top of page

Growing up in Dryden, this exceptional athlete exhibited a natural ability that would see him excel in a variety of sports from the amateur to the professional level. Moving to Thunder Bay in the late 1960s, he earned a number of Superior Secondary Schools Athletic Association (SSSAA) and Northwestern Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association (NWOSSAA) titles for Sir Winston Churchill High School competing in gymnastics, track and field and football.

On the ice he added more league and district titles to his ever growing record of success, playing midget and junior hockey with the Thunder Bay Hurricanes and Vulcans. Demonstrating a distinct style of shoulder checking, combined with a high scoring ability, he earned back-to-back Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League MVP defenceman honours. Advancing to the OHA he added yet more titles to his resume, helping the Toronto Marlboros claim the 1972-73 Memorial Cup.

Selected 55th overall in the 1973 Amateur Draft, as the Pittsburgh Penguins 4th choice, his first pro season saw him in the AHL with the Calder Cup winning Hershey Bears. Making his NHL debut with the Penguins during the 1974-75 season, he earned a reputation as one of the hardest hitting defencemen in the NHL with spectacular board checks and open ice hip checks.

Acquired by the Colorado Rockies in a trade during the 1977-78 season he finished up his NHL career with them in 1980, with a 6 year NHL career record of 30 goals and 85 assists in 288 games. Following some time in the AHL, Dennis made his way back to northwestern Ontario, joining the Thunder Bay Twins senior hockey lineup.

While with the Twins he added back-to-back Canadian titles to his record of success in 1984 and 1985, earning a spot in the record books as the first player from northwestern Ontario to have won a Memorial, a Calder and two Allan Cups.

Active as a member of the Penguins Alumni Association and as a tournament level golfer, this exceptional all-round athlete is still exhibiting the skills that he developed on the playing fields and in the sports arenas of northwestern Ontario.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 25, 2004

Dennis Owchar

Thunder Bay
bottom of page