Wendel Clark was the first selection in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, and it’s fair to say that it was a great choice by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Clark didn’t take long to perform in the best league in the world, and his 34 goals secured his spot in the NHL All-Rookie Team.
Although he scored his fair share of goals, he was more known for his physical play, and already in his first year in the league, he had 227 penalty minutes, which was a team-high for the season.
It was just the beginning of something really special, and he would become a true Maple Leafs icon. He was named captain in Toronto in 1991 and always seemed to find his way back to the town and the team.
He was traded to the Quebec Nordiques in 1994 but returned two years later. He signed with the Tampa Bay Lightnings in 1998 but returned two years later.
His No. 17 is retired by the Maple Leafs, and Clark will always be remembered as a true hero. Someone who didn’t just record over 500 points but who also did just about everything for his team and his teammates.
Clark played in the NHL when it was tougher, and enforcers were common in almost every team.
But Clark was never afraid to drop the gloves or stand up for his teammates, and this story proves it.
On the podcast ”The Suspendables,” host and former NHLer Russ Courtnall shared an awesome story about when he played with the Maple Leafs and Wendel Clark.
”You were prepared every game for something was going to happen,” he said.
”When I played in Toronto with Clark, Wendel says to me, ’After the whistle, if you’re in trouble, count to three, and if I’m not there in three seconds, I’m fighting someone else and you’re on your own,’” he said, laughing.
”That’s what it was like back then. It was crazy!”
Wendel Clark, what a legend!