But Ward, who hails from Ontario, was different in one way from many of his counterparts. In addition to rooting for the stars of the era like Bobby Orr, Dave Keon, Bobby Hull and Guy Lafleur he was a big fan of the lesser-known players who appealed to him for one reason or another.
His hockey idol was Jim Harrison, a player from Alberta, who played for several National Hockey League (NHL) teams – the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Chicago Black Hawks and the Edmonton Oilers.
Ward said even at the age of 11 he was a big fan of Harrison.
“I gravitate toward the unsung heroes, and I like to fight the good fight for those who don’t necessarily know they have a voice,” he said.
“Even at the age of 11 I had a bit of that in me,” he said.
Ward recalls Harrison was a third line center for the Leafs behind Dave Keon and Norm Ullman and yet there was something about him that I liked.
“I like the plumbers, the lesser-known guys. Harrison sacrificed ice time for other players and fought anybody and everybody. I loved the way he looked with that Beatles haircut and big bushy sideburns.
“I was reaching puberty and beginning to reject the generation ahead of me. Harrison looked like a bit of a rebel and this type of guy always appealed to me.”
According to the Toronto Maple Leafs Legends BlogSpot, Harrison started his hockey career in Alberta and soon became associated with the Boston Bruins of the NHL.
He joined the Bruins in 1968-69 and played 16 games in that season as he saw limited ice time on the powerful Bruins team.
On December 10, 1969 Harrison was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he was a third line center behind Keon and Ullman. He had his best season with the Leafs in 1971-72 in scoring 19 goals and 36 assists.
He later became a player in the World Hockey Association (WHA) where be became a bonafide star with the Alberta Oilers. In his first season with the Oilers he scored 39 goals and 47 assists in 66 games.
It was as a member of the Oilers that Harrison had one of those nights in professional hockey that players remember forever.
On January 30. 1973 in a game against the New York Raiders Harrison had his lost 10-point night as he scored three goals and seven assists in his team’s 11 to 3 victory.
He returned to the NHL for the 1976-77 season to play for the Chicago Black Hawks. The rest of his career was cut short by various injuries and was forced to retire in 1979-80 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.
Throughout his professional career he scored 153 goals in the NHL and 269 in the WHA.
The Lost 10 Point Night
David Ward has spent the past five years or so living between McCallum in the Coast of Bays and Ontario.
It was while living in Newfoundland that he decided to write a book about his hockey hero.
“I phoned Harrison at his fishing camp in Greenwood, British Columbia, and told him about my idea for the book. I spent three days in the area with a friend and got to speak to Harrison on several occasions.
“I came back to McCallum started writing the book entitled: The Lost 10 Point Night.”
In all the thousands of professional hockey games played in the 100 plus years only two players have scored 10 points in a game.
Everyone knows about Darryl Sittler’s 10-point night against the Boston Bruins on Feb. 7, 1976, when the famous Leafs player scored six goals and four assists.
Ward wanted to make this point one of the key messages in his book.
“Of all the professional hockey games played in the NHL, the WHA, the American Hockey League, the International Hockey League and others, only two players have ever scored 10 points in one game.
“We all know about Sittler’s big night while very few people remember or even know about Harrison’s 10-point performance.”
After finishing his writing from his visit to British Columbia, Harrison invited Ward to spend 10 days with him at his fishing camp. In conversations with Harrison, his wife, Caroline and other people, Ward gathered the rest of the material for the book, which is now available in bookstores and online at Amazon and Chapters.
Ward said he hopes readers will take several points away with them from the book.
“I want people to hear what the B-list has to say – people who aren’t so guarded, people who don’t have too much to lose.
“I want them to hear what those unsung heroes have to say, but I also want them to know Jim Harrison is a bigger hero to me today than he was when I was 11.
“He was ripped off big-time by Allan Eagleson and his own players’ association has told him to go to hell,” said Ward, adding, “I think there’s something heroic about hard working people trying to live decent lives, whether that’s people living in McCallum or anywhere in Canada.
“Jim has done everything he can to land on his feet and makes the most of his life despite the fact that he hasn’t always been treated fairly by his own.”