Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hector Marini

Hector Marini was the lone representative of the New Jersey Devils at the 1983 NHL All Star game. Every team needed a rep, which always led to controversy. This particular year that meant star wingers like Boston's Rick Middleton or Washington's Mike Gartner stayed home.

Marini was no All Star, but his lone appearance at the annual mid-season classic would have to rank as a career highlight. He almost scored a goal, even.

"I came close to scoring," he remembered. "I was playing on a line with Don Maloney and Darryl Sittler. I shot from the point, and I thought I had scored, but Maloney said he tipped it in. Oh well. Playing in the game was a big thrill. I was a fringe player, and there's no way I'd be selected if they didn't have to take one player from each team."

The Timmins, Ontario born Marini starred with the OHL's Sudbury Wolves in the mid 1970s, earning him the 50th overall draft selection in 1977. The New York Islanders selected the scrappy, hard working forward, but he would only play sparingly with the Islanders. He is better remembered for playing with the New Jersey Devils in 1983 and 1984.

Nicknamed "The Wreaker," Marini wrecked his knee in early 1984, causing him to miss lots of time recuperating. He made it back on the ice, but in the minor leagues.

His career would come to an on December 5th, 1985. The 28 year old was hit in the left eye by a power play point shot. The impact of the puck destroyed the eye's iris, cornea and lens and almost completely severed the retina. Doctors performed emergency after the game, but two days later they removed the eye completely and inserted an artificial one.


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