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Duncan MacPherson (February 3, 1966 – August 9, 1989) was a professional ice hockey player who died under mysterious circumstances. He was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewanmarker. A standout defensive defenceman for the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, MacPherson was drafted in the first round, 20th overall, of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. He played minor league hockey for the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League and the Indianapolis Ice of the International Hockey League.


In the summer of 1989 he was going to Europe to possibly take a job as a player-coach for a hockey team in Dundeemarker, Scotlandmarker, and he went on a solo vacation around Europe in August, 1989, before taking up the position. He was scheduled to arrive in Dundee on August 12. When he did not show up, his family went to look for him. His rental car was discovered six weeks later in the parking lot of the Stubaier Gletscher resort in the Stubai Alpsmarker in Austria, where he had rented a snowboard and taken lessons. He was last seen late in the afternoon of August 9 on the chairlift.

An account has him departing on foot alone, at night, into treachorous, icy wilderness that was unfamilar to him. How could a Canadian person who had lived through many cold winters not realize the danger of such a choice? Some speculate it was his way of committing suicide. The prideful former first round draft choice was certainly disheartened by the realization that he would never live his dream. In fact, he would never play even a single shift in the NHL. He would never experience the fame and the big money he was once so sure would be his. He had been released by the New York Islanders, and no other team was interested in him. He was only 23 years old, but no big league club saw enough in him to merit giving him a spot on their minor league team. They all passed on him. Perhaps they felt the ankle and knee injuries he experienced - injuries that saw him miss a substantial number of games in the minor leagues - had accumulated to rob him of his agility. Maybe they were put off by his crazy stories of being recruited by the CIA to be a spy. He had been forced to go to Scotland to stay employed in hockey. He was facing a future of forever being known as a first round bust, a guy who had the talent and had been given the opportunity, but never made it. Or worse, a guy who blew it. He never gained size after being drafted. He didn't work hard enough in the weight room. He weighed only 195 pounds in the end, only a hair more than he did at age 18, and more importantly undersized for someone with aspirations of being an NHL defenceman. He was never able to shake his bad habit of taking undisciplined penalties that often gave power play opportunities to opposing teams.

In July, 2003, an employee of the resort discovered his perfectly-preserved body in melting snow.

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1982–83 Saskatoon Blades WHL 5 2 4 6 16 2 0 0 0 0
1983–84 Saskatoon Blades WHL 45 0 14 14 74
1984–85 Saskatoon Blades WHL 69 9 26 35 116 3 0 0 0 4
1985–86 Saskatoon Blades WHL 70 10 54 64 147 13 3 8 11 38
1986–87 Springfield Indians AHL 26 1 0 1 86
1987–88 Springfield Indians AHL 74 5 14 19 213
1988–89 Springfield Indians AHL 24 1 5 6 69
1988–89 Indianapolis Ice IHL 33 1 4 5 23
WHL totals 189 21 98 119 353 18 3 8 11 42
AHL totals 124 7 19 26 368

See also

External links

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