It's hard to believe that Dave Schultz started out on the Prairies of Saskatchewan as a quiet, shy young man. His voyage to the big leagues, however, transformed his style of self-expression to the point that, in the NHL, his persona was a defining element of the game of his day.
After two seasons of junior with the Swift Current Broncos, Schultz headed east where he made a strong, two-fisted impression with the Salem Rebels of the EHL and then the Quebec Aces of the AHL.
In an era when players generally settled most scores themselves, with the help of as many as three enforcers per team, NHL GMs usually retained a stable of fighters on the farm. By 1972, the Flyers realized their need to bolster their club's police department. They brought Schultz and Don Saleski on board to complete a lineup that became known as the "Broad Street Bullies."
At the NHL level, Schultz quickly showed the league why he was known as "The Hammer". He fought mammoth battles against fellow enforcers like Keith Magnuson and Terry O'Reilly. He also ensured that the smaller minnows of the league played an honest game when skating near the Flyers' more elite players. The formula of fight first and play hockey later proved very successful as Philly won successive Stanley Cups in 1974 and '75.
For Schultz, the victories represented the highest point of his career. He lasted only one additional season with the Flyers before venturing outside of the team's Broad Street cocoon. In 1976, he joined the Los Angeles Kings where enforcement continued to be his defining role. But by then, there were plenty of new, young fighters in the league who sought to prove their mettle under the weight of "The Hammer." The problem for Schultz was that he was getting older and losing some of his taste for fisticuffs. He lasted just over one season with the Kings before rounding out his NHL career in Pittsburgh and then Buffalo. He retired from hockey in 1980.