Dave Semenko wasn’t the most skillful player in Edmonton Oilers during the incredible winning years in the 80s. The team was stacked with stars and future Hall of Famers.
Wayne Gretzky, the greatest ever, was there, of course. Jari Kurri, one of the most notorious goalscorers of all time, as well. But every star in those years needed a protector and an enforcer, and the Oilers had the perfect one in Dave Semenko. Semenko often played in the same line as Gretzky and Kurri, and it wasn’t for his goalscoring abilities or chance-creating.
Semenko allowed Gretzky to work his magic on the ice, and he wasn’t just a great guy to have on the ice. Semenko’s importance to the Oilers team and the spirit in the locker room can’t be praised well enough. Semenko was a funny guy, someone who understood his role on the team perfectly. And it’s just one reason why Gretzky and everyone on that Oilers team loved him.
There are so many great stories about Semenko and the jokes and quotes he made during the years that his teammates will never forget.
At Semenko’s funeral in 2017, Gretzky shared an awesome story about Semenko’s four wishes he had for his hockey life.
”He said, ’I’ve done everything in my life in hockey. I only had four wishes. Three of them came true,’” Gretzky said.
”The guys around him asked what they were, and he goes, ’I wanted to be NHL player of the week, and I got that. I wanted to be on the cover of Hockey News, and I got that. And I wanted to lift the Stanley Cup, and we lifted the Stanley Cup, I got that.’
”The guys around kind of leaning in towards him as he was sipping on his water and ice, and they said, ’What is the fourth one?’ He said, ’Well, I never got the fourth one. I wanted Glen Sather to walk in the locker room after a big win and say, ’Gretz, Mess, Coff, and Semenk, take tomorrow off.’’”
Gretzky couldn’t stop laughing as he told the anecdote, and the same went for everyone at the funeral. What an awesome story about an awesome player!