Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Bill Root
Throughout Bill Root's career in hockey, he always seemed to play under a cloud of doubt tinged with some vague, amorphous sense that he might not make it wherever he was.

He was coach Hap Emms' 21st choice to join the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA in 1976, suggesting that he wasn't completely sure about Root's staying power. During training camp, the young recruit cracked the blade on one of his skates. He told Emms about his problem and the coach directed him to a service station across the street where he could have it welded. Root of course knew that such a repair was impossible, so he skated like a demon through training camp on his broken blade. When he finally made the team, Emms bought him a new set of wheels.

Root skated for three successful seasons in Niagara Falls but was never selected in the NHL draft. The Montreal Canadiens, however, although unsure, signed him as a free agent in 1979. Root was immediately assigned to the Canadiens' AHL affiliate, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs. There he toiled for three seasons with hardly a hope of cracking the Canadiens' all-powerful defensive corps led by Larry Robinson and Rod Langway.

But Root had a number attributes that seemed to be often overlooked during his ins and outs with the NHL. He played like a guy who would do the job for nothing. He was also a very steady, stay-at-home type who always played the man and could move the puck up ice to good effect.

Such attributes, however, weren't enough to earn Root a permanent home with the Habs. He did manage to eke out one full season in 1983-84, but then the arrival of Chris Chelios, Tom Kurvers, and Petr Svoboda made him expendable. As a result, he was dispatched to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the start of the 1984-85 campaign.

In the Blue and White, Root had some initial success while paired with Chris Kotsopoulos. But untimely injuries and occasional trials with the team's management seemed to always undermine any momentum Root could manage to sustain. As a rearguard who always played a sound, physical game, he was baffled to have been sent to the minors by Leafs' coach John Brophy because he wasn't sufficiently aggressive.

In the end, Root languished in the Leafs' organization until 1987 when his rights were bandied around the league, making stops in Hartford, St. Louis, and, finally, Philadelphia where he concluded his NHL career at the end of the 1987-88 season. He was then reacquired by the Leafs, who kept him with the Newmarket Saints of the AHL until his retirement from hockey in 1990-91.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1975-76 Don Mills Flyers MTHL 46 6 39 45 102
1976-77 Niagara Falls Flyers OMJHL 66 3 19 22 114
1977-78 Niagara Falls Flyers OMJHL 67 6 11 17 61
1978-79 Niagara Falls Flyers OMJHL 67 4 31 35 119 20 4 7 11 42
1979-80 Nova Scotia Voyageurs AHL 55 4 15 19 57 6 1 1 2 2
1980-81 Nova Scotia Voyageurs AHL 63 3 12 15 76 6 0 1 1 2
1981-82 Nova Scotia Voyageurs AHL 77 6 25 31 105 9 1 0 1 4
1982-83 Montreal Canadiens NHL 46 2 3 5 24 +5
1982-83 Nova Scotia Voyageurs AHL 24 0 7 7 29
1983-84 Montreal Canadiens NHL 72 4 13 17 45 +26
1984-85 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 35 1 1 2 23 -25
1984-85 St. Catharines Saints AHL 28 5 9 14 10
1985-86 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 27 0 1 1 29 -8 7 0 2 2 13
1985-86 St. Catharines Saints AHL 14 7 4 11 11
1986-87 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 34 3 3 6 37 -9 13 1 0 1 12
1986-87 Newmarket Saints AHL 32 4 11 15 23
1987-88 St. Louis Blues NHL 9 0 0 0 6 -7
1987-88 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 24 1 2 3 16 +3 2 0 0 0 0
1988-89 Newmarket Saints AHL 66 10 22 32 39 5 0 0 0 18
1989-90 Newmarket Saints AHL 47 8 7 15 20
1990-91 Newmarket Saints AHL 36 2 4 6 39
NHL Totals 247 11 23 34 180 22 1 2 3 25


Signed as a free agent by Montreal, October 4, 1979. Traded to Toronto by Montreal with Montreal's 2nd round pick (Darryl Shannon) in 1986 NHL Draft for Dom Campedelli, August 21, 1984. Traded to Hartford by Toronto for Dave Semenko, September 8, 1987. Claimed by St. Louis from Hartford in Waiver Draft, October 5, 1987. Claimed on waivers by Philadelphia from St. Louis, November 26, 1987. Traded to Toronto by Philadelphia for Mike Stothers, June 21, 1988.
Surname(s) beginning with