NATION PROFILE: RANDY GREGG

Lowetide
January 11 2013 07:07AM

Randy Gregg played just over 450 regular season games for the Edmonton Oilers, and another 130 in the playoffs. Those games represent the 'golden era' for the Edmonton Oilers: 6 Cup finals, 5 Stanleys. And the Oilers almost didn't get him.

BEFORE THE DRAFT

Randy Gregg (#4, wearing the C for Team Canada at the at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. CP Photo/ COA) was never drafted (eligible for the 1976 Amateur Draft) but was a player of note as a University of Alberta Golden Bear (played 75-79 for the U of A). Gregg had a different set of priorities and wanted a different life experience than the ones offered by junior hockey, and when he graduated from University NHL teams were lining up to sign him.

One problem. Gregg--the intelligent, independent young man who went another route--once again decided against signing with the NHL and its feeder system, opting instead to play for the Canadian Olympic team in Calgary (and working toward the 1980 Olympic dream). At that time, plenty of NHL clubs (notably the Atlanta Flames and New York Rangers) were after him, but unlike several other Oly candidates Gregg stayed the course:

  • October 3, 1979 Edmonton Journal (Jim Coleman): The ice leader of the Nationals appears to be the Big Doctor. The young gentleman in question is Randy Gregg, who graduated this year from the faculty of medicine at the University of Alberta. The big doctor is quite a kid--he appears to be about 6 feet 5 inches tall, and although he isn't the swiftest skater in the world, he is very steady on his blades. He is one of those heady defencemen who can control the flow of the game.

 Gregg would play for Canada at the Olympics, and then because he wanted to further study medicine he then played 2 additional seasons outside the NHL's influence in Japan (with the "Kukudo Bunnies" no less) before finally settling in to an NHL career at age 26. One final thing: Gregg's agent during negotiations with Oilers GM Glen Sather? Randy Gregg.

Of course.

EARLY CAREER

On a team that had so much flash and dash, it was easy to overlook the steady and effective Randy Gregg. He arrived whole, a complete and mature package which further led to fans taking the big man for granted. Further, Gregg conducted himself with such class and dignity that he rarely made the news for anything at all!

He was, as they say, a consummate professional. In the middle of his career Gregg (1986) Gregg was thinking about moving on with his other career and the Oilers had another period of worry; it was at that time that John Short wrote another of his brilliant columns (it is here).

It is not to say Gregg was incapable of emotion. The guy could take care of himself and he was a quality defender in all elements of the game. One of the few times I can recall anything unusual about his career was an exchange between he and HNIC commentator Don Cherry. Gregg missed a wide open net (Cherry: "I wouldn't want a guy with those hands standing over me with a sharp object") and Gregg responded ("as a hockey coach, Don Cherry makes a fair color man") but things quickly got themslves solved when Cherry apologized.

Gregg is about one minute in.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

  • 5 Stanley Cups ('84, '85, '87, '88, '90)
  • Member of Canada's 1980 and 1988 Olympic teams
  • He led the Bears to two national championships.
  • In his final season at the U of A he was named the Canadian Intercollegiate Player of the Year.

TRADE

  • Claimed by Vancouver from Edmonton in Waiver Draft, October 1, 1990. He would play 21 games for the Canucks in the 1991-92 season before retiring.

LEGACY

Born in Edmonton in 1956, in the same hospital where he would one day intern, Randy Gregg entered the science programme at the University of Alberta when he was only sixteen, hoping one day to follow his older brother, Ron, into the field of medicine. However, it would be 13 years from the day that Gregg graduated with his medical degree until he entered his final year of residency. Over the course of that time, he had skated for Canada in the Olympics twice, been playing coach in Japan for two years, won the Canada Cup, and earned five Stanley Cup rings as a stay-at-home defenseman with Edmonton. In the meantime, he graduated to double harness, saw four children born into their home, and managed to complete all but that final year of his studies and apprenticeship.

-HHOF

Randy Gregg is married to Olympian Kathy Vogt and Jamie Gregg and Jessica Gregg are their children.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 yawto
January 11 2013, 07:14AM
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Hopefully the brass can find another one like him for the boys on the bus 2.0. He was a great addition to the fist edition.

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#2 Woodguy
January 11 2013, 08:19AM
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Scrolling over on the linked Short article and the paper has the Oilers TC depth chart.

Crazy deep.

Also the 8th C on the chart is Tony Hand.

Danny Gare is the 5th RW.

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#3 Czar
January 11 2013, 09:08AM
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I'm sure he'd like to forget the stint with the Canucks,not the way you'd like to see the doc end his career. One of the unsung heroes from the boys on the bus era. Regarding the Short article, Gretzky and Dunigan both in Edmonton,those were the frickin' days!!

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#4 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
January 11 2013, 09:12AM
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What the **** am I doing with my life???

