Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Don Spring

At first glance you'd have to think defensive defenseman Don Spring had at least one NHL scoring record - highest scoring player born in Venezuela. His birthplace certainly stands out first and foremost, but Rick Chartraw was also born in the South American country. Chartraw would play significantly more games and that allowed him to pick up more points.

Spring was born in Venezuela because his Canadian father was working there as an engineer. When Don was four years old the family returned to northern Alberta. He was the star athlete - on the ice as well as the volleyball court and swimming pool - in the small town of Edson.

Spring was never on the NHL radar until 1980. He had been playing with the University of Alberta Golden Bears while earning a bachelor of commerce degree. But he left school in 1979 to try out with Father Bauer's Canadian national team. Spring was drawn to the program by Bauer and by the fact that it was an Olympic season.

The steady defender ended up making the Canadian Olympic team that competed at Lake Placid in 1980. He only picked up an assist, but he also picked up the interest of the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets would sign Spring to a free agent contract right after the Olympics.

Spring would play four solid seasons in Winnipeg, scoring just 1 goal and 55 points in a career that lasted 259 NHL games. He would also play a season of professional hockey in Germany before hanging up the blades in 1985.


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