Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Terry Ruskowski
Although not very big, Terry Ruskowski played hockey like a fire hydrant capable of starting its own fires. He'd stir things up with his feisty, truculent play and then stand by the door, ready to trade punches with any willing adversary.

During his junior career, he was a standout forward who excelled at setting up goals and winning fights. And although drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, the club showed only a luke-warm interest in their prospect. They sent him a letter informing him of their plan to start his pro career in Dallas of the CHL.

Ruskowski and fellow Hawk prospect Rich Preston held their minor-league offers up against a chance to skate with the Howe family of the WHA's Houston Aeros and the Houston offer was the only one left standing.

Over the next four seasons, Ruskowksi developed into one of the Aeros' top forwards. Although a somewhat slow skater, he had a knack for controlling the puck and setting up scoring chances. And according to his buddy, Rich Preston, he never lost a fight in the WHA.

In 1978-79, the Winnipeg Jets absorbed the Aeros. There, Preston and Ruskowski were instrumental in leading their team to the final Avco Cup ever awarded. When the WHA merged into the NHL, the Hawks took a much greater interest in Ruskowski. They even gave up their rights to Bobby Hull in order to secure him along with Preston.

Ruskowski's leadership and work ethic soon became very apparent in the Hawks' camp. When Keith Magnuson went down with a prolonged injury, "Roscoe," as he was known, became the team's captain. While with the club, he joined Preston and Grant Mulvey to form the RPM Line.

In 1982, Ruskowski was traded to the L.A. Kings where he played for parts of three seasons. He then signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the Pens, he put in two solid season before signing as a free agent with the Minnesota North Stars. The North Stars brought in Ruskowski and Basil McRae to bulk up for the next round of the "Chuck Norris" Division battles. At that time, all of the Norris Division rivals had a large arsenal of toughs on hand to scrap first and play hockey afterward.

In such a climate and at the age of 33, Ruskowski grew weary of his pugilistic role. Exchanging punches with a bunch of twenty-something upstarts no longer held any appeal. As such, he retired after the start of the 1988-89 campaign


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1971-72 Swift Current Broncos WCJHL 67 13 38 51 177
1972-73 Swift Current Broncos WCJHL 53 25 64 89 136
1973-74 Swift Current Broncos WCJHL 68 40 93 133 243 13 5 23 28 23
1974-75 Houston Aeros WHA 71 10 36 46 134 13 4 2 6 15
1975-76 Houston Aeros WHA 65 14 35 49 100 16 6 10 16 64
1976-77 Houston Aeros WHA 80 24 60 84 146 11 6 11 17 67
1977-78 Houston Aeros WHA 78 15 57 72 170 4 1 1 2 5
1978-79 Winnipeg Jets WHA 75 20 66 86 211 8 1 12 13 23
1979-80 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 74 15 55 70 252 +7 4 0 0 0 22
1980-81 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 72 8 51 59 225 -19 3 0 2 2 11
1981-82 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 60 7 30 37 120 -13 11 1 2 3 53
1982-83 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 5 0 2 2 12 0
1982-83 Los Angeles Kings NHL 71 14 30 44 127 -16
1983-84 Los Angeles Kings NHL 77 7 25 32 89 -24
1984-85 Los Angeles Kings NHL 78 16 33 49 144 +2 3 0 2 2 0
1985-86 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 73 26 37 63 162 +10
1986-87 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 70 14 37 51 145 +8
1987-88 Minnesota North Stars NHL 47 5 12 17 76 -15
1988-89 Minnesota North Stars NHL 3 1 1 2 2 +1
1989-1991 Saskatoon Blades WHL
1991-1994 Columbus Chill ECHL
1994-1996 Houston Aeros IHL
1996-1999
1999-2001 Knoxville Speed UHL
NHL Totals 630 113 313 426 1354 21 1 6 7 86


Selected by Houston (WHA) in 1974 WHA Amateur Draft, May, 1974. Traded to Winnipeg (WHA) by Houston (WHA) for cash, July, 1978. Reclaimed by Chicago from Winnipeg prior to Expansion Draft, June 9, 1979. Traded to Los Angeles by Chicago for Larry Goodenough and Los Angeles's 3rd round pick (Trent Yawney) in 1984 NHL Draft, October 24, 1982. Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh, October 3, 1985. Signed as a free agent by Minnesota, July, 1987.
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