Whatever Happened to John Slaney?

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Updated: December 5, 2012

He hailed from Newfoundland and Labrador and in 1991 John Slaney became a household name when he scored perhaps the biggest goal of his career against the USSR in the third period.  With the score tied, Slaney scored the game-winning goal giving Canada both the win and tournament championship in the 1991 IIHF Junior World Championships.

Everyone in the province knew his name at that time but whatever happened to John Slaney?

Slaney’s hockey career was long and colorful to say the least.  Drafted in the first round in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals, Slaney was selected ninth overall, touted at the time as a “can’t miss ‘D’ man” by many in hockey circles.

Anyone in Slaney’s shoes would have been ecstatic, being drafted to the NHL is every hockey player’s dream.  However, the problem that Slaney was facing was that he was drafted into an organization deep on defensive talent.  He now had to compete with the likes of Kevin Hatcher, Calle Johnasson, Al Iafrate, Rod Langway and Sylvain Cote.  It was going to be tough for him to crack the lineup with this talented and proven defenseman standing on the blue line.

Slaney did make it into the Washington lineup playing a total of 63 games from 1993-95 before being dealt to the Colorado Avalanche.  His career in the NHL was for the most part limited, bouncing from team to team throughout his career, playing a total of 268 games over 10 years for a total of 7 teams.

Most of Slaney’s hockey success game at the AHL level where he played most of his AHL career with the Philadelphia Phantoms ending the 2006-07 season amassing a total of 166 goals and 353 assists.  He became the all-time point leader for defensemen in the AHL on December 30, 2005 when he collected point 454.   This record stood until 2001 when Bryan Helmer passed him.  Slaney went on to win the Calder Cup with the Phantoms in 2005.

Slaney finished off his playing career in Europe and now coaches in the AHL with the Portland Pirates, coming full circle in his career.  As an assistant coach, Slaney brings a fresh perspective and player experience to the game he loves so dearly.

Perhaps at a different time and with a different team, Slaney would have had a long and successful career in the NHL.  Timing is of course, everything.

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