After 9 NHL seasons including, 6 with our beloved Leafs, Colton Orr has announced his retirement today.
Known as ‘The Sheriff’ to many Leafs fans, Orr epitomized the true heavy weight enforcers during some of the toughest years in the NHL. The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba accrued an incredible 1186 PIMs over his time in the NHL but more astounding was the 239 in a single season that he had with the Leafs in his first season after being acquired from the Rangers. He stood in a 6’3″ and 225 pounds, by no means the biggest of men but as nasty as they came. Style? Trade punches until somebody went down, and it wasn’t very often that Orr was the one on the ice.
Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren formed the nastiest one-two punch, of fighters that patrolled the ice in the NHL at time. Can anybody forget that 6-0 mockery in Montreal? Leading the way….Orr and McLaren.
Orr handled EVERYBODY in the NHL, the battles with Terry Carkner becoming legendary at the time. It was a time of swagger when the Leafs didn’t have a lot to be cocky about. In fact, I recall Nazem Kadri on Coaches Corner lauding the fact the Leafs had those two tough guys creating space and confidence for the rest of the team. People forget things like that very quickly.
Also, this was the last time the Leafs were in the playoffs.
The only thing Colton Orr could be considered guilty of, was allowing Deryk Engelland up off the mat when he had him dead to rights in Pittsburgh that fateful night. Orr was handling business as usual and it looked like he had crumpled Engelland. Backing off, Orr let his guard down and then it happend. Engelland caught Orr handing him his first knockout and concussion that could be recalled at the time.
Orr was never quite the same after that fight. This fan cringed each and every time he fought after that especially with the monster battles with George Parros. The both inflicted significant damage on each other, and it was at that point the voices around hockey started to get extremely loud, their fights splashed all over the media and a call for a removal of heavyweight and staged fighting occurred.
The NHL listened.
Colton Orr was eventually demoted to the Marlies and played out his career in Stockton of the AHL.
I will let you fans recount the stories, the videos, and his value with the Leafs.
I will simply thank Colton ‘The Sheriff’ Orr for every fight, every hit and the odd goal that he provided to the Leafs Organization. There is no tougher job in sports, part of me still misses a big fight, but will never miss a guy crumpled in a heap after getting knocked out by a 6’5 , 250 pound monster. Its just not worth it.
Enjoy your retirement, Colton. You truly deserve it.