1970 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
1 7
Greg Polis
Selected by Pittsburgh from Estevan (WCHL)
Pittsburgh Penguins Estevan Bruins
Greg Polis

5-foot-11, 190 pounds

Left-hand shot

Left Wing

Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1967-68 Estevan WCJHL 59 35 32 67 124
1968-69Estevan WCHL 60 40 85 125 94
1969-70 Estevan WCHL 60 48 56 104 69

Pre-Draft Notes

WCHL All-Star First Team 1968-69 and 1969-70. ...  1968 Memorial Cup finalist.
Canadian • Born August 8, 1950 in Westlock, Alberta • Hometown: Dapp, Alberta

Career Vitals

First contract: 1970
Debut: October 10, 1970
(Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo)
Final NHL game: January 5, 1980
(Washington at Minnesota)
Retired: 1980
Stanley Cup: Never won
Numbers worn: 22 (Pittsburgh); 9 (St. Louis);
20 (N.Y. Rangers); 18 (Washington)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, N.Y. Rangers, Washington
Years: 1970-1980. Playoffs: 1972-1974

Regular Season
10 years 615 174 169 343 391
Stanley Cup Playoffs
2 years 7 0 2 2 6
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

Career Highlights

Scored first NHL goal for Pittsburgh on Oct. 28, 1970, vs. Los Angeles goaltender Denis DeJordy. ... Was tied for Pittsburgh lead with 18 goals as rookie when his season ended due to mononucleoses in March 1971. ... Won Pittsburgh Rookie of Year Award (which was renamed the Michel Briere Memorial Trophy shortly afterward) for the 1970-71 season. ... Represented Pittsburgh as a rookie in 1971 NHL All-Star Game at Boston. ... Represented Pittsburgh in 1972 NHL All-Star Game at Minnesota. ... Scored game-tying goal for Pittsburgh at 19:14 of the third period on April 1, 1972, at Philadelphia to keep Penguins alive in playoff race. Pittsburgh clinched its berth with a win the following day. ... Set Pittsburgh single-season records (since broken) for goals  and goals by a left wing with 30 in 1971-72. ... Tied for Pittsburgh lead with 30 goals in 1971-72. ... Led Pittsburgh with eight power-play goals in 1971-72. ... Represented Pittsburgh in 1973 NHL All-Star Game and was named the game's MVP even though his West team lost to the East 5-4 on Jan. 30, 1973, at New York's Madison Square Garden. Arriving just in time for the game after witnessing the birth of his first child the previous night, Polis scored the game's first goal at 0:55 of the first period. He later cut the East lead to 3-2 with his second goal of the game, unassisted, at 4:27 of the third period on his way to becoming first All-Star Game MVP in Pittsburgh Penguins history. ... Led Pittsburgh with eight power-play goals in 1972-73. ... Set N.Y. Rangers' single-season record (since broken) for penalty minutes in one game with 33 at St. Louis on Dec. 14, 1974. ... Scored four goals for N.Y. Rangers in Feb. 16, 1975, game at Minnesota -- the first of two hat tricks he had for the Rangers in his first season with the team. ...  Was leading NHL with three shorthanded goals when he injured knee 20 games into 1977-78 season and was still leading with four shorthanded goals when his season ended with re-aggravation of knee injury in January 1978. ... Scored memorable power-play goal on rink-length rush for Washington in 5-1 win over N.Y. Rangers on Jan. 24, 1979, just nine days after being waived by Rangers. ... Played nine regular-season games for 1979-80 Hershey team that went on to win AHL Calder Cup, but was not with team in postseason. ... Played two games for 1980-81 Hershey team that won AHL regular-season title.

The Pittsburgh Fan Lawsuit

During a Nov. 11, 1978, game between the Rangers and Penguins at Pittsburgh's Civic Arena, Polis, who was playing for the Rangers, got into an incident with a Penguins fan that led to a lawsuit years later. Polis, who had been a Penguins player in the early 1970s, was heckled relentlessly during the game by a young man named David Brown. An older teenager from Elizabeth Township, Pa., Brown was, by his own admission, yelling obscenities at both Polis and Phil Esposito all evening as he sat near the Rangers' bench. He also admitted to taking part in a 'Porky Pig" chant directed by Penguins fans at Esposito. When the game ended in a 2-1 Rangers victory, Esposito later told security that these same fans were throwing ice from their drinks at the Rangers players. During this moment, Brown claimed his head was struck from behind by the hockey stick of a player exiting the ice. Witnesses said Polis had swung his stick at Brown, who then claimed he developed epilepsy as a result of the incident. Polis acknowledged to NHL security officers that he had reached over the glass to tap Brown lightly on the head with his stick while all of this was going on, but there was no intent to injure and no force involved. Brown filed his lawsuit against Polis, the Rangers organization, and the NHL in Allegheny County in the early 1980s after his epilepsy was diagnosed. Defense attorneys pushed for dismissal of the case, but in late February 1982, a state court ruled there was enough evidence to go to trial. The trial began on March 18, 1982, and lasted three days before it went into settlement negotiations between the parties and Judge Frederick G. Weir. Polis did not testify at the trial. On March 22, Brown reached a settlement with all parties, accepting a reported $27,500 to drop the suit.

