There’s a handful of players on this list who worked their backsides off and did whatever it takes just to make it to the NHL. Steve Staios, who spent 573 games with the Edmonton Oilers during an NHL career that spanned 1,001 games, might be the poster boy for all of them.
Given his upbringing in the east end of Hamilton, that’s no surprise. No matter how you perceived Staios as a player during his tenure with the Oilers, he gave you everything he had, and a little bit more. He was an honest, tough player who thanked his lucky stars for every day he wore an NHL uniform. He knew how to work. He learned that early in life.
Born Jul 28 1973 — Hamilton, ONT
Height 6.00 — Weight 200 [183 cm/91 kg]
Drafted by St. Louis Blues
BY THE NUMBERS
|2011-12||New York Islanders||NHL||65||0||8||8||53||-19||—||—||—||—||—|
Statistically speaking, Staios enjoyed the best three years of his NHL career with the Oilers from 2002-06. After seasons of 26 and 28 points, he hit 28 again in 2005-06 when the Oilers went to the Stanley Cup final. For Staios, it was never really about points, though. It was about competing and being the best he could be, putting the work in.
Growing up in Hamilton, Staios and his family of five lived in a tiny apartment above the variety store his father, Paul, operated. He always marveled at the hours his parents worked, relating it to how lucky he felt to play in the NHL and make the money he did. He often talked about how those days shaped him as a young man.
It was no big surprise, then, when Staios left a position in player development with the Toronto Maple Leafs – he also served as an assistant coach — last July to return to Hamilton to become the president of the OHL Bulldogs, who were relocating from Belleville.
“I wanted to come back to Hamilton,” Staios said in an interview with the Dundas Star about returning to his roots and his upbringing in the city. “This is about more than just playing hockey. I thought about it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
Unlike some players who struggle with leaving the spotlight of the NHL when their playing days are done, Staios had no problem leaving his job with the Maple Leafs to return home. He never sought the spotlight as a player, so he doesn’t miss it now. Grateful for it? Yes. Live for it? No.
Staios was a good player with the Edmonton Oilers. He was a better man and somebody who served as a shining example of what’s possible if you put the work in to young players later in his career here. That counts for plenty in my books.
This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.
- 74. Stan Weir
- 75. Mark Napier
- 76. Andrei Kovalenko
- 77. Brett Callighen
- 78. Jimmy Carson
- 79. Raffi Torres
- 80. Mike York
- 81. Andrew Cogliano
- 82. Mariusz Czerkawski
- 83. Eric Brewer
- 84. Tom Poti
- 85. Radek Dvorak
- 86. Igor Kravchuk