(Born October 2, 1948) -- Whenever Don Luce sets foot in Western New York in Erie County, someone probably says “Loooooose” to him. He’ll always be a favorite here.
Luce played his junior hockey in nearby Kitchener and had 94 points in 54 games in his final season there. That’s pretty good for a “defensive forward.” Luce came up through the Rangers’ organization at the start of his NHL career.
Then the center went to the Red Wings, and was part of one of the Sabres’ all-time great trades: Luce and Mike Robitaille for Joe Daley. The forward became a great two-way player, a top penalty-killer who also more than 25 goals five times as a Sabre.
Luce was traded to the Los Angeles Kings late in his career, and he actually finished as a Toronto Maple Leaf. He was such a smart player on the ice, that he figured to move into an NHL front office when he was done.
That’s exactly what he did, working in scouting and personnel for the Sabres for several years. He moved on to the Flyers’ organization in 2006.
--- Budd Bailey