Dennis James "Sobby" Sobchuk - Born January 12, 1954 in Lang, Saskatchewan is a Canadian retired ice Hockey centre.
Sobchuk started his junior career with the Weyburn Red Wings in 1970 where he scored 56 goals and got the attention of the Regina Pats, who then traded 5 players to the New Westminster Bruins (Estevan Bruins) who had his playing rights.
Sobochuk delivered, as he again scored 56 goals (67 assists) and finished 5th in league scoring, won the 1972 Western Canada Hockey League / WCHL Rookie of the Year and voted to the WCHL All-Star second team. Regina lost in the President's Cup (Ed Chynoweth Cup) final.
Sobchuk scored 67 goals (80 assists) the next season for Regina, and was voted WCHL MVP 1972-73.
As a result, the World Hockey Association / WHA’s Cincinnati Stingers (Swords) successfully wooed the 19-year-old Sobchuk, signing him to a 10-year, $1.7 million contract that was to take effect after the 1973-74 campaign. He was now referred as the "Million Dollar Kid"
In his final year playing for the Regina Pats, Sobchuk scored 68 goals (78 assists) helping them win the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WCHL regular season champions and the 1974 President's Cup (Ed Chynoweth Cup). He was voted to the WCHL 1st All-Star Team (tied) at centre.
Sobchuk led the Pats in post-season scoring, with 10 goals and 31 points in 16 playoff games. In the 1974 Memorial Cup championship game, with Regina trailing 3-1 after the 1st period, coach Bob Turner ( 5 Stanley Cups) went into the Pats dressing room to have a fire-you-up pep talk with his team, instead, “Sobchuk got up and said, ‘You don’t have to say a word coach,' ‘We’re going to win this game,’ so coach Turner just turned around and walked out. The Pats went out and played like gangbusters.” Sobchuk scored 2 goals and 1 assist in the 2nd period, and another goal in the third for the hat-trick as the Pats won, 7-4. Sobchuk's goal at 15:52 of the 2nd period was the Memorial Cup championship goal. Some sources have Sobchuk winning the playoff mvp, but it was his teammate....Greg Joly that won the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy.
This was the 1st WCHL (WHL) franchise winner of a Memorial Cup championship.
Sobchuk was loaned to the World Hockey Association / WHA Phoenix Roadrunners for the 1974-75 season because the Stingers didn't have an arena in which to play until the 1975-76 season, and thats where he made his pro debut, scoring 32 goals (45 assists) for the Roadrunners. Sobchuk then played 2 seasons with the Stingers, scoring 76 goals, 92 assists. His 44 goals in 1976-77 earned him a spot in the 1977 WHA All Star Game.
Sobchuk started the 1977-78 season in a slump, as still recovering from shoulder surgery and was traded to the Edmonton Oilers after playing 23 games with the Stingers. Glen Sather was hoping he would get his scoring touch back......which happened the next season. It did help that Wayne Gretzky joined the Oilers, who reached the 1979 Avco World Trophy (Avco Cup) finals, losing in 6 games to Winnipeg. Sobchuk had 6 goals, 6 assists in 12 playoff games.
Sobchuk signed with the Detroit Red Wings and made his NHL debut on October 10, 1979 vs Los Angeles Kings at The Forum in a 4-4 tie...he had 1 assist in the game.
Sobchuk scored his 1st NHL goal vs Gilles Meloche of the Minnesota North Stars at 12:38 of the 1st period at The Olympia in a 5-3 Minnesota win.
With his shoulder injury slowing him down, Sobchuk scored just 4 goals and Detroit sent him down to the Adirondack Red Wings to finish the season.
Sobchuk went and played in Switzerland and Austria for a couple of seasons while rehabbing his shoulder, then tried to make a comeback for the 1982-83 season, staring with the AHL Moncton Alpines, traded to the Fredericton Express, also getting in 2 final NHL games with Quebec Nordiques, where he scored his final NHL goal vs Brian Hayward of the Winnipeg Jets. He finished his career with Fredericton in the playoffs.
There’s a great quote from Dennis Sobchuck in the book “The Rebel League" by Ed Willes comparing NHL and WHA team owners: “In the NHL we’d never see the owners, in the WHA we’d go drinking with them.”
In 2018, Sobchuk and Guy Lafleur were chosen as honorary captains of the 100th edition of the Memorial Cup event.
Sobchuk jersey number 14 is one of six numbers retired by the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL).