Hockey tough guy Semenko dies at 59
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Dave Semenko, the Edmonton Oilers tough guy who protected Wayne Gretzky during the 1980s, has died.
He was 59.
He died in Edmonton after a short battle with cancer, the team said Thursday.
“His legendary toughness on the ice is surpassed only by his kindness and caring for others, and his equally legendary wit and sense of humor,” the Oilers said in a statement.
Semenko was the bodyguard for “The Great One” for parts of 10 seasons with the Oilers in the World Hockey Association and NHL.
He helped Edmonton win the Stanley Cup in 1984 and 1985.
“One of the first Oilers I met in 1978, I didn’t know at the time the impact he would have in my life and my career,” Gretzky said. “He was the toughest player I knew and yet the biggest teddy bear you would ever know. A beloved Oiler that will be missed dearly because of his kind heart and funny sense of humor. He made us all better people.”