Greg Kohler played four seconds in the NHL – here’s what happened next to the man with the shortest career in league history

Heard of the name Greg Koehler? You probably haven’t, but he’s in the NHL history books for a less flattering reason. But it’s likely a record that will live on for a long time, maybe forever.

He grew up loving hockey, dedicating 140-plus nights to games and practices every year.

Aged 13, he was the captain of the AAA Pee Wee Toronto Marlies. When he eventually played in the NHL, he was big and strong, 6-feet-2 and 194 pounds.

But at 13, he was one of the tiniest guys, and it started to become tough for him to compete. The following year, despite being the team captain just 12 months earlier, he was cut from the team.

Koehler decided to take some time off playing in an organized league. But he was invited to play with the Wexford Raiders the next year.

It was the beginning of his road to reaching the NHL. Two years after earning a scholarship to UMass-Lowell, he signed with the Carolina Hurricanes organization.

In his third season as a pro, playing with the Cincinnati Cyclones in the IHL, the Hurricanes found themself with injury troubles.

The IHL was just one level below the NHL back then, and they needed someone who could score and fight. With GM Jim Rutherford and assistant Jason Karmanos in the stands, the Cyclones won a game in Dec. 2000 with 6-1, and Koehler was told to pack his bag right away.

Koehler was finally in the NHL, and he was off to a road game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

30 SEP 2001: Greg Koehler of the Carolina Hurricanes poses for a portrait in Raleigh, North Carolina. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Getty Images/NHLI

He, of course, hoped for a regular shift, perhaps more. But the Hurricanes were struggling and came into the game with a sub-.500 record. Head coach Paul Maurice played his better lines more. This particular game had 56 minutes of penalties, and as Koehler wasn’t on Carolina’s power play or penalty kill unit. But he got one shift.

He jumped over the bench, skated forward, and just as he turned towards the offensive zone, his teammate Ron Francis was hooked by Steve Heinze, who was called for a penalty.

2003 Season: Player Greg Koehler of the Nashville Predators. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Koehler skated back to the bench and never returned to an NHL ice. His first NHL game resulted in four seconds of playing time. And as it would turn out, that was it.

Koehler dressed for warmups for the next two games but was scratched. He was sent back to Cincinnati a week later.

“I wish (Maurice) would have given me maybe a little bit more opportunity,” Koehler told The Athletic. “But I don’t have any bitter pills or bitterness about it. There obviously was a reason for it. I just don’t know what the reason was, but I never probably will. And that’s fine.”

2003 Season: Player Greg Koehler of the Nashville Predators. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

In the upcoming years, Koehler played around the minors. He was called up by Nashville once but wasn’t dressed for any game. In 2007, his career ended. No NHL career has even been shorter than Koehler’s, with Jeff Libby, next closest, with 43 seconds. They’re the only two players who played just one shift.

“I’m not here to cry the blues,” Koehler said. “I have no regrets about what happened.”

Nowadays, he works as a mechanic installing and servicing heating and air conditioning units. He has two kids, a son and a daughter, who both play hockey. And yeah, he still happens to play men’s league hockey, as well.

Source: The Athletic

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