Alumni Reunion: Ron Duguay
All-Star center played for the Red Wings from 1983-86
Do you keep in touch with any of your former Red Wings teammates? If so, who?
I don’t stay in touch on a regular basis. It’s just whenever I run into them and I’m going to be spending a lot of time with Bobby Probert and the reason is him and I are doing a reality show – Battle of the Blades.
Which of the current Red Wings is your favorite? And why?
I’m just trying to think – you pick one and then you leave some out. I can’t just name one – it was a handful of guys that I appreciated and enjoyed their friendship. That would be Steve Yzerman, Reed Larson, and John Ogrodnick.
What was your favorite memory as a Red Wing?
I enjoyed that whole experience of just playing on a really good line with Steve Yzerman and John Ogrodnick. We were one of the top lines in the NHL so I really enjoyed my time there for two years, playing with those two guys.
Which of the guys you played with was the toughest?
Physically? Joey Kocur and Bob Probert and Teddy Nolan. It was a physical toughness and a mental toughness – the willing to not back down and not be afraid.
Who was the funniest?
Barry Melrose. Just his sense of humor. You’ve seen what he’s doing in his work. He’s always making some sort of little funny remark about something and laughs at his own jokes.
Who had the biggest heart?
That would probably be Danny Gare, our captain. For a little man, he played like a real big guy.
What was your favorite restaurant in metro Detroit?
I don’t remember. It’s been a long time.
How has the NHL changed since you played?
It’s a lot less physical, a lot less intimidation going on. It’s more European hockey versus North American hockey.
Toughest team (other than the Red Wings) when you played?
Boy, we had the toughest team. I think it probably would still be the Philadelphia Flyers.
Who did you sit next to in the dressing room?
I don’t remember. I’m assuming it was Johnny O., but I don’t remember that. We sat pretty close as a line – myself, Stevie, and Johnny O. – we sat pretty close together.
What do you love most about the game?
Well, I get an opportunity to do what I love to do when I do the best as an athlete and that’s playing hockey. Just an opportunity to play hockey plus I get to do it in front of an audience that appreciates you. I love getting a response out of just playing, scoring a goal. I love that interaction between me and the fans and me and my teammates.
Who had the greatest influence on your career?
Probably watching Bobby Orr because of his style and how he dominated and how he controlled the puck. I really enjoyed how he would go make these end-to-end rushes. He just stood out more than anyone else. I loved his skating style. I loved how smooth he was.
What advice would you give to kids playing today?
It’s something that I go through with my son now. If you are serious about wanting to be a hockey player at a high level, you’ve got to put the time in to getting bigger, stronger, and faster. A lot of that is sacrifices that you make in the summer time: doing extra, training a little harder, doing your pushups, doing your sit-ups. There are so many kids who want to do that same thing that you’ve got to find a way to get an edge on your opponent.