Ron Busniuk

Ron Busniuk was a small (5'11", 180 pounds) but abrasive defenseman who starred at every level he played. He only got into a total of 6 NHL games, all with the Sabres, before jumping to hockey's other major league - the World Hockey Association.

Ron was one of the few players who graduated from a hockey program at a United States university in the late 1960s and went on to play in the National Hockey League. Born and raised in Fort William, Ontario, Ron played junior hockey in the Montreal Canadiens system until 1967 when he began attending the University of Minnesota Duluth. Before he graduated he would become a collegiate all star. He would later be inducted into the university's sports hall of fame.

Ron turned pro in 1970, playing two years of minor professional hockey with Montreal's farm teams in the American Hockey League. Though the Canadiens liked his aggressive play, his lack of size caused the Canadiens experimented with playing Ron on right wing.

The Buffalo Sabres acquired Ron in the summer of 1972 in a cash deal. Ron reported to the Sabres AHL farm team in Cincinnati where he was returned to the blue line and was a standout. Ron scored 5 goals and 39 points while accumulating 205 penalty minutes and first team all star status. He also made his NHL debut that season. In one game with the Sabres he tried his best to make an impression, picking up 9 minutes in penalties.

Ron returned to Cincinnati in 1973-74, but did get called up for 5 games with the Sabres. This time he tried to impress the Sabres brass with more than just his tenacity, as he set up 3 goals.

The Sabres lost Ron's playing rights in the summer of 1974. He was claimed by the Detroit Red Wings in an intra-league draft, but it mattered not as Ron opted to use his free agency status to sign on with the World Hockey Association.

He would play with three WHA teams until his retirement in 1978. Initially he returned to Minnesota where he was one of a number of rambunctious players on the Fighting Saints. He spent a year and half there before signing on with the New England Whalers and finished his career with a year and a half with the Edmonton Oilers, where he served as an alternate captain.

Ron, brother of former Philadelphia Flyer Mike Busniuk, scored 9 goals and 73 points in 286 WHA games. He had 3 assists in 6 NHL games with the Sabres.


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