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7/6/1945 Kapuskasing, Ontario
Bill Plager, younger brother of NHL bruisers Barclay and Bob, never patterned his style of play on either of his older siblings. Instead, he simply did his best to utilize the skills that nature gave him. Some hockey observers, in fact, suspected that Bill might have had the greatest potential of the three. But others observed that he was ultimately the nicest of the bunch, a characterization equal to an insult and impediment to membership in the Plager clan.
Bill Plager played most of his junior hockey with the Peterborough Petes of the OHA before turning pro with the Houston Apollos of the CHL in 1966-67. NHL expansion in 1967 brought a job opportunity with the Minnesota North Stars, but Plager lacked the necessary seasoning to last at the NHL level. He was dispatched to the minors in what became an annual routine throughout his entire big-league career, save one complete season he enjoyed with the Atlanta Flames in 1972-73.
Back in 1968, however, his prospects looked brighter when Blues' GM, Scotty Bowman, followed through on his predecessor, Lynn Patrick's desire to unite all three Plager brothers in St. Louis. The move, so it was thought, would at least have great promotional value at the box office. But the youngest Plager just couldn't crack the Blues' lineup with any consistency. He bounced to the minors and found it difficult, ironically, to get an opening on the club's blueline corps, because the spots were tied up by his older brothers.
Eventually, Plager moved onto the Atlanta Flames and finally, the Minnesota North Stars, where he battled with the club's GM, Wren Blair, until he left the NHL for good, rounding out his hockey career with the Erie Blades of the NAHL in 1977.
AHL Second All-Star Team (1975). Traded to Minnesota by Montreal with the rights to Barrie Meissner and Leo Thiffault for Bryan Watson, June 6, 1967. Claimed by New York Rangers from Minnesota in Intra-League Draft, June 12, 1968. Traded to St. Louis by NY Rangers with Camille Henry and Robbie Irons for Don Caley and Wayne Rivers, June 13, 1968. Claimed by Atlanta from St. Louis in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1972. Claimed by Minnesota from Atlanta in Intra-League Draft, June 12, 1973.
Awards and Trophies
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl 1969-70; 1968-69