Dean Chynoweth
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Dean Chynoweth

Defenseman Dean Chynoweth played 9 seasons in the NHL for the NY Islanders and the Boston Bruins. He was known for his physical play and retired as a player at 28, in 1998, after his 13th concussion. He is currently the assistant of Bob Bourne, the coach/GM of the Utah Grizzlies in the IHL. In early January 2000, he was interviewed by François Coulombe for HockeyZone:

HockeyZonePlusWhen you played junior hockey in the Western Hockey League, your father was the president of league. Was that tough for you because of possible comments from players or fans?
Dean Chynoweth – Yes, he was president of the WHL and chairman of Canadian Junior Hockey. So my first year was fairly tough and I heard lots of comments about why I was in the league, but once I proved I could play that seemed to silence people. However it was brought up again when I went to the World Junior try-outs. Not much was said once I turned pro.

HockeyZonePlusWhat was your most memorable moment as a hockey player?
Dean Chynoweth – A number of things, first winning back-to-back Memorial Cups (Juniors), second winning a Calder Cup (AHL) and third being drafted by the NY Islanders and playing my first game in Calgary-my hometown.

Photo from Boston Bruins Legends

Season  Team        Lea   GP   G   A PTS PIM
1984-85 Med.-Hat    WHL    2   0   0   0   0

1985-86 Med.-Hat    WHL   69   3  12  15 208
1986-87 Med.-Hat    WHL   67   3  19  22 285
1987-88 Med.-Hat    WHL   64   1  21  22 274
1988-89 Islanders   NHL    6   0    0   0  48
1989-90 Islanders   NHL   20   0    2   2  39
1989-90 Springfield AHL   40   0   7    7  98
1990-91 Capital Dis.AHL   44   1   5    6 176
1990-91 Islanders   NHL   25   1    1   2  59
1991-92 Islanders   NHL   11   1    0   1  23
1991-92 Capital Dis.AHL   43   4   6  10 164
1992-93 Capital Dis.AHL   52   3  10  13 197
1993-94 Salt Lake   IHL    5   0    1   1  33
1993-94 Islanders   NHL   39   0    4   4 122
1994-95 Islanders   NHL   32   0    2   2  77
1995-96 Islanders   NHL   14   0    1   1  40
1995-96 Bruins      NHL   35    2   5   7  88
1996-97 Bruins      NHL   57    0   3   3 171
1996-97 Providence  AHL    2   0   0    0  13
1997-98 Québec      IHL   15    2   2   4  39
1997-98 Providence  AHL   28   2   2    4 123
1997-98 Bruins      NHL    2    0   0   0   0

Birthdate: October 30, 1968
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta


HockeyZonePlusWhat was the low point of your career?
Dean Chynoweth – 1992-93. It was the first year I never played a game up with the Islanders, but I was very lucky to have Butch Goring as my coach. He was the person who got my career back on track. Also 1997-98, the year of my concussions which was tough to deal with at the time.

HockeyZonePlusWho was the toughest player you ever encountered?
Dean Chynoweth – Dave Brown in my first pro fight which happened in th preseason of the 1988-89 season. We had a 5-on-5 brawl and I ended up with him. I hit him with everything I had, he shook it off, reared back and started throwing, thank the lord I had a helmet on. He hit me so hard I had goose eggs on my head and that is through the helmet since I never lost it during the fight.

HockeyZonePlusYou retired after getting the 13th concussion of your career. If you could go back to the beginning of your hockey career, knowing what you know now, would you do things differently? If so, what would you do differently?
Dean Chynoweth – The only thing I would do differently is wear a better helmet, but at the time they hadn't made the advances they have today. One doctor told me I could probably keep playing but I would have to change my game, less contact, no fighting, but due to lingering symptoms it was not possible. I wouldn’t have wanted to play any other way than the way I played.

HockeyZonePlusYou’ve been described as a feisty stay-at-home defenseman and you’ve had your share of fights. Was there a point in your career where you started to see fighting differently, started to have different feelings about fighting? A young rookie might be more enthusiastic about fighting while an older guy might start to be less interested because of injuries, etc. Is that accurate?
Dean Chynoweth – I never viewed it that way for me. I had the opportunity to play in the NHL first because I could play and secondly because of my willingness to play hard, hit hard and be there for my teammates. The older I got the more I believed this. I went to Boston in 1995 and they had no heavyweights. I wasn't one, but that year I had more fights than in a long time just because I was willing and we didn’t have anybody else. You also had guys like Cam Neely, Adam Oates, Ray Bourque that you didn't want people taking liberties on or who you didn't want to see in the box. I jumped in once for Cam Neely against Enrico Ciccone and everyone asked why I did it. I replied that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see who you would rather have sitting out 5 minutes, Cam Neely or Dean Chynoweth. Mind you he probably would have faired better since he is one tough SOB.

