Skip to main content

Lonny Bohonos

Unlike most of his friends and brothers, Lonny Bohonos never grew up dreaming of playing in the National Hockey League.

Yet he is the only would who did make it.

"Growing up in Canada with two older brothers who played the game, I probably didn't have any choice about playing hockey," he said. "I was probably three or four when I first held a hockey stick. If you have older brothers you kind of look up to them and whatever they do, you do. I think that's how basically I got started."

I used to always play goal and they used to always shoot the puck at me. I didn't mind it, we had those street pads I used to strap on and away I would go."

Young Lonny stopped pucks and street hockey balls for many frigid hours in the Winnipeg neighborhood of Fort Garry.

"I used to go to the outdoor rinks a lot, as long as it wasn't too cold out there. There would be times that Dad would have to come along and pull me off the ice because my feet were getting too cold."

But young Lonny loved every minute of it. He loved to play hockey with his friend and his brothers but he never really dreamed about playing in the NHL. But as he grew older it became apparent Lonny was a special talent. His wizard-like hands could trick the best of opponents time after time. He was on his way to the big leagues.

"I just played for the fun of it, I never really worried about what I was going to do later in life. I figured if I could get something out of hockey, like schooling, that would be fine. "

Bohonos was off to junior, briefly playing in Moose Jaw before excelling in Seattle and Portland. In his final year he led the entire WHL in scoring with 62 goals and 90 assists.

"It wasn't until my last year of junior in Portland when I had a real good year and the coaching staff talked to me and told me to get an agent because there were some teams interested in signing me. That was the first time that I began to think about the NHL. I was just going out there have some fun and be around the guys, it never really crossed my mind."

Bohonos ended up signing with the Vancouver Canucks.

"It just seemed like the team that would be the best fit. We looked at the roster, I was a centre then, and it seemed like the team that I could make the quickest," admitted Bohonos.

After a year and a half of apprenticing in the American Hockey League, Bohonos got his chance with a three game call up in 1995-96. He then spent two half seasons with the Canucks in 1996-97 and 1997-98 where he teased fans with his quickness and deft stickhandling.

"(The NHL) was a lot quicker, everything happened a lot faster. The puck would be on your stick and it seemed like you only had half a second to make a decision to pass, shoot or skate with it. Plus just the overall size of the guys, they are a lot bigger and stronger," he said of the jump.

"I noticed it was a lot harder for me to create any offence the first couple of games. For whatever reason it just wasn't happening and obviously, when I did get a chance, the goalies are the best in the world and that made it even harder to score."

Bohonos was never noted as much of a defensive player, but he quickly realized what he had to do to stick around in the NHL.

"You just have to play good defensively. The position I was in, if anything happened offensively that was great. I just had to go out there and show them I could play defense and if I got a chance, put it in the net.

In 36 games in 1996-97 Bohonos found a home with Canucks stalwarts Trevor Linden and Martin Gelinas. He scored a nice 11 goals and 22 points.

But he struggled terribly in year two, scoring just 3 points while playing a 4th line role in 31 games. Towards the end of the season he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for another struggling former junior star named Brandon Convery.

In two seasons with the Leafs he played mostly with their farm team in the AHL. Yet in his couple of brief call-ups he produced. In 1999 he finished the season with the Leafs and scored 3 goals in 7 games. He then added 3 goals and 9 points in 9 Stanley Cup playoff games.

Lonny Bohonos was never heard from again, at least in the National Hockey League. At least it was a strong exit.

Bohonos ended up playing one more minor league season before heading to Europe to play mostly in Switzerland. He did return to the minor leagues after several seasons in Europe.

Bohonos returned to Germany in 2005-06 but his career came to an end as the result of a nasty neck injury after being hit by former NHLer Denis Pederson.

Bohonos settled in Thunder Bay, Ontario where he worked as a survey technician for the city.

Comments

T-Bone McQueen said…
I became a big Bohonos fan when he played for the Syracuse Crunch. Then he left for the Toronto organization and I followed his career there. Then he ended up with the Chicago Wolves and they came to Syracuse one night for a game on a rainy Wednesday night in March 2005 and I went specifically to see him play. I met up with some friends and I struck up a conversation with a girl that one of them brought along. She's now my wife of 10 years and for our 10th anniversary last month, she gave me a custom Crunch jersey with #19 and "Bohonos" on the back!

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