Lever, Don

Left Wing  L. 5'11" 185 lbs.
11/14/1952 South Porcupine, Ontario
Vancouver's 1st, 3rd overall, in 1972.


Left-winger, Don Lever, was strong at both ends of the ice during a career that lasted 1,020 games. He was useful in killing penalties and working the power play; he registered nine 20-goal seasons.

Born in South Porcupine, Ontario, Lever accumulated 197 points in two years with the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA. He was selected third overall by the Vancouver Canucks at the 1972 Amateur Draft and went on to be a stalwart on the club for nearly eight full seasons. He was also named to the OHA first all-star team in 1972.

The talented forward hit the 20-goal mark six times in Vancouver and played for Canada at the 1978 World Championships. His best season was 1974-75 when he scored 38 goals playing on a line with Andre Boudrias and Dennis Ververgaert. That year, he was a key factor behind the club's first place finish in the Smythe Division with 86 points. The likeable veteran was also the club's captain from 1977 to 1979.

After years of missing the playoffs or accomplishing very little when they qualified, the Canucks started making changes in 1979-80. The experienced forward was sent to the Atlanta Flames in the deal that also involved Ivan Boldirev and Darcy Rota. Lever was on hand when the Flames transferred to Calgary and reached the semi-finals in 1981. The next year, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies and went through a second franchise shift when the club became the New Jersey Devils in 1982-83. Before leaving Denver, he made his only appearance at the NHL All-Star Game as the Rockies' representative. Lever was a solid two-way worker on the weak Devils for three years and served briefly as team captain beginning in 1982. He later joined the Buffalo Sabres as a part-time player before retiring in 1987.

Lever began his coaching career as a Sabres assistant from 1987-89. He then served as the head coach of the Rochester Americans (AHL) from 1990-92, where he earned Coach of the Year honors. Lever returned to Buffalo as an assistant for the 1992-93 season. After 10 seasons in the Sabres organization, Don joined the St. Louis Blues in June 2002 as an assistant coach.

Player Notes
OMJHL First All-Star Team (1972); Played in NHL All-Star Game (1982). Traded to Atlanta by Vancouver with Brad Smith for Ivan Boldirev and Darcy Rota, February 8th, 1980. Transferred to Calgary after Colorado franchise relocated, June 24th, 1980. Traded to Colorado by Calgary with Bob MacMillan for Lanny McDonald and Colorado's 4th round choice (later traded to NY Islanders-NY Islanders selected Mikko Makela) in 1983 Entry Draft, November 25th, 1981. Transferred to New Jersey after Colorado franchise relocated, June 30th, 1982. Rights traded to Buffalo by New Jersey for cash, September 9th, 1985.

Awards and Trophies
Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award  1991