Monday

Danny O'Shea

Life as a professional athlete is not necessarily easy. Sure, the money is ridiculously good, but the demands are high, and the security is low.

It was a lot worse back in the 1960s when salaries were puny by today's standards. Managers and coaches were better able to control players lives, especially where they played. There was no such thing as a no trade clause back then.

Take Danny O'Shea, for example. He was a 6'1" 190lb center blessed with size and skating. He was described as temperamental and moody, although history looks back at him as just another in a long line of unfulfilled destinies of greatness.

O'Shea, a junior star in Oshawa who also skated for Canada at the 1967 Worlds and 1968 Olympics, never could get comfortable playing in the NHL. He spent three seasons in Minnesota, two in Chicago, two in St. Louis and 1 in the WHA, never really finding a good fit.

O'Shea blamed the lack of security. He constantly lived under the fear of being traded or demoted.

"Every player on every team wants to know where he stands. You can't play well if you're playing out of position and if the axe is hanging over your head. You can't play well if your mind is all mixed up. I'd been traded twice in two years. I just wanted to know if I figured in the team's plans."

O'Shea never really recovered from the trade that took him from his first NHL home, Minnesota.

"I expected to remain in Minnesota. Trades are part of sports, but the traded to Chicago shocked me and before I could recover I was on my way again (to St. Louis)."

All worries of life in the big leagues were put in perspective for O'Shea in July of 1973 when the 28 year old suffered a heart attack. NHL doctors would not grant O'Shea clearance to play hockey again, fearing his heart was not healthy enough. After sitting out an entire season he ended up playing the 1974-75 season with Minnesota in the WHA.

14 comments:

me June 24, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

Just a shame for such a great player and person. I worked with Danny for 5 years and he was a true gentleman and person. Success never went to his head and is just an all around good guy.I know these memories are tough for him as he did outscore Bobby Orr with the Generals and had excellent potential. Although he never live up to them a bronze Olympic medal and 2 all-star games is not to shabby.
I think the fact he had the 2nd goal to put the Hawks up 2-1 only to have Henri Richard score the tying and winning goal was his most painful memory. Whatever he is doing now I wish him all the best and hope things are good for him.
Scott

Anonymous,  November 12, 2010 at 10:45 AM  

Nice read... For the record - Danny O'Shea is my Uncle and never suffered a heart attack - but did sit out due to contract negotiations... He is in fine health and living in MN, today.

Anonymous,  November 12, 2010 at 7:29 PM  

From C.T.O'S. Thanks for clarifying my darling nephew!

me November 13, 2010 at 7:31 AM  

An old friend from CN so Anonymous tell Danny I said hi and hope he is doing well. He did sit out and then signed with Mn back in the WHA for almost 2X the cash before he went to Europe back in 74 and coached a bit if I remember correctly.

R.E.O'R.,  August 14, 2011 at 2:02 PM  

Danny was my favorite player when I was a kid, and he is still my favorite. I switched from shooting right handed to left handed because of him, and copied his face-off style, which served me well in league hockey play. Living in St. Louis, I used to listen to radio broadcasts from MN and Chicago when he played there. When he got traded to the Blues, I got to meet him at an autograph session. He was very courteous and appreciative of me being his fan. What a thrill that was! If you know or see Danny, tell him I said hello. I think he should be proud of his NHL career.

jb November 12, 2011 at 5:10 PM  

I was and remain a loving fan of The O'Shea Brothers, since Kevin Played in San Diego, CA I was owner of a Pub in La Jolla and they came in with the whole Gulls Team after every home game and we would try to golf at Torrey Pine whenever possible. I was stunned to learn of Kevins passing and just wanted Danny to know how much I admired them both..jb&jojo

Anonymous,  November 22, 2011 at 9:41 AM  

I still remember when I was 8 or 9 and there was a North Stars clinic in Hutchinson, MN. What a thrill it was to get to put on Danny's gloves! Still remember it vividly to this day.

Anonymous,  February 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM  

Danny was the idol of many young hockey and baseball players in Ajax, including me. He was graceful on both the ice

and the diamond and had far more natural skills that I and other kids in Ajax wished we had. When he wasn't

pitching for the baseball team, he played shortstop, where he made one of the most amazing plays I have ever seen.

The other team's batter hit a screaming line drive straight at Danny, who, showing the reflexes of a truly gifted

athlete, caught the ball with his bare right hand because there wasn't enough time for him to use his glove. When

he played junior hockey for Peterborough, he attended Neil McNeil High School in the east end of Toronto. I have no

idea how he could manage all that travel and combine the two pursuits as a teenager. He didn't get along with

Scotty Bowman, the Peterborough coach, which is the reason Wren Blair, the Oshawa Generals GM, was able to have him

join that team. At that time, the St. Michael's junior A team transferred to Neil McNeil, and the school's

principal, Father Troy, was unsuccessful in arranging for Danny to play for the school team. I followed Danny

closely all through his career in junior, international and professional hockey, but never had the good fortune to

meet him because he was 4 years older than me. His brother, Kevin, was a grade ahead of me at both St. Bernadette's

in Ajax and Neil McNeil, and I'm saddened to learn of his passing.

me February 17, 2013 at 10:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
me February 18, 2013 at 9:37 AM  

I hope Danny is doing well as I do miss my friend. When I worked with Danny he would always take the time to say a few words. He made my day when he introduced and brought Pete Mahovlich to my blackjack table he stayed for 2 days and all we chatted was about hockey. Last day I had introduced my wife to Pete as well...just a true class act...

I hope Danny's nephew gets to see this post , if you do please say hi to Danny from Scott & Shelly...appreciated:)

Cath February 14, 2015 at 4:58 AM  

Hi
I am very happy to have found this blog, it is a lovely read. I am doing my family tree and Danny's father, Mike and my father were first cousins.

Anonymous,  April 12, 2015 at 2:41 PM  

I am very sorry to hear of Kevin O'Shea passing. Danny was my favoret player...He was No. 22 on the blues and Kevin was 21....I saw Kevin get the winning goal on tv. pass Cesar Maniago to win in overtime and the Blues went on to the Stanley Cup finals. It had been a tough series. Bob Plager ran into Gump Worsley and knock him out...that's how Cesar was playing goal.. Danny O'Shea was a class skater. if the nephew on here is Kevin child, I am really sorry for your lost...

Anonymous,  February 19, 2016 at 12:13 PM  

So sorry to hear of Kevin's passing. My name is Danny O'Shea and my (only), brother is named Kevin. I was a fan of Danny and the North Stars when I was a kid, Danny is 12 years my senior. People always said we might be related as I had an uncle who moved to Canada when he was younger and apparently had a couple of boys. Glad to hear he's well and please tell him hello from his namesake in NYC.


Anonymous,  June 19, 2016 at 8:47 PM  

So very saddened to hear of Kevin's passing. I worked with Kevin at the law firm and we were very good friends. We lost touch when we both left. Danny I met several times after our baseball games, going to a bar with Kevin. My deepest condolences to Kevin's family (I know he had 2 boys) and condolences to you as well Danny. Still shocked that Kevin is gone

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