Remembering Dave Semenko A Founding Member Of The Boys On The Bus
Dave Semenko passed away five years ago today at the much too young age of 59.
Upon hearing it, like many of you I was stunned and saddened.
Then I started to smile because Dave could always make me smile.
Like most of the legendary enforcers we have worked with over the years he was a fierce competitor on the ice and someone that worked hard to let you know that wasn't who he was off of it.
Dave was funny, really funny and he possessed a razor sharp dry sense of humor.
We worked with Dave Semenko more than any other athlete in our 33 years in business.
I regularly told him that he and Tim Hunter outsold Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky for us.
We own the iconic image that many believe epitomized The Battle of Alberta.
It was this image that brought us together so often over the years to have both Dave and Tim Hunter sign it. (Only once did we have them together when it was signed.)
This isn't my favorite image of Dave though.
In this large collection of 80's Oilers and Flames photography that we own I came across this fabulous shot of Dave's celebration of a Playoff goal against the Minnesota North Stars Don Beaupre.
He scored the 1st Goal of Game 1 in a 7-1 pummeling of the North Stars in the 84 Campbell Conference Finals on their way to capturing their first Stanley Cup
In 19 Playoff Games that spring Dave had 5 Goals and 5 Assists as well as 44 penalty minutes.(Dave could play!)
Unfortunately we did not have time to get it printed before Dave came in for his next signing. I vividly remember informing him that I had come across this image and explaining that it was a playoff goal and he stopped me from explaining the situation and deadpanned "Jack I didn't score that many goals I remember them all!"
In our current location we have a boardroom upstairs where we conduct private signings which allows us to stay open during the private sessions. The window opening is not closed off so you can hear what is happening in the Fan Cave below.
This private signing was September 24, 2013 and Dave was in to sign pucks, photos, send in items and of course more of The Battle of Alberta image. We had a guest in the Fan Cave that clearly was an Oilers fan and like many of the people that come in was in full debate on all things hockey. I was upstairs with Dave and my brother Ken doing the signing but we could hear everything that was being said.
This was during the training camp of the 2013-14 season, on the heels of the 7th straight season out of the playoffs for the Oil. People can get pretty animated discussing their views either pro or con about the team. This was the case with this particular guest and he was pretty fired up about all things Oilers. He must have been looking at one of the many Semenko images we offer and he said loudly and almost disgustingly "DAVE SEMENKO!"
Ken and I looked at each other panicked thinking c'mon man please don't say anything bad about the man that is sitting in our boardroom signing. (Dave kept his head down and continued to sign.) The Pro Am team member helping this guest fully aware of who was upstairs nervously said "What about Dave?"
The guest exclaims loudly "Dave Semenko Was One Tough Son Of A Bitch That Could Play and that's exactly what the Oilers don't have right now!"
Relieved does not describe how Ken and I felt. We quickly looked at Dave and he looked up at us and didn't say a word and gave us a HUGE smile. He put his head down and went right back to signing.
Dave Semenko was a very good person, that just happened to play hockey too.
Rest In Peace Dave you are truly missed.