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Today in Edmonton Oilers History: January 12, 1954 - Happy Birthday, Dennis Sobchuk

Happy birthday to a future WHA era member of the Oilers.

January 12, 1954 - Dennis Sobchuk is born in Lang, Saskatchewan. Nearly 23 years later he joins the Oilers after being traded from the Cincinnati Stingers to Edmonton in exchange for the rights to Dave Debol.

Over the last year and a half of the WHA’s existence Sobchuk plays 87 games for the Oilers during the regular season and another 17 in the playoffs, helping the Oilers to a first place finish during the WHA’s farewell season and eventually to a birth in the Avco Cup Final where they would lose in six games to the Winnipeg Jets. In 104 games with the Oilers Sobchuck scored 39-46-85, was a +14, and recorded 47 penalty minutes.

Before beginning his pro career, Sobchuck spent three years in the Western Canada Hockey League (today’s WHL), mostly with the Regina Pats where he scored 191-225-416 in 191 games and was part of Regina’s first Memorial Cup winning team since 1930; his #14 is one of nine numbers retired by the Pats.

In the summer of 1974 Sobchuk was drafted in the fifth round, 89th overall, by the Philadelphia Flyers. Rather than join the NHL though, he instead he chose to play in the WHA with the Stingers who offered him $1.7M over ten years. Not being in the league yet, the Stingers loaned Sobchuk to the Phoenix Roadrunners for the 1974/75 season, he then played the next two and half seasons with Cincinnati before being traded to the Oilers in December of 1977.

After the WHA came to an end, so too did Sobchuk’s time with the Oilers as he was reclaimed by the Flyers prior to the expansion draft. Before the start of the 1979 season he was traded again, this time to Detroit where he would play 33 games for the Red Wings during that same season. A shoulder injury suffered during the 1977/78 season limited his effectiveness though and after signing as a free agent with the Quebec Nordiques in March of 1982 played his final two NHL games.

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