Skip to main content

Ray Cote

Ray Cote is the perfect example of why all the long shot minor leaguers out there should never give up on their dream. And they should always be ready.

In April of 1983 Cote headed home to Pincher Creek, Alberta. The former Calgary Wranglers junior star had just completed his second season of pro hockey, posting an impressive 91 point season in his first season in the American Hockey League.

Cote was never drafted out of junior, but he did sign with the Edmonton Oilers organization in 1981. With their Moncton farm affiliate done for the year, the Oilers called up a few prospects to practice with the Oilers and watch from the press box as Gretzky and the gang advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup final against the New York Islanders.

Cote was not one of those select few, as he was not one of their top prospects. He headed home where he had a job lined up doing handy man work at the local golf course.

Then fate intervened.

Cote was not only called up by the Oilers, but he was inserted into the lineup. They needed a handy man of their own. Suddenly this second year pro who had never played a single game in the NHL is thrown into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

And he excelled.

Playing on a line with Pat Hughes and Dave Hunter, Cote was inserted into the series against Chicago. The new trio were asked to be the Oilers shutdown unit, playing against the Hawks fantastic line of Denis Savard, Al Secord and Steve Larmer. The line was very effective right from the start.

Glen Sather kept the line together for much of the playoffs. Cote ended up playing 14 games that spring, even scoring three goals and five points.

Though the Oilers bowed to the Islanders in the Stanley Cup final, the spring of 1983 was certainly the highlight of Ray Cote's career. But it did come at cost. The golf course had to hired someone else in his absence, so when Cote finally did go home, he was unemployed. And, of course, NHL players do not get paid during the playoffs.

Cote remained with the Oilers organization for a couple more seasons, but only would play in a total of 15 more regular season games and no more in the playoffs. Mark Messier was moved to the middle of the ice and Wayne Gretzky seemingly never left the ice, so there was not much room for centers in Edmonton at the time.

In the summer of 1985 Cote decided to head to Europe for a lengthy international career including stops in Sweden, Austria and Germany.

Cote returned home to Calgary to become a real estate agent. Imagine that - a former Edmonton Oilers player selling and buying homes for unsuspecting Flames fans!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M