Dino Ciccarelli has a few distinct marks on his career. A pesty, although some would say dirty, winger, Dino made a living parked just outside the opponents crease. A two time fifty goal scorer, Ciccarelli became infamous for his altercation with Luke Richardson in 1988. An eventful career for a player who went undrafted.
In 1977-78, Ciccarelli led the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League with 72 goals, two more than some guy name Wayne Gretzky. While in the Play-offs, Ciccarelli stepped on a broken stick in practice, slid into the boards and broke his leg. Ciccarelli had planned signing with the WHA in 1978, but it was now doubtful he would ever play pro hockey again. Dino rehabbed vigoursly and returned to the OMJHL the following year but was limited to 19 points in 30 games.
The 1979 NHL Entry draft is considered to be one of the deepest drafts in history, albeit aided by the influx of WHA underagers and a drop in the minimum age. Ciccarelli, who fell off the scouts radars, went undrafted. In September of 1979, the Minnesota North Stars signed Ciccarelli as a free agent. Cicarelli would retire as the career leading scorer for undrafted players, who were draft eligible.
Ciccarelli would make it to the NHL midway through the 1980 season. He made an immediate impact scoring 30 points in 32 games but the best was yet to come. The North Stars made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Ciccarelli set a play-off rookie record with 14 goals as the Star fell to the New York Islanders in the Finals.
Dino would set career highs in goals, 55, assists, 51, and points, 106, in 1981-82 and would be among the team leaders for several seasons. He had his second 50 goals and 100 point season in 1986-87. Ciccarelli scored 40 goals or more for five straigh seasons, from 85-86 to 89-90.
At the start of the 1987-88 season, Ciccarelli held out for a new contract. The North Stars were rumoured to be in talks with the Penguins and Kings. You have to wonder what kind of numbers Ciccarelli would put up beside Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh. No trade was made and Dino ended his holdout three days before the start of the season.
It was January 6, of 1988 when Cicarelli would become infamous. Cicarelli, feeling he was being abused by several Leafs players, snapped on Luke Richardson. The NHL suspended Ciccarelli for 10 games. The police also became involved. Ciccarelli was charged and became the first NHL player to be convicted with assault stemming from an on-ice incident.
Ciccarelli was traded the following season in a deal that saw the North Stars acquire 50 goals scorer and future HHOFer, Mike Gartner, and another future HHOFer, Larry Murphy. Ciccarelli would play three and a half seasons in Washington before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings. Dino returned to the Stanley Cup finals as a Red Wing in 1995, but the Wings would get swept by the New Jersey Devil.
During training camp of 1996, Ciccarelli was traded to the Tampa Bay Lighting. He led the team with 35 goals that season. The following season, a recurring theme occurred for Ciccarelli, he held out during training camp. He had also done so before with the Stars and Capitals. Ciccarelli eventually returned to the team but scored at much slower pace. He was traded to the Florida Panthers partway through the season. A back injury suffered in 1999 ended Ciccarelli's career.
Ciccarelli now owns a chain of sportsbars in Michigan, called Ciccarelli's 22. He was inducted into the HHOF in 2010.