Doug Mohns, a durable and versatile skater who lasted 22 seasons in the National Hockey League, playing in seven all-star games, died on Feb. 7 in Reading, Mass. He was 80.
The cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone-marrow disorder, said his wife, Tabor Ansin Mohns.
For most of his career, which extended from 1953 to 1975, Mr. Mohns was a stalwart of the old, compact NHL – when there were only six franchises, rivalries were especially intense, no one wore a helmet and players were intimately acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of players on every other club.
He played 11 seasons for the Boston Bruins and had his most productive period in Chicago, playing for the Black Hawks (now the Blackhawks), before finishing his career in the era of expansion with the Minnesota North Stars, the Atlanta Flames and the Washington Capitals.
Agile, swift and sturdy on the ice – his nickname was Diesel – and tough to separate from the puck once he controlled it, Mr. Mohns could play both as a wing on the front line and on defence. When he retired, he was in the career top 10 in regular-season games played, with 1,390. (He is still in the top 40.)
Though not primarily a scorer, he was, in the early 1950s, among the first wave of players to adopt the slapshot, and in four of his seven seasons with Chicago, he scored more than 20 goals, often skating on the left wing with Stan Mikita at centre and Ken Wharram on the right, a combination known as the scooter line.
In his recent book Forever a Blackhawk, Mr. Mikita recalled fondly the days when they shared the ice. “Mohns could really skate, he could move the puck, and he had a terrific shot. After the three of us became a line during the 1964-65 season – Kenny on the right wing and me at centre – all of us thrived. For the next four years, each of us had at least 20 goals. I don’t believe there were any other NHL lines that could match that.”
Over his career, he scored 248 regular-season goals and had 462 assists.
Douglas Allen Mohns was born on Dec. 13, 1933, in Capreol, Ont., where his father worked for a railway. He was a gifted skater from an early age; according to his website, he was offered a contract with the Ice Capades when he was seven.
He began playing organized hockey at age 14, became a Canadian junior hockey star with the Barrie Flyers and ascended to the Bruins when he was 19. He scored in his first game, a victory over the Montreal Canadiens (outplaying the Canadiens’ heralded young star Jean Béliveau, according to a New York Times report), though he would have limited good luck against Montreal from then on. He never played on a Stanley Cup winner, but he played in the finals three times, in 1957 and 1958 with Boston and in 1965 with Chicago, losing to the Canadiens each time.
Mr. Mohns’s previous marriage to Jane Foster ended with her death in 1988. In addition to his wife, he leaves a sister, Erma Wilson; a son, Douglas Jr.; a daughter, Andrea Brillaud; a stepson, Greg Ansin; a stepdaughter, Lisa Ansin; and nine grandchildren.
Mr. Mohns was the first of two members of the 1960s Chicago Black Hawks to die recently. His former teammate Doug Jarrett, a defenceman, died on Feb. 10.
After his retirement, Mr. Mohns worked in the human resources department at New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Woburn, Mass. At his death, his home was in Bedford, Mass.
Anyone who lasts for decades in the NHL can take care of himself on the ice, and Mr. Mohns was no exception. He spent 1,250 minutes – not quite a full day – in the penalty box and was not averse to throwing a punch. In 1957, still playing with the Bruins, he had his jaw broken by an opponent, Ian Cushenan of the Black Hawks, and he was out for several weeks. Mr. Cushenan had taken umbrage after he dropped his stick on the ice and Mr. Mohns kept kicking it out of his reach.
“That made me sore,” Mr. Cushenan said, “and I slugged him.”