Colton Orr's father more than a hockey dad

Colton Orr shares some laughs with a bunch of minor league hockey players. (Jack Boland/QMI AGENCY)

Colton Orr shares some laughs with a bunch of minor league hockey players. (Jack Boland/QMI AGENCY)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:18 PM ET

There was a time when Doug Orr thought his muscular son Colton might have played for the Raptors or TFC, not the Maple Leafs.

Like any good father, Doug kept Colton involved in many sports as a life and fitness lesson. But Colton didn’t put on a pair of skates until age 11 and never did Doug expect him to morph into one of the NHL’s premier heavyweights and valued fourth liners.

“I put him into all sports, football, basketball, soccer to give him a taste,” Doug said Friday, as he watched practice with 19 other Leafs dads at the Mastercard Centre before their trip to Montreal. “He was actually good at all of them. But hockey ... he just didn’t want to do it. And one day I said do you want to skate just to be out there with your buddies? He said ‘why not?’ and it went from there.”

Doug played basketball for the semi-pro St. Andrews Super Saints in Winnipeg. He was a 6-foot-2 guard and not overtly physical. Colton, he says: “Just evolved” into a pugilist who could play.

“When he was a 16-year-old in the Manitoba Jr. League, they got rid of the 20-year-old tough guy on his team. I asked the GM why and he said: ‘Because we have your kid’. You sort of don’t realize it until they start doing it that he has a knack for it. He has done okay. But he’s a very humble kid, a man of few words. Always been that way.

“We say he gets his toughness from his mother (Mollianne, whom Doug assures is actually a sweet natured health care worker).”

Doug’s proudest moment was when Colton first made the NHL with the Boston Bruins. Doug was a huge Bruins fan and though no relation to Bobby Orr, shared the same first name as Orr’s father. As a player agent, Bobby wound up representing Colton.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Doug said. “You go to their building in Boston, you see the Orr banner and think: ‘Holy smokes, how did this work out so well?”

Colton was traded to the Rangers for a few years and just played his 100th game as a Leaf, never missing a start.

The fathers came from far and wide on Friday, Yury Grabovski all the way from Belarus, long-bearded Barry Brown from his Harley Davidson dealership in Chicago and Bjorn Gunnarsson from Sweden. There was to be a team dinner on Friday in Montreal where coach Ron Wilson, whose father passed away when he was in the NHL, hoped to get each family member to share a funny hockey related story with the group.

“I want our players to appreciate their dads,” Wilson said. “And at the end of the day, to thank them, because they wouldn’t be here making the money they do and the experiences they’ve had, without the support of their parents.”

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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