When Al Secord drove to the net he did it with determination. The former Blackhawks forward was known for combining a scoring touch with toughness and when he got to the net, he was happy to do one or the other.
“If he wasn’t scoring a goal and someone was cross-checking him, he was getting into a fight with that guy,” Troy Murray recalled. “That was the mentality. ‘If I’m going to the front of the net and if you want to try and move me out, I’m going to fight you. I’ll show you you’re not going to be able to do that.’ And for the defenseman who didn’t want to try and move him out, that’s why he scored 40, 50 goals on a regular basis for a couple of years.”
Secord hurt teams with points and punches. In the 1981-82 season he recorded 44 goals and 303 penalty minutes; the next season he had 53 goals and 180 minutes. He was a great compliment to line mates Denis Savard and Steve Larmer in his playing days and on Sunday night he was the latest to be honored by the Blackhawks’ One More Shift.
In his playing days Secord, who Murray called, “the ultimate team guy,” was all about having the right level of dislike for the enemy. So much so that if he saw opposing players at a bar, be it on the road or at home, he wouldn’t go into that establishment.
“I never wanted to get to know the opposing side and I remember hearing that from Gordie Howe, actually, watching him as a kid,” Secord said. “It’s true. I’m the type of guy, if I become your friend, it’s much more difficult to do your job.”
As much as Secord enjoyed his first career he’s loving his second one, too. Secord has been a pilot with American Airlines for many years now – he’s been a captain for the past two years – and he plans on doing it for at least a few more years.
“Not that I’m a control freak but you are in more control and you can control the atmosphere,” Secord said with a laugh. “I work with so many enjoyable people and there are 50 ways to do the same job. We just have a serious attitude as far as getting the job done but we make it a pleasant atmosphere. So I really like it. Right now the [retirement] age is 65 so I potentially have another five years plus to keep the job. We’ll see how that works out.”
Secord is firmly ensconced in his current career, which has been very rewarding. But many will always remember him as the Blackhawks forward who, one way or another, was going to punish you.
“He was the prototypical forward you wanted to have who could score goals and would do anything he needed to do to defend his team,” Murray said. “I loved him as a teammate. To me Al will go down as one of the toughest guys the Blackhawks had in the history of their franchise and one of the best goal-scorers, too.”