Transaction History

Jan. 17, 1974 -- Traded by Pittsburgh with Bryan Watson and 1974 second-round pick (Bob Hess) to St. Louis for Steve Durbano, Ab DeMarco Jr., and J. Bob Kelly. Aug. 29, 1974 -- Traded by St. Louis to N.Y. Rangers for Larry Sacharuk and choice of 1976 or 1977 first-round pick (St. Louis later opted for 1977 and then returned pick to Rangers in October 1975 trade involving Derek Sanderson). Jan. 15, 1979 -- Claimed by Washington off waivers from N.Y. Rangers.

The Lawsuit vs. Washington

On July 17, 1981, in the wake of his retirement as a player, Polis filed a $5 million breach-of-contract lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore against the Washington Capitals. Polis claimed owner Abe Pollin and the rest of the organization had not provided complete medical treatment for the broken tibia he suffered late in the 1978-79 season -- an injury which ended his season and had a big impact on his right knee for the rest of his career. Polis said that the team never X-rayed his leg during the late stages of the summer of 1979, but still allowed him to take part in the 1979 training camp without full knowledge of how well the injury had healed. Polis said he had complained about lingering pain in the leg to training staff, but they had suggested he just needed to "play himself back into shape." Polis continued to experience pain until January 1980, when an X-ray showed the knee had never properly healed. Following that discovery, Polis said the Capitals put him on waivers, which he cleared, for the purpose of sending him down to Hershey (AHL). While playing with Hershey, the knee worsened and led to his inability to continue playing pro hockey. No further reporting was done on the suit, likely settled out of court since it never went to trial.

Significant Injuries

Missed remainder of 1970-71 season after being diagnosed with a severe case of mononucleosis. He played his final game as a rookie on March 3, 1971, vs. Montreal, before coming out of the lineup. ... Missed part of 1977-78 season with right knee injury, suffered during N.Y. Rangers' Nov. 23, 1977, game  vs. Colorado. He did not return until N.Y. Rangers' Dec. 18, 1977, game vs. Detroit. He played 17 games before re-aggravating the injury and strained ligaments in the knee in N.Y. Rangers' Jan. 28, 1978, game at N.Y. Islanders. The injury required season-ending surgery. ... Missed remainder of 1978-79 season with hairline fracture of right tibia, an injury suffered during Washington's March 2, 1979, game at Vancouver. ... Missed remainder of 1979-80 season with bone spurs in right knee, an injury suffered while playing for Hershey (AHL) in February 1980.

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: Gregory Linn Polis
Nicknames: "Pole Cat", "Pole Eye", "Indiana"

Other Post-Draft Teams: New Haven (AHL); Hershey (AHL)

Career Beyond Hockey: Lived in Prince George, British Columbia, during off-seasons of playing days after discovering the city while heading to work at a hockey school in Quesnel. He returned to Prince George full-time -- owning a service station and later working in the construction business in his first years after retirement before becoming an automobile salesman. Worked primarily for the company that is now Wood Wheaton SuperCentre in Prince George. ... Was avid handball player during 1980s and competed in the Canadian championships.


Selected by Alberta Oilers in 1972 WHA Draft -- the first-ever WHA Draft -- in February 1972. Selected by Cincinnati Stingers in 1973 WHA draft of established professional players. Reportedly fought teammate Brian Spencer in Estevan, and team opted to trade Spencer. Played on line with Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert for N.Y. Rangers in 1974-75.
Was represented by agent Larry Rauch during his playing days with Rangers. Had never played in minor leagues before being sent to New Haven on Nov. 16, 1978. Told reporters in 1970s that his childhood dog would retrieve pucks for him on backyard rink. Took part in ceremonies before final game at Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena on April 8,2010.
Total Selected: 115
Forwards: 67
Defense: 36
Goaltenders: 12
Major Junior: 87
College Players: 18
Canadian: 109
Euro-Canadian: 0
American: 6
European: 0
Reached NHL: 62
Won Stanley Cup: 12
Hall of Fame: 3
All-Star Game: 11
Year-end All-Star: 4
Olympians: 2
Picks Traded: 13


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