More than 30 years ago, when Dave Poulin was skating for the Dixie Beehives junior club in Mississauga, he couldn’t get a single NHL team interested in drafting him.
Today, he’s found a new home with one of the league’s most historic clubs.
The Star has learned that Poulin, 50, will be announced at 10 a.m. today as the new vice-president of player development for the Maple Leafs, essentially moving into the third slot in the Leaf executive lineup behind president/GM Brian Burke and his right-hand man, Dave Nonis.
Poulin fills a hole in the Leafs front office left by the departure of Joe Nieuwendyk earlier in the summer to become GM of the Dallas Stars. Burke has repeatedly said he expects Nonis will be scooped up by another NHL team as a GM next summer, so the hiring of Poulin fills a need for a succession plan.
A native of Timmins, Poulin eventually parlayed a scholarship at the University of Notre Dame into a tryout with the Philadelphia Flyers after a brief stint in Sweden. It was one of the best signings the Flyers ever made, as Poulin went on to captain the club and won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward in 1987. In all, he played 13 years in the NHL as an industrious, checking centre, including playing for Boston and Washington.
After retirement, he ran the Fighting Irish hockey program for a decade, and in recent years has split time working for a headhunting firm in Chicago and doing part-time scouting work for the Anaheim Ducks.