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Thorold hockey icon passes away

Thorold author Bob Elliott pays tribute to Danny Lodboa

Thorold native Danny Lodboa passed away suddenly Sunday night. Below is a tribute paid to Lodboa's hockey career by Thorold author Bob Elliott. Lodboa was inducted into the sports Runway of Recognition in 2006, which Elliott chairs:

Danny Lodboa played 90 games for the Thorold Jaycees from 1963 to 1966. He would surely be in every top five list of the best hockey player from Thorold and some would argue that he is Thorold’s purest scorer ever. He scored 119 goals and had 81 assists. His 1.5 goals-per-game is still a Niagara Junior B career record and his 63 goals in a 30-game season, 2.1 goals per game, is also a record yet to be broken. In his three years of Junior B hockey he did not miss a single game. During his Jaycees career, Lodboa had 11 two-goal games, nine hat tricks, seven four-goal games and a five-goal game. In 10 playoff games, he scored seven and assisted on eight others. This scoring was accomplished against teams with players already signed by NHL teams while the Jaycees were generally local Thorold players. Lodboa never played on a team with a winning record and was therefore always the subject of the opposing teams’ best checking line.

1965-66 was Danny Lodboa’s last year of Junior B hockey as he left for Cornell University on a hockey scholarship. He spent his first season on the freshman team but in the fall of 1967 he made the varsity team. In his final year, Cornell won the NCAA championship. At the beginning of his junior year Lodboa was switched from left wing to defence. His coach, Ned Harkness, told Lodboa that he would “make him the Bobby Orr of college hockey.” In the 69-70 championship season Lodboa scored 24 goals and 37 assists for a 61-point total in 29 games. In 1997 Lodboa was elected to the NCAA first 50-years team as a defenceman. Two of the other defencemen elected, Keith Magnuson and Chris Chelois, were to become NHL greats. During Lodboa’s amateur career he played a total of 177 games, scoring 171 goals and assisting on 166 for a total of 337 points or 1.9 points per game.

In the summer of 1970 Lodboa signed his first pro contract with the Chicago Blackhawks and was assigned to the Dallas Blackhawks of the Central Hockey League. Lodboa played all 71 games, scoring 40 goals and 29 assists. Dallas went to the league semifinals with Lodboa picking up a goal and two assists. In his second year in Dallas there was another first for Lodboa. He missed a game due to injury for the first time in his career. In fact he missed eight games but still scored 20 goals and picked up 23 assists, adding another three goals and two assists in the playoffs as Dallas won the CHL title.

In 1972, with little or no hope of making the Chicago Blackhawks, Lodboa signed a new contract, this time with the Chicago Cougars of the WHA. Again injuries slowed Lodboa down. He only played 58 games, scoring 15 goals and 18 assists. 1973 saw Lodboa play in the minor leagues, playing 54 games with 24 goals and 35 assists. In total Lodboa played 247 professional games scoring 99 goals and adding 105 assists for 204 points .8 points a per game.

With all the success Dan enjoyed in his hockey career, he never forgot where he was from. Not once did he say he was from Niagara Falls, or St. Catharines (place folks might actually know). Dan always said he was from Thorold. He never forgot his home!  See Obiturary here

– Bob Elliott