MacIntyre defined Bulls early persona

by | Belleville Bulls

The Bulls have been fortunate to have many players in the lineup over the years that were good leaders. Players like Darren McCarty, Craig Mills and Greg Bignell proudly earned their role as captains of the team.

But ask anyone who was there and the person that defined the club’s personality from Day 1 was Dunc MacIntyre.

The Bulls had a veteran line­up that was clearly underachieving early in the 1984-85 season. They won just four times in their first 12 games and when they dropped out of first place after losing three in a row in early February, MacIntyre had seen enough.

“We hadn’t been playing well and we knew it,” MacIntyre said in an interview with The Intelligencer.

He called a player’s only meeting to make sure that everyone was ready to work together as a team.

“We just felt that we had to start to take things a little more serious.”

The next day, the Bulls routed the Toronto Marlies 9-3 to set a new team record with 35 wins and -more importantly ­moved one point ahead of the Petes for first place.

MacIntyre had a goal and two assists in the win.

Sophomore Season Leader

If a casual observer didn’t know why MacIntyre was the heart and soul of the upstart Bulls, they would understand completely if they watched the feisty centre when the Bulls traveled to Brantford late in their second season.

Needing just one win to clinch their first ever playoff spot, the Bulls were anx­ious to score early.

MacIntyre was crushed into the end boards in the first period and needed 13 stitches to close a gash over his eye.

He returned later in the game and tipped in the tying goal in the third period to help the Bulls rebound from a 3-1 deficit.

The Bulls secured the playoff berth and MacIntyre put his name among the team’s first heroes.

“It was truly an honour for me,” MacIntyre reflected. “I probably put a lot of pressure on myself at the start of that second year just because it was a big responsibility.”

When September rolled around in the Bulls’ expansion year, GM/coach Larry Mavety invited more than 70 aspiring hockey players to the team’s first training camp.

He was looking for players that would help earn the fledgling club’s place in the league.

It didn’t take long for Mavety to realize that the person who would
define their personality was an 11th round afterthought named Dunc MacIntyre.

MacIntyre approached his first training camp with the Belleville Bulls the way he had approached everything in his life.

He was smaller than most of the other draft picks and didn’t command the spotlight the way stars like Dan Quinn did. So he grabbed his figurative hard hat and went to work.

“It was a good opportunity for a lot of us because other than a few players like Dan Quinn and Darren Pang, pretty much every spot was open,” MacIntyre said.

“It was a clean slate, everybody had a chance to get in there.”

MacIntyre played his way into the Bulls’ exhibition lineup as a rookie and scored a goal and an assist in a 7-5 win over the Kingston Canadians in their second pre-season game.

It was club’s first win as an OHL team.

A Pleasant Surprise

He piled in two goals and four points in their 12-7 win over Kingston in their inaugural home opener and then tipped in the winning goal in overtime against the Ottawa 67’s to give the Baby Bulls a 2-0 record to start the season.

Mavety said that