Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chuck Lefley

Nowadays, its tough to imagine Chuck Lefley was once a 43 goal scorer in the National Hockey League. His world revolves around farming.

Chuck returned home to Grosse Isle Manitoba once his NHL career was over and devoted his life to working on his fathers farm. While raising cattle and grain may sound like a very simple life, Lefley loves it.

Lefley has made the family farm a completely modern enterprise, complete with computerized machinery and diversified products. He quietly lives with his wife and daughter, and other than serving as the local rink caretaker in nearby Warren, Manitoba and the odd round of golf with Ab McDonald, he has little connection to his former hockey life.

At one time Chuck was a very cerebral player. Blessed with good speed and good anticipation, he was one of the best penalty killers during the late 1970s. Originally a Montreal Canadiens draft pick, The Habs moved Lefley to St. Louis late in 1974 after a couple of back to back 20 goal seasons. The fact that Lefley not only made the incredibly deep Habs teams of the early 1970s but was able to contribute nicely to them suggests that Chuck was a very good player indeed.

The Habs moved Chuck to St. Louis for veteran defenseman Don Awry partially because Chuck got off to such a slow start in the 1974-75 season - he scored just 1 goal in 18 games. He however was able to find his scoring touch once he arrived in the US Midwest, and scored 23 times in 57 games for the Bluenotes.

In St. Louis he continued to play a similar steady role before his erupting for 43 goals and 85 points in 1975-76. A rib injury really bothered him much of the 1976-77 season. He scored just 11 goals while adding 30 assists in 71 games. Many dismissed him as a one year wonder.

After that disappointing season, Chuck took a couple of years off from the NHL, claiming "I just needed some time off to think." He spent a year in Finland and a year in Germany, where he cherished the chance to play with his brother Bryan.

While Bryan stayed in Europe to play and coach until his death in 1997, Chuck returned to the St. Louis Blues for the 1979-80 and 1980-81 season. However he played sparingly and his career was clearly near its end.

All told, Chuck appeared in 407 NHL games. He scored 128 times while assisting on 164 others. That gave him 292 points.

3 comments:

Anonymous,  July 29, 2012 at 6:34 PM  

Great item. Glad to know he's doing well, always liked him as a player.

lowetide,  July 29, 2012 at 6:34 PM  

Great update, thanks.

ED McCarthy,  September 8, 2012 at 5:02 PM  

Met him in 1973 with Jim Roberts in a Hotel in Montreal. We were students visiting. When they found out we played Hockey they treated me like Gold. He's a class act God Bless I'm glad he's well.

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