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Former coach says Pronger will make great GM

by Tim Wharnsby

TORONTO-- Chris Pronger's old junior coach Dick Todd believes that his former player will one day make a good general manager in the NHL because of his knowledge and passion for hockey.

Pronger played two seasons for Todd and the Peterborough Petes, winning an Ontario Hockey League championship in 1992-93.

Todd witnessed Pronger's knowledge of the past one day when the Petes stopped at Don Cherry's restaurant in Oshawa, Ontario for a team dinner.

"There was a picture of the Boston Bruins there from the 1960s," Todd said. "He told me, 'I bet I can name every player on that Bruins team without looking at the label and you can't.' We went over and challenged each other. If I remember correctly both of us were able to get everyone, but one player."

When Pronger was eligible for the OHL draft in 1991, there was a possibility that the defenseman would shun major junior hockey and join his older brother Sean at Bowling Green University.

As a result, OHL teams didn't want to take a chance on drafting Pronger early. The Detroit Junior Red Wings selected Todd Harvey first overall. The Petes snatched a beanpole Pronger in the sixth round.

"Teams weren't very happy that we were able to draft him 89th overall," Todd said. "So when we went into Oshawa, someone challenged him. Chris put a pretty good beating on the player.

"The next time it happened was in Belleville a few games later, and again he put a beating on his opponent. That was the last time anybody challenged him and he ruled in the front of our net in the remaining two years he played for me.

"When he arrived at camp I immediately knew he was a NHLer. I compared him to Larry Robinson. He later proved himself to be the player I thought he would become."

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