (NAHL) the entire 1976-77 season, scoring 83 points (26 goals and 57 assists) in 73 games. Before the 1977-78 season Randy was bought by the San Francisco Shamrocks of the newly founded PHL (Pacific Hockey League). Randy was one of the stars and main attractions in the league.

His $75,000 salary days were over. He was getting $500 a week in the low-budget league hoping that he would catch the attention of NHL teams one more time.

Randy still enjoyed playing.

"I've been bounced about a bit, but hockey has been good to me and I'm not bitter. I didn't prepare for my future, but I started to sell insurance when this chance came to give the game one more go, he said.

Randy scored 60 points (27 goals and 33 assists) for the Shamrocks in 42 games. He then played one more season (1978-79) for Tuscon Rustlers (also PHL) and Erie Blades (NEHL).

Randy had a wife and three daughters to support, but played the game mostly because of his love for the sport. He was just one of many players who had to make a living in the minors for many years.

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