July 31, 2016

Dan Bolduc

The state of Maine has produce only a few top level hockey players over the years. Danny Bolduc may not be the most household name even in Maine hockey circles nowadays, but he was the first hockey player from the state to play in the Olympics and play in the National Hockey League.

The speedy skater Bolduc had just left Harvard (where he studied Government) and had the chance to spend a season playing with the American national team. Though he started the season as a long shot to make the Olympic squad, he had a fantastic year - 41 goals and 72 points in 60 games.

That strong season ended with him going to Innsbruck to participate in the Olympics. He scored two goals in six games at the Olympics, and had a memorable breakaway against the Soviets, though the great Vladislav Tretiak stopped him.

“I gave him three of my best moves. He saved it like I never moved,” Bolduc said.

Bolduc also said the only reason he had the opportunity to turn pro was because he was part of the Olympic team. It also helped secure a spot to Team USA's entry in the 1976 Canada Cup.

Shortly after the Olympics Bolduc signed on with the WHA's New England Whalers for the rest of the season. He would spend a total of three seasons with the Whalers, including 41 games played in 1978-79 when he got to play with Gordie Howe and his sons Mark and Marty.

When the WHA collapsed in 1979 Bolduc signed with the Detroit Red Wings and played half a season with them.

Bolduc would sign two-way deals with Montreal and Calgary, but aside from two games with the Flames he was strictly a minor leaguer from 1980 to his retirement in 1985. The highlight there was being part of the 1981 Calder Cup championship team with the Adirondack Red Wings.

At first Bolduc tried his hand at coaching, serving future NHL coach Terry Crisp as an assistant with the Flames AHL farm team in Moncton. Two years later Crisp got the head coaching job in Calgary and wanted Bolduc to be his assistant in the NHL, too. But the Flames had other plans. They did offer Bolduc the head coaching job, but their farm team relocated to the other side of the continent to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Bolduc decided that if he was not going to the NHL, he was not going anywhere. He ended up quitting hockey altogether, and focused on raising his family at home in Maine. Bolduc opened up an insurance business in the small town of Oakland, Maine.

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