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April 24, 2016

Rod Zaine

Rod Zaine, known affectionately among his teammates as "Zainer," was born May 18, 1946 in Ottawa, Ontario. He played just 61 games in the National Hockey League, 24 of which were with the Buffalo Sabres in the 1971-72 season.

Zaine, one of the few NHLers with Lebanese ancestry, was a well traveled minor leaguer catching on with the expansion Pittsburgh Penguins in 1970-71. The Penguins signed Zaine after one solid season with the AHL Baltimore Clippers in hopes that he could add some depth. He did a commendable job in 37 NHL contests, scoring 8 goals and 13 points. However he split the year between the NHL and the minor leagues, and he finished the season quietly as he struggled at the minor league level.

The Buffalo Sabres were looking for some depth themselves and in the 1971 Intra-League draft the Sabres picked up the small but speedy center. He would score 2 goals and 1 assist while in Buffalo in that 1971-72 season, but finished the year in the minor leagues with the AHL Cincinnati Swords.

Zaine's stop in Buffalo would come to an end in the summer of 1972, as did his NHL and minor league career. He was initially claimed by the Atlanta Flames in the 1972 Expansion Draft, but opted to sign on with the World Hockey Association. Zaine would play three seasons in the alternate major league, playing a quiet role with the Chicago Cougars in each of those three seasons. He scored just 11 goals and 44 points in 220 WHA games, but obviously found a niche on that Cougars team.

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