Dale Allen McCourt, a native of Falconbridge, Ontario (born January 26, 1957), is a former professional ice hockey forward. He was drafted first overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft.
January 26, 1957|
Falconbridge, Ontario, Canada
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Weight||180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)|
Detroit Red Wings|
Toronto Maple Leafs
1st overall, 1977|
Detroit Red Wings
35th overall, 1977|
McCourt played major junior in the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA, renamed OMJHL during his tenure, today's OHL). As a 15 year old, he was already playing Tier II junior hockey when called up by the Sudbury Wolves for part of the 1972–73 OHA season. He joined the Hamilton Red Wings for the full 1973–74 OHA season, and was team captain by the time the (renamed) Hamilton Fincups won the 1975–76 OMJHL Championship and then the national 1976 Memorial Cup championship.
In 1976–77, McCourt led the relocated St. Catharines Fincups as the team won the OMJHL Regular Season Championship. That season, McCourt was awarded the Red Tilson Trophy as the league's Most Outstanding Player, and was voted the nationwide CHL Player of the Year. Dale was also awarded the William Hanley Trophy as the OMJHL's Most Sportsmanlike Player in both 1975–76 and 1976–77.
McCourt was drafted 1st overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft. He made an impression on the Detroit Red Wings, after being the first NHL amateur pick in 1977. He successfully scored 33 goals in the first year with the team. He was entitled to NHL rookie of the year with the Red Wings.
Before the start of the 1978–79 season, Red Wings general manager Ted Lindsay signed Rogatien Vachon of the Los Angeles Kings, who was a restricted free agent at that time. An NHL arbitrator ruled that McCourt should be the compensation paid the Kings for Vachon's loss, but McCourt refused to report to the Kings. Ultimately, this led to McCourt suing the NHL, National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), the Red Wings and Kings in order to prohibit being sent to the Los Angeles Kings as a part of any compensation package. During this lawsuit, McCourt remained playing for the Red Wings, finishing the season second in Red Wing scoring (behind by only two points) for 1978-79. The matter was resolved and McCourt remained in Detroit, but he felt betrayed by the fact that his own NHLPA, led by Executive Director Alan Eagleson (convicted in 1998 after years of embezzling from the NHLPA members), did not back him against the owners during the lawsuit. His legal case created a huge impact on sport and was the first sports case to challenge the antitrust laws during the bargaining agreement.
McCourt continued to be the Red Wings top scorer in both his third (1979–80) and fourth (1980–81) seasons. Despite this, and while leading the team in scoring a third of the way through the 1981–82 season, management did not feel he had achieved their overall expectations, trading McCourt to the Buffalo Sabres in December 1981—having produced at a point-a-game pace during his time with the Red Wings but failing to make the playoffs for three of his four years with the team. He played with Buffalo, before being claimed on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs in October 1983, finishing his NHL career at the end of that 1983–84 NHL season, with 478 points in 532 games played.
McCourt then played for 6 seasons for HC Ambrì-Piotta, in the top Swiss league. Ambrì-Piotta retired McCourt's number 15 jersey.
McCourt's brother Dan was an NHL linesman during the 1980s and early 1990s.
McCourt's uncle is Hockey Hall of Fame member George Armstrong. Armstrong won the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHA's Most Outstanding Player in both 1947–48 and 1949–50, the same award that McCourt received in 1976–77. Armstrong was the coach of the Toronto Marlboros when they won the national Memorial Cup Championship in 1973 and 1975, the same championship that McCourt won as a player with the Hamilton Fincups in 1976.
Regular season and playoffs
|1973–74||Hamilton Red Wings||OHA-Jr.||69||20||38||58||45||—||—||—||—||—|
|1976–77||St. Catharines Fincups||OMJHL||66||60||79||139||26||14||7||13||20||6|
|1977–78||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||76||33||39||72||10||7||4||2||6||2|
|1978–79||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||79||28||43||71||14||—||—||—||—||—|
|1979–80||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||80||30||51||81||12||—||—||—||—||—|
|1980–81||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||80||30||56||86||50||—||—||—||—||—|
|1981–82||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||26||13||14||27||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|1983–84||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||72||19||24||43||10||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honors
- Directorate Award, Best Forward, 1977 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
- Shaw, Warren. "The Dale McCourt Saga: The Beginning Of The End Of Team Loyalty". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
- "Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Dale McCourt". www.legendsofhockey.net. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
- "The Ups and Downs of Dale McCourt". TSN. 2016-12-24. 3:03 min:sec mark. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
- Berry, Robert C.; Gould, William B.; Staudohar, Paul D. (1986). Labor Relations in Professional Sports. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780865691377.
- Collins gem Hockey Facts and Stats 2009–10, p.510, Andrew Podnieks, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, Canada, ISBN 978-1-55468-621-6
- (2010, January 26). Dale McCourt. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2010/1/26/1270526/dale-mccourt
- Shaw, W. (2017, January 24). The Dale McCourt Saga: The Beginning Of The End Of Team Loyalty. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/250882-the-dale-mccourt-saga-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-team-loyalty
| Detroit Red Wings first round draft pick
| NHL first overall draft pick
| CHL Player of the Year
| Detroit Red Wings captain