Photo from Boston Bruins Legends

HockeyZonePlusDo you collect sports memorabilia?
Dean Chynoweth – I have a few pieces. My brother use to be the visiting stickboy in Calgary when the Flames first arrived and he used to collect sticks. So I started adding to his collection when I started playing.

HockeyZonePlusYou played in the IHL and NHL during your NHL career. Did you feel that tough guys were picking on you in order to "try" you since you were an NHLer? How did you feel about that?
Dean Chynoweth – Yes, for sure I was wearing a bullseye at times, but I don't blame them. I was the same way when I was breaking in. It's part of the game.

HockeyZonePlusYou’re now the assistant-coach/GM of the Utah Grizzlies in the IHL. How was the transition from your career as a player?
Dean Chynoweth – The transition has been relatively easy. I was forced to retire, so when it is done for you it is a little easier than doing it yourself. Not much but a little. I was also very fortunate to have been able to work with and for Butch Goring. He helped my career in ‘92 and he helped me again last year.

HockeyZonePlusWhat are your career plans/goals down the road?
Dean Chynoweth – I'm involved in the greatest game in the world. I haven't been this excited since I was a rookie in the NHL. I plan on treating my new career no differently than my old. I'm in no rush to move on, I'm learning everyday and plan on doing my time. Ultimately I would like to get to the NHL.

HockeyZonePlusWhat do you think is the main cause of all the concussions we now see in the NHL and what has to be done to help prevent them?
Dean Chynoweth – I think it is a number of things:

a) the size and strength of today’s players
b) no respect factor
c) equipment

I always use the anology that hockey is football with no out of bounds. When the puck drops there is no place to hide and it is a contact sport. But definitely the size of the players, the rink is the same size, and advancements in equipment make players feel invincible and they take extra runs at guys or play more recklessly.

HockeyZonePlusThat 'lack of respect' aspect is often mentioned in the media. In your opinion, what could be done to solve that?
Dean Chynoweth – I'm not sure what they could do. I think it starts with minor (youth) hockey, that's where you learn respect.

HockeyZonePlusDid you have any specific superstitions as a player?
Dean Chynoweth – No, not really

HockeyZonePlusYou played for a bunch of different coaches and now, you are on the other side of the fence as an assistant coach. Which qualities of which specific coaches would you like to be able to have?
Dean Chynoweth – Al Arbour, he had a great way of getting players to play. He knew what made each player tick, from the top guy all the way down to the bottom guy. He is a very honest person and doesn't mince words. Pat Burns, although I didn't play a long time for him, I was impressed with how structured he is. From the first day of training camp he laid everything out on the table of how things would be run and what was expected. You either buy in or move on.

HockeyZonePlusAs far as you know, are there many NHL players who are internet-savvy – keeping in touch with each other via email, checking out what is being said on themselves and on their teams on the internet?
Dean Chynoweth – I'm sure it happens, I was computer illiterate until a couple of years ago. It's funny though, Bob Bourne and I were talking the other day about players today, you see them talking on cell phones, playing games and talking on the Internet. It's an amazing time.

HockeyZonePlusWho was your hockey idol growing up?
Dean Chynoweth – My boyhood idol growing up was Bobby Orr

HockeyZonePlusWhich other NHL team would you have liked to play for?
Dean Chynoweth – I lucked out being drafted by the NY Islanders because they were my favorite team, but I also liked the Philadelphia Flyers and their rough and tumble play.

HockeyZonePlusWhich teammate impressed you the most?
Dean Chynoweth – Ray Bourque was phenomenal when I played with him in Boston. He is the ultimate superstar, a regular guy, a very loyal person. He was always taking care of guys and arranging parties for the team. His work ethic on the ice and during games is like nothing you have ever seen. He's a machine. Finally Ray is a class act, and I enjoyed being around him.

HockeyZonePlusAs a rookie, did some Islanders’ player take you under his wing to help you, make you feel at home?
Dean Chynoweth – Brent Sutter in NY. He and his family kind of took me in like he did with other rookies. I owe them a lot for helping me adjust in my rookie season.

HockeyZonePlusAny idea what you might have done if you could not have made a living with hockey?
Dean Chynoweth – I know what I'd be doing. I’d be making bagels in one of The Great Canadian Bagel Stores. My father and I own a couple of franchises. I worked in them during the lockout in ‘94.


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