BY DON SCOTT
The Greg Theberge’s professional hockey career didn’t last a long time. But it got off to a very good start in 1980 when he was part of the Hershey Bears’ 1980 Calder Cup team in his rookie season.
Theberge eventually played 183 games for the Bears and another 130 NHL games for the Washington Capitals, the only two teams he played for during his career.
“My time here was very memorable,” Theberge said during a recent stop in Hershey for the franchise’s 30th reunion of the Cup victory. “When you look at the guys who decided to live here, I sometimes wish I had stayed here to settle down. Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, we’re up in the frozen tundra living just south of North Bay near Huntsville (Canada).”
Theberge’s second season in Hershey saw the steady blue-liner make the AHL All-Star second team and set the franchise record for points by a defenseman in a season (65).
“In my opinion I overachieved to break Ralph Keller’s record, but then Dave Fenyves came along years later to beak mine,” Theberge admitted, then added. “My most memorable moment as a player wasn’t winning the Cup, but rather my five-point night against the Philadelphia Flyers. I was classified as a small, offensive defenseman who had a good point shot. I got a lot of second assists off my low shot from the point and also liked to rush the puck, then pass it off.”
In recalling his exciting rookie season, Theberge said: “We had several rookies but had good leadership in Bob Bilodeau, Ron Lalonde, Doug Gibson and Tony Cassalota, so we followed their lead. We didn’t get good start then in November coach Gary Green was called to Washington to replace Danny Belieu.
“Frank Mathers took over behind the bench before he chose Doug Gibson to be a player/coach and he did an excellent job,” Theberge continued. “That was an eye-opening experience for me as a rookie to see a guy dressed in full equipment standing behind bench saying ‘OK boys it’s a power-play, my line is on.'”
“Bergey” comes from a hockey family and married into another one, so playing the game certainly wasn’t anything new for him, he pointed out.
“My grandfather was NHL Hall-of-Famer Dit Clapper and my wife is a McCreary,” said Theberge. “The late Keith McCreary played for Bears (1963-65) and his brother Bill had nice career with the Rangers, Montreal, Detroit and St. Louis as well. Another relative is Ron Atwell who played on three Calder Cup teams with Buffalo and Providence.”
Theberge and his wife, a teacher, have three grown children. He has been working in the soft-wood industry and more recently started as an analyst and color man for a cable TV station in North Bay for college hockey.
“That’s new for me, but I’m starting to enjoy it,” Theberge said about his new venture.