July 28, 2016

Randy Bucyk

Randy Bucyk was somehow destined to play in the National Hockey League.

But he had far bigger goals in mind.

Randy was born in Edmonton in 1962. By that time his uncle - the legendary Hockey Hall of Famer Johnny Bucyk - was already dominating the NHL.

It was just a matter of time before Randy would be dominating at hockey rinks, too. He was a natural on the ice and dominated all levels of youth hockey. No matter how good he was, he was always "Johnny Bucyk's nephew."

But unlike Uncle Johnny, Randy loved being in the classroom even more. He was an excellent student and always had dreams beyond the ice.

As a result, going the junior hockey route was never really a strong consideration for Randy. He always had plans of letting hockey take him to University.

"Sports is a stepping stone to get where you want to go if you put it in a proper perspective," he said.

Bucyk ended up accepting a scholarship to study and play hockey at Northeastern University in downtown Boston. He would play there for four years.

He faced a difficult decision in the autumn of 1984. His hockey eligibility was up and he still was a semester shy of earning his degree in civil engineering. He was never drafted by a National Hockey League club, but he was invited to attend the Montreal Canadiens training camp.

He decided he had to give pro hockey his best shot right then and there, as the opportunity may not be there again. He could always finish his degree later.

"Hockey was my dream and I had to make a decision. If you don't try (pro career) you'll always be wondering if you could have made it. You don't want to have that hanging over you. I was confident I could make it in hockey."

Make it he did. He earned a contract that training camp and apprenticed in the minor leagues for the 1984-85 season.

The next season Bucyk made his National Hockey League debut. He would play in 17 games plus 2 more in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He often played on a line with Brian Skrudland and Lucien Deblois. Bucyk was filling in for the injured Mike McPhee on that line.

Montreal won the Stanley Cup in 1986. Because Bucyk played in two games in the playoffs he did get his name on the Stanley Cup and has a championship ring.

Randy never again played for the Montreal Canadiens. He returned to the minor leagues the next season and the team never renewed his contract.

Randy signed as a free agent with the Calgary Flames organization in the summer of 1987. He would play four years with the Flames farm team in Salt Lake City, but only twice got into games with the Flames.

Bucyk hung up his skates after the 1991 season.

Soon after Bucyk returned his focus to business. But instead of using his civil engineering degree to build skyscrapers, he ended up working for the pharmaceutical company Merck out of their Calgary offices. He became their associate director of patient access specifically in the oncology department.

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