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While growing up in Fort Frances in a sports-minded family, this future hockey coach developed the skills and knowledge that would earn him success both on the ice and behind the bench. After he moved up through the high school and minor leagues, in 1976 his defensive skills saw him advance to the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL.

Signing as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens in 1979, he served on the roster of their AHL affiliate, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs from 1979-84, suiting up for three NHL games during the 1983-84 season. Other AHL stops were made in Newmarket and Halifax and his time in the IHL with Muskegon and Indianapolis earned him the 1986 Turner Cup and gained him experience as a playing coach.

Following his playing career, he signed on as the Head Coach of the Virginia Lancers of the East Coast Hockey league and was named the 1989-90 ECHL Coach of the Year. Splitting the next two seasons between the IHL and the Richmond Renegades of the ECHL, he took up the reigns of the Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL for the 1992-93 season, inviting his brother Mike, a former NHL player and fellow Hall of Fame member, to assist him behind the bench.

His talents soon caught the eye of NHL teams looking for leadership within their system with the Ottawa Senators signing him on to lead their AHL team in Prince Edward Island. Coaching the team to the 1994-95 Atlantic Division title, and being a runner up for AHL Coach of the Year honours, he was called up to the NHL as interim Head Coach of the Senators for 25 games during the 1995-96 season. With a good track record of communicating with and developing young players, a number of NHL teams utilized his skills over the years to coach their affiliate clubs including the St. Louis Blues (Grand Rapids Griffins:1996-98), Nashville Predators (Milwaukee Admirals: 2000-02) and the Dallas Stars (Iowa Stars: 2005-2008).

Never forgetting his roots, he helped develop young talent in his hometown by co-operating a hockey camp and serving as Head Coach of the Fort Frances Borderland Thunder, leading them to the 2002-03 Superior International Junior Hockey League title. Thirty years after signing his first NHL contract with Montreal, this Fort Frances hockey product continues to remain active in the game at the highest level, having recently signed on to the scouting staff of the Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26, 2009

Dave Allison

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