Defensemen John Slaney of St. John’s enjoyed an exceptional hockey career that included outstanding junior performances, record setting American Hockey League seasons and a rewarding National Hockey League career. While playing for the Cornwall Royals of the Ontario Hockey League for just over three seasons between 1988 and 1992, he accumulated 94 goals, 168 assists for 262 points and was named Canadian Hockey League Defenseman of the Year and the Ontario Hockey League Most Outstanding Defenseman for the 1989-90 season. The highlight of his junior career came as a member of Canada’s National team when he scored the dramatic game-winning goal against Russia to secure the 1991 World Junior hockey title.
Slaney was a first-round draft pick by the Washington Capitals in 1990 and went on to play in 268 NHL games with Washington, Colorado, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Nashville and the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 24 goals with 70 assists for 94 points. In his American Hockey League Debut in 1992 with the Baltimore Skipjacks, Slaney picked up a goal and an assist. He went on to play in 693 American Hockey League games with Baltimore, Portland, Cornwall, Wilkes-Barrie, and Philadelphia scoring 166 goals with 353 assists for 519 career AHL Points, which were all career records for an AHL Defenseman at time of his last game. Slaney was voted the AHL top defensemen for the 2000-2001 and 2001-2003 seasons, winning the Eddie Shore trophy twice which is presented to the AHL’s best defenseman. He owns AHL records for points by a rookie with 20 goals and 46 assists for 66 points with the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1992-1993, as well as the most career goals by a defenseman at 166, and most goals in one season with 30 in 1999-2000. Slaney was the first defensemen in AHL history to record 500 career points. He was named all-star four times and was team captain of the AHL All-Star Classic held in St. John’s in 2002. Slaney, who finished his playing career in Europe, returned to the AHL as an assistant coach with the Portland Pirates in 2011. He is a member of the American Hockey League’s Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame in 2017.