“There is no higher value in our society than integrity” Arlen Specter

He was proud, passionate, very well respected, a man who lived his life with the utmost integrity.

If the topic was hockey, Dale Marquette would not hesitate to chime in. In the many years I knew Dale, his emotions rolled off his sleeves.

Outside of the rink, Dale’s demeanor was down to earth, common sense and reasonable, the type of guy most would love to share a beer with.

In his domain, behind the bench or on the ice, Dale was a fierce competitor, who would virtually do everything in his power to win and then some. He had no barriers while trying to get an edge. Whatever it took to get the “W”, Dale was prepared to lay it all out on the line. Dale Marquette was the man you wanted on “your” team because one never liked playing against him.

Dale was not in the best of health, but that did not stop him from working tirelessly for the City of Prince George or his own side handyman business on the weekends. Take a break, ease up. That was not in Dale’s vocabulary.

The Prince George community, hockey world and the Marquette family lost a great intense man with Dale’s passing due to complications from diabetes. He was just 47.

I enjoyed many conversations with Dale that heightened when he coached the Prince George Spruce Kings in the RMJHL (1993-95) before he got his one and only chance at coaching in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars during the 95-96 season. He was thrilled and honored to have such a high profile position in his hometown especially with that opportunity at a tender age in his mid-20’s.

His final stint of high level coaching came with the BCHL’s Quesnel Millionaires in the 2000-01 season, guiding the generally cellar dwelling Mills to a .500 record.

Dale made no apologies about his old school methods. Perhaps some of his hard-nosed voice raising tactics would be out of date in today’s much gentler hockey environment but most of the players that were under his leadership would go through a barricade for him.

As a player, he had the rare ability to be in your face while being offensively productive. Dale was a talented forward for four seasons in the WHL (1984-88), the first two with the Lethbridge Broncos and the last two with the Brandon Wheat Kings. In his final junior season, he racked up 51 goals and 103 points in just 62 games.

Like all skilled players, Dale had a desire to play in the NHL. He was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1987 Draft. He suited up in pre-season games for Chicago but would spend a limited pro career in the IHL with the Saginaw Hawks (1988-89) and Indianapolis Ice (89-90) where he totaled 25 points and 48 penalty minutes in 78 games.

During the summer, as a chance to unwind from the grind of the hockey season, Dale loved to play ball. Naturally he excelled at the sport. I played and coached on a competitive men’s slo-pitch team in the 80’s and 90’s and one of the first players I recruited was Dale. He was Mr. Clutch. Yes, Dale could smack the living daylights out of that ball and defensively would come up with that must have catch when the pressure was on. If it was the bottom of the 7th, down a run, with the bases loaded and two outs, Dale was the guy I and the rest of the team wanted to see at the plate.

Nowadays, I enjoy taking lengthy walks around the city and by co-incidence I must have ran into Dale on four or five occasions in the last year. We would both stop what we were doing to reminisce, discuss the good old days and the ups and downs of the hockey world. Between the two of us, we had all the issues solved. In the fall, I asked him to come out and play masters ball hockey. He was tempted but resisted the urge for more competitive battle.

When Dale took to a task, big or little, sports or recreation, work or pleasure, he did so with the utmost care, commitment and concentration.

Dale Marquette was a reflection of the Prince George city he thrived in and naturally that included a hard hat, a hammer, overalls and of course, a lunch-bucket.

He leaves behind his two cherished children: daughter Jordyn (15) and son Troy (6).

From the Quote Rack:

Russian President Putin has reappeared after an absence where nobody could find him—he took in some games at a Florida Panthers home-stand.

Johnny Manziel is reportedly doing ‘fantastic’ in rehab. Meanwhile, flags are flying at half-staff on the Las Vegas strip.

Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

John Madden was upset about Will Ferrell’s spring training escapades, feeling that the aging comic actor had no place on a baseball field with real players. Wait until someone tells Madden that A-Rod’s back in the Yankees camp.

There were lots of disappointed bubble teams on March Madness Selection Sunday. But really, based on their record, it should have been at least a ten seed for the New York Knicks.

Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

The odds of picking a perfect NCCA March Madness bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion, which is the amount of years it will take before Target will look at returning to Canada.

Kraft Foods US has recalled over 6 million boxes of mislabelled Kraft Dinner as packages may accidentally contain real cheese mixed in with the yellow dust.

Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver (http://alwaysfunny.com/)

Fighting broke out at a wedding in India after an irate bride dumped her intended and married one of the guests. Talk about a bench-warmer being groomed!

A 107-year-old U.S. woman is Facebook’s oldest registered user. And possibly the most sick of hearing “Wait’ll next year!” from the Cubs.

Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

And in case you missed it:

In Chapter 17 of the Book of Samuel, David slays Goliath by hurling a bunch of rocks at him. And in Chapter 18 David undergoes Tommy John surgery.

Comedy writer Marc Ragovin

Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the Goat. His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com. Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller