Tuesday

Gene Carr

Gene Carr's most obvious hockey skill was his superior skating ability. He was one of the flashiest skaters around in the 1970s.

Gene is the son of Red Carr, who was a minor league player for many years and also played briefly with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Red was also a hockey coach in Nanaimo. One would think Gene got his skating abilities from his father. But Gene, always the witty joker, insisted he got it from his mother.

Gene will forever be known as a high draft pick who never panned out. Picked 4th overall by the St. Louis Blues in 1971, Gene only played in 15 games with the Blues before being part of a big package heading to Broadway. The Rangers acquired Gene along with Jim Lorentz and Wayne Connelly for Jack Egers, Andre Dupont and Mike Murphy. For the next two seasons he was rarely used on the Rangers, although he gained a measure of fame in 1972 when he shadowed and shut down Montreal's Yvan Cournoyer during a playoff series.

The Rangers moved Gene to Los Angeles for a 1st round draft pick halfway through the 1973-74 season. That draft pick turned out to be Ron Duguay. Gene however continued to be cast in a minor role, mostly penalty killing, for the following 4 years in Los Angeles.

Perhaps in LA he was better known as a friend of Eagles Glenn Frey than for his on ice accomplishments. Frey sometimes wore Carr's #12 jersey while on stage and reportedly wrote the song "New Kid In Town" with Carr in mind.

"Glenn used to call me 'Hockey Hollywood,'" said Carr. "I've never really said much about (the song). From what I went through, it seemed normal."

Just 5 games into the 1977-78 season Gene was moved with Dave Schultz and a draft pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for Syl Apps and Hartland Monahan. Gene welcomed the move.

"All I want is some ice time and a fair shake" he said.

Gene finally got the break he wanted in Pittsburgh. He finished the year as a regular player, and chipped in with 17 goals (plus 2 more previously with LA) and 56 points.

Gene became a free agent at the conclusion of that season and signed on with the Atlanta Flames. He probably should have stayed in Pittsburgh, as he really struggled in Atlanta. He had just 3 goals and 11 points in 30 games, and spent half of the season in the minor leagues. That proved to be his final professional season.

Carr may be remembered as a draft bust, but his career really was derailed by injuries. In 1973 he suffered serious injuries in a taxi cab accident. He also missed much of the 1975-76 season due to surgery to remove fluid build up on his spine. The back pain would ultimately claim his career.

Carr returned to Hollywood after his playing days were done and worked as a transportation coordinator at Universal Studios.

2 comments:

Janice November 6, 2011 at 1:34 PM  

I loved to watch Gene Carr play hockey - especially when his team(s) played against Montreal. He definitely was evenly teamed against Yvan Cournoyer...his blonde curls would be bouncing as he soared on the ice. And, he was very adroit as a Center or Left Wing and couldn't be pushed around... if he got pushed into the boards, you could bet there would be retaliation! He wasn't just a "pretty face" - he could scrap with the best of them! And, to his credit... he was one of the few hockey players to play his whole career and walk away with all of his teeth intact!! Love ya, Geno! Your friend, Janice

mooloy November 30, 2011 at 5:33 PM  

I shared a few classes with Gene in junior high school in Nanaimo B.C. He was one of the friendliest individuals I had ever met; I genuine nice guy. He lived across the street from the Civic Arena and seemed always to be on the ice. His dad (Red) had a gas station on the corner in front of the arena and when not operating it, was sharpening skates. On Friday nights the arena was open to the public for skating and everybody would skate counter-clockwise and Gene would be blowing past and weaving through everybody with incredible speed and grace. I was so excited when he became a high draft pick and followed his career with great interest. I recall him scoring a goal for the Rangers in a playoff series with Montreal. He swooped in, undressing the defense, and wristed a beautiful shot past the goaltender. He got an amazing standing ovation from the crowd; the broadcasters embellishing the suggestion that he looked like Bobby Hull with his long blond hair. I bumped into Gene when he visited Nanaimo many years later and he said that he had married the beautiful daughter of a Mercedes dealer in Los Angeles. It's nice to see him acknowledged on this website. It's so easy to be forgotten these days. I hope everything is still going well for a great individual.
George.

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