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The Verdict: Remembering Doug Jarrett

by Bob Verdi / Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks Archives

Doug Jarrett, a steadying influence on defense with the Blackhawks for more than a decade, died Tuesday in Fort Erie, Ont. He was 69.

Jarrett began his National Hockey League career in 1964, and soon was tagged with the nickname “chairman of the boards” because of his ability to deter puck carriers by using well-timed hip checks. He halted many an opposing forward by drifting them into the boards, firmly and legally.

“He’s very even,” said Coach Billy Reay once said Jarrett. “While Doug may not overly excel at one thing, he is able to do everything. He isn’t very flashy but he is very respected around the league.”

Because of Jarrett’s veteran presence, he was a frequent blue line partner for Keith Magnuson, a rookie right out of college in 1969. Jarrett had good size (6-1, 205 pounds) and used it effectively. But, unlike Magnuson, Jarrett did not often engage in fisticuffs because he admitted, “I can’t fight my way out of a paper bag.”

However, Jarrett occasionally had to fight his way into the rink. Reay locked the door for practice, and Jarrett frequently arrived at the very last minute.

“Dog ate your car keys again?” Reay would say.

“No, got behind a school bus and couldn’t pass,” Jarrett would reply.

Jarrett, a popular teammate, was one of several characters who kept the Blackhawks loose and laughing through good times and bad. He and Dennis Hull were close friends; whenever those two got together on a plane or bus ride, comedy ensued. Jarrett was not a comfortable flyer and when asked why he always requested the last row of an aircraft, he replied, “Have you ever seen one of these things back into a mountain?”

During his career, Jarrett noted that he seemed to tire late in games. So he adjusted his diet, adding starch, and actually played a few pounds heavy, by design. Much to Reay’s dismay, however, Jarrett never did protect his ankles, and as Hull recalled, “He would get hit there with a shot in just about every game. Doug would just crumple, throw his stick and gloves and fall into the ice, rolling around. There was so much equipment around it looked like a lawn sale.”

Jarrett was traded to the New York Rangers for goalie Gilles Villemure in 1975. He played 775 games in the NHL, collecting 220 points and 631 penalty minutes.


Douglas William Jarrett

JARRETT, Douglas William - April 22 1944 - February 10, 2014 - Passed away suddenly at the age of 69 with his loving family at his side at Douglas Memorial Hospital in Fort Erie. Predeceased by his parents Joseph and Margaret Jarrett and brother, Charlie. Loving husband to Brenda. Loving father to Doug, Michael, David, John and Robert. Loving step father to Carrie, Jerrod & Barb. Loving brother to Joanne and Kimberley. Loving Papa Doug to 19 grandchildren. The family would like to thank Dr. Che and the staff at Douglas Memorial Hospital for all their help and support. Family will receive friends at the Niagara Funeral Home 5647 Main St. Niagara Falls on Friday Feb 14 from 7-9PM. A celebration of life will be on Saturday Feb 15 at the Niagara Funeral Home Chapel at 1 pm. Cremation has taken place with interment at a later date. In memory of Doug donations would be greatly appreciated to the Niagara Falls Minor Hockey Association. On line condolences www.niagarafuneral.com1270.

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