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#5 Woodguy
January 11 2013, 09:36AM
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In Gregg's first season with the Oilers, he was still listed in the phone book under Dr. Randy Gregg.

I was 10 at the time.

I called the number once.

He answered and I said "good game Randy!" (it was the morning after a game)

He said "Thanks, anything else"

I panicked and hung up the phone.

True story.

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#6 CM
January 11 2013, 11:13AM
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LT an interesting article on Katz from before christmas. I'm not sure if you've seen this one or not. Some good quotes from Mac-T in there at the end.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Daryl+Katz+reclusive+billionaire/7701358/story.html

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#7 treblecharger
January 11 2013, 11:23AM
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Great piece, LT!! RG is one of my all-time fave Oilers. Steady as hell. Smart. And that blooper reel is a huge find, I'm going to find the other 2 parts. Thanks!

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#8 Spydyr
January 11 2013, 11:45AM
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Randy Gregg wrist shot......for us old timers here.

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#9 Fresh Mess
January 11 2013, 11:54AM
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A true roll model for all. Humble and dignified.

I remember in 1990 when Gregg was lost on the waiver draft. Sather didn't want to lose him but didn't have the space on the protected list because he had younger prospects that he had to protect instead.

Dr Gregg understood the situation and sent a fax to all the other franchises informing them he had no interest in leaving Edmonton and he would retire if any other team selected him. The Canucks selected him anyway and Gregg promptly retired, only to be convinced to come out of retirement one year later for a short playing stint in Hongcouver.

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#10 Fresh Mess
January 11 2013, 11:59AM
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I'm trying to remember who Gregg was paired with for that last cup.

I believe the pairings were: Lowe and Muni......Smith and Beukaboom(the twin towers).....and I think it must have been Gregg and Huddy.

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#11 Clarkenstein
January 11 2013, 12:09PM
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CLASS!

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#12 EddieH
January 11 2013, 12:10PM
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I remember there were rumors after Randy was claimed by Vancouver, they wanted to trade him to Pittsburgh. He didn't go because he didn't want to move that far away from his family and his 4, at the time, young children. Crazy that he could have potentially won 2 more Stanley Cups with Mario and Jagr.

Also doesn't mention that his daughter won a couple medals in Vancouver and son also competed in the olympics.

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#13 Pucker
January 11 2013, 12:41PM
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An easy going guy. While very effective he rarely got into conflicts on the ice. The one or two times I seen him get his back up, he showed his strength.

He also played 3rd base for the Edmonton Tigers before joining the Oilers - which I think was in a pro league.

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#14 jonrmcleod
January 11 2013, 12:46PM
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Woodguy wrote:

In Gregg's first season with the Oilers, he was still listed in the phone book under Dr. Randy Gregg.

I was 10 at the time.

I called the number once.

He answered and I said "good game Randy!" (it was the morning after a game)

He said "Thanks, anything else"

I panicked and hung up the phone.

True story.

Great story!

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#15 FastOil
January 11 2013, 01:59PM
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@Bicepus Maximus - I Fehr The Worst

I was going to say

I...feel... inadequate.

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#16 Darrell
January 11 2013, 02:35PM
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Randy Gregg played for the love of the game and was a doctor as his job. It was a simpler time during the first round of the boys on the bus ..... GO OILERS !

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#17 Sammy D
January 11 2013, 06:57PM
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Of the players in today's game, who has the educational credentials that even come close to Dr. Gregg?

Are they any lawyers/engineers/doctors in the league today?

Or is the trend of junior hockey as the preferred path to the NHL leaving us a bunch of HS graduates as our new 'heroes'

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#18 Schnops
January 11 2013, 10:42PM
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Had the pleasure of working with Randy during my residency - I didn't press him for any insider info, but he'd come up with a few stories now and again about the old days - awesome!

He definitely had his own priorities and wasn't afraid to make his own way was he? I like referring him patients and seeing if any of them actually know who he is, lol.

There was another Dr defenseman from U of A as well - former Captain Blair St Martin played for the Golden Bears for 5 years and was invited to a couple of Oiler camps if I recall correctly. No NHL for him though - he's now a practicing urologist, also still in Edmonton.

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#19 EasyOil
January 12 2013, 05:30AM
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Sammy D wrote:

Of the players in today's game, who has the educational credentials that even come close to Dr. Gregg?

Are they any lawyers/engineers/doctors in the league today?

Or is the trend of junior hockey as the preferred path to the NHL leaving us a bunch of HS graduates as our new 'heroes'

George Parros, not even close to Gregg as a player obviously, he is a Princeton grad in Economics, regarded as one of the smartest athletes around.

Kevin Westgarth is also a Princeton grad, Psychology.

I think if Taylor Fedun makes the NHL at some point he'd have to be up there, another Princeton grad in Mechanical Engineering.

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