Maxville Hockey Hero Opens the 2023 Games

Provided by Glengarry Highland Games
Maxville Hockey Hero Opens the 2023 Games
(Photo : Nijmegen Devils Hockey Club)

This summer at the 2023 Glengarry Highland Games there might be as many hockey jerseys as kilts in the audience when the Games welcomes John Wensink as Guest of Honour.

Wensink joins an illustrious group of Canadian celebrities who have filled that role including Prime Ministers, a Governor General, an astronaut and other noted Canadian figures. Games President Eric Metcalfe relates, “We are so pleased that our Maxville lad, John Wensink, will officially open the Games this year. Just like the Glengarry Highland Games puts Maxville on the map for Scottish events, John put Maxville on the map by making it to the NHL.”

Although John Wensink retired from the NHL in 1983, his name and legend are still familiar to most people in this area and the hockey world at large. Born April 1, 1953 in Pincher Creek, Alberta to Dutch immigrants, George Wensink & Nellie Bleyenberg, John Wensink and his family moved to Maxville when he was two. Hockey soon became Wensink’s life as he moved from Youth to Junior B to Junior A hockey teams ending up with the Cornwall Royals and was part of that unforgettable team when they won the Memorial Cup in 1972. Drafted in 1973 to the St. Louis Blues, he soon moved to the Boston Bruins after a two year recovery from major back injuries. In Boston, he played on two Stanley Cup finals in 1976/77 and 1977/78. In total, he played 10 years in the NHL with stops in St. Louis, Boston, Quebec, Colorado and New Jersey totaling 403 games, notching 70 goals and 68 assists, while also amassing a whopping 840 penalty minutes.

He also played one year in the Netherlands after his NHL retirement in 1983.Wensink was a tough player respected by his teammates and coaches and was a favourite of fans with his afro hairstyle, Fu Manchu moustache and his antics as on-ice enforcer. During his period with Boston under coach Don Cherry, he made himself unforgettable for fans by challenging the entire Minnesota North Stars bench at a game in the Boston Gardens.

After retirement Wensink ran a renovation company in St Charles, Missouri and has been involved in coaching budding NHLers in Missouri resulting in five first round picks. John has been involved for 36 years bringing the Missouri Peewee team to the Quebec International Tournament. John also ran a summer hockey school right here in Maxville for a number of years. John has been inducted into the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.  The Children Treatment Centre in Cornwall roasted long time supporter John in 2013 and raised over $15000 that night that included a surprise visit by Don Cherry. John lives on a 670 acre ranch in Fredericktown, Missouri with his wife, Rhonda. His children, daughters Jaclyn and Katelyn, son-in-law Brian and grandchildren, Jack, Taylor and Jonas live nearby. Currently, although retired from the game, John Wensink continues to play hockey in a Sunday night men’s league.

The 2023 Glengarry Highland Games will be held August 4 and 5th in Maxville, Ontario. The Official Ceremonies with Guest of Honour, John Wensink, take place at noon hour on Saturday, August 5th.

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