Date of Birth: 1942
Place of Birth: Botwood, NL
Inducted: 2005 (Player Category)
Bob Dean’s exceptional hockey ability provided him with the opportunity to play junior hockey with a very large number of National Hockey League players including the great Bobby Orr, when Orr was an all-star defenseman despite the fact that he was only 14 years old. Dean enjoyed tremendous personal and team successes from local junior hockey through a rewarding Ontario Junior Hockey career to provincial senior hockey during a 14-year career.
From his pre-school days in Botwood, Bob Dean began to learn the skills and talents that made him one of the finest hockey players the province has ever produced. Paying and practicing on any ice surface that was available, from a very early age he displayed the hockey prowess that earned him a draft to the best junior hockey in the world.
After an impressive minor and school hockey career, he played with the Botwood junior club and continuously displayed a great scoring ability. In the third period of a game against Bishop Falls, he scored seven goals during a plan of 13 minutes and four seconds, as well as earning 2 assists. He joined the Grand Falls Junior Jays, won the Vietch Memorial Trophy as provincial junior champions and was successfully scouted by the Detroit Red Wings.
Detroit’s junior farm team Hamilton Red Wings emerged as Canada’s national junior hockey champions for the 1961-62 season and winners of the historic Memorial Cup. Bob Dean skated with the champions who included future National hockey league players Larry Jefferies, Howie Menard, Pit Martin, Paul Henderson, Lowell MacDonald, Ron Harris, Jimmy Peters, Bryan Campbell, Wayne River and Roger Lafreniere.
He was the first of only three Newfoundlanders to have their name engraved on the Memorial Cup, Canada’s top junior hockey prize. Bob Dean played a major role in Hamilton’s victory over the Western Hockey League champions, the Edmonton Oilers. Hamilton won the Ontario crown for the trip to the national fields.
The Memorial Cup victory was for the final season that the original Cup was up for competition because all the spaces on the championship shields had been filled. The Cup went to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto soon after the finals.
From Hamilton, Bob Dean moved to the Toronto Marlboros at the start of the 1962-63 season and had Ronnie Ellis, who was a long time Toronto Maple Leaf as a teammate. Mid-way through the season he was traded to Oshawa.
Dean was tagged by many as a great NHL prospect and after his final junior season was offered a contract with Weyburn, Saskatchewan of the Western Senior League but instead played with New Haven of the East Coast Hockey League prior to attending an electronic school in Toronto. He had a tryout with the Canadian national team that stretched over a couple of years. Back in Botwood in 1969 he played for the senior Grand Falls Team for three provincial seasons.