He may have only been a full-time resident of Prince George for six years, but Darcy Rota says B.C.’s Northern Capital can take some of the credit for his success.
Over an 11-year NHL career, Darcy scored more than 250 goals for the Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Flames and Vancouver Canucks. In 1982 he helped the Canucks to the Stanley Cup final, where they met the New York Islanders dynasty on their way to their third consecutive championship.
“The biggest goal I ever scored in my life was the goal to make it 4-2 in Game 5 against Chicago (in the Campbell Conference Final). “That, by far, is the highlight of my life in hockey.”
And for Darcy, it all started in Prince George.
Arriving here from Kelowna at age 11, he was a “good house league player.” The last player cut from the rep team in his first year of bantams, Darcy made the traveling squad the following year and would go on to captain the Prince George midgets to a provincial championship. His next step was the captaincy of the junior B Texaco Chiefs before moving on to the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. He would star with the Oil Kings, scoring a league-leading 73 goals in 68 games in 1972-73 (out-scoring Lanny MacDonald, Tom Lysiak, Dennis Sobchuk and Blaine Stoughton in the process). That summer he was drafted 13th overall by the ‘Hawks and the rest, as they say, is history.
“I really believe very strongly I would not have made the National Hockey League if not for my years in Prince George. I was very proud to be a resident of Prince George.”
Darcy is still on the front lines of hockey. The inaugural coach of the expansion Burnaby Bulldogs of the B C Hockey League, Darcy brings the same enthusiasm to the rink as a mentor as he did when he played. He says there are five basic ingredients to a good hockey team: accountability to each other, trust, commitment, work ethic and fun. Those five things describe his playing career.
“I would never expect something from them (his Bulldog players) that I wouldn’t expect from myself.”
Darcy Rota has proven himself a top-notch athlete and sportsman. His on-ice and off-ice accomplishments make him an ideal addition to the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame.