R.I.P. Reggie Dunlop

Matthew HoganAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2008

On Friday, the hockey community lost a great coach and even better person.

Paul Newman, better known for his role as Charlestown Chiefs player-coach Reggie Dunlop in the film Slap Shot, died at the age of 83 after a long fight with cancer.

No one could have done a better job as the charismatic coach in the '70s film. From his inspiring pep talks to his interesting fighting tactics, the coaching community will never be the same.

We all remember the Hanrahan incident, you know, the comments that were made about his wife and the resulting goal—all thanks to Reg Dunlop.

The good thing about Reg was that he was a lover and a fighter—or I think he said, “Nah, I’m a lover.”  Dunlop knew when to “play it straight.”  He’d tell his boys to play “old-time hockey, like Eddie Shore,” and they would do it—in less-than spectacular form.

But let’s not forget, the Chiefs knew when to mix it up, and Dunlop was always the reason why.  “I am personally placing a hundred-dollar bounty on the head of Tim McCracken. He’s the head coach and chief punk on that Syracuse team.” I’m not sure if Gary Bettman would let a “bounty” go in the NHL, but that was the thing about Reggie Dunlop—he was an innovator.

There is no doubt that if Reggie ever coached in the NHL, his team would be at the top in no time. Coaches in today’s NHL should take notes from the great Reggie Dunlop—a Stanley Cup is guaranteed.

In all sincerity, the hockey community is at a loss. Newman was a great man and donated millions of dollars to charity (that’s the “lover” side of him).

So to all hockey fans and players everywhere, I’ll leave with a quote from Newman as coach Reggie Dunlop: “Get out there on the ice and let ‘em know you’re there. Get that [exploitive deleted] stick in their side. Let ‘em know you’re there! Get that lumber in his teeth. Let ‘em know you’re there!”

Well said, Reg.