HOK #106: Rod Zaine 

A photo of Rod Zaine holding up a picture of himself playing hockey against Gordie Howe and his sons Mark and Marty.
Former NHL and WHA player Rod Zaine holds a photo of himself playing hockey against Gordie Howe and his sons Mark and Marty. Photo by Ellen Bond.

“I was born in Ottawa and grew up in Overbrook. I left when I was 15 or 16 and went to Oshawa to play for the Oshawa Generals. I came back to go to university. I was going to go to RPI, but ended up going to Carleton, and I played Junior hockey, one year in Smith Falls. I turned professional and played in Baltimore, and after that I went to the National Hockey League (NHL), and played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Buffalo Sabres.

After that, I moved to the World Hockey Association (WHA) and played for the Chicago Cougars. That was the first year of the WHA, and the hockey was quite good. The Winnipeg team was as good as any team in hockey. They had Bobby Hull and Anders Hedburg, and Ulf Nilsson, and they were good players. The WHA gave more money to the guys and more guys became professional hockey players. In the WHA, I was able to play against Gordie Howe and his sons Mark and Marty. (The picture Rod is holding in his photo is an action shot of him and the three Howes). Gordie commanded great respect on the ice and if anyone messed with him or his sons, you heard about it. It was really strange going into the corner with one of the Howe boys and hearing them call “Dad! Dad! Pass me the puck!”

I also had the opportunity to travel to Moscow and play for Team Canada at a tournament against Russia, Sweden, Finland and a few other teams. Russia played all kinds of psychological tricks on us. They’d ring our rooms at three in the morning. They were masters of that. We stayed at the Metropol Hotel Moscow. I was staying with an older guy on the team and I’d get up and walk around Moscow without anyone is sight. Walked around Red Square and St Nicholas church. We got to go to the Bolshoi Theatre and saw the Nutcracker. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.” 

Story and photo collected by Ellen Bond. 

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