Dale Kushner

Hard work earned Dale Kushner his cup of NHL coffee.

Never drafted, Kushner was signed by the New York Islanders in 1987 after playing as an overaged junior with the Memorial Cup champion Medicine Hat Tigers. Kushner played a physical role and was a leader on one of the better junior teams in CHL history - sporting names like Trevor Linden, Mark Pederson and Mark Fitzpatrick.

Kushner was signed for depth purposes for the Islanders farm team as his age allowed him to immediately fill a hole in the Islanders farm team. Never expected to play in the NHL, Kushner went to work as a hard nosed left winger and a great forechecker. A bit of a late bloomer, Kushner showed above average skating ability and the occasional goal while playing a strong forechecking role in the minor leagues. An eager and intense player, he also developed a reputation as a great team player. He eventually was rewarded with a 2 game call up to Long Island in 1989-90.

His contract with the Islanders expired in the summer of 1990 and the Philadelphia Flyers eagerly signed Kushner. He immediately stepped into the Flyers roster, eagerly accepting a part time role as a scrappy 4th liner. He played very seldom during games but was thrown out and excelled at those 45 second chaos shifts meant to change the momentum of the game. Kushner readily jumped over the boards just a few times a night in order to bang anyone in sight, work the boards, pressure the puck carrier, and if possible pin the puck in the opposition zone to set up a faceoff in offensive territory. He would then return to the bench, but accomplished his job - to help inspire his teammates to play with the same intensity.

Kushner showed a willingness to mix it up in his time in the NHL, registering 195 PIM in his rookie year. He
also chipped in with 7 goals and 11 assists.

The Flyers were a pretty weak team in the early 1990s, and as their depth improved, Kushner soon lost his role and was returned to the minor leagues. He played in 19 games in 1991-92 - scoring 3 goals and 2 assists - but finished the year in the AHL. He spent the next 4 years in the minor leagues before retiring.

Kushner impressed at the pro level playing the same limited role be it in the NHL or minors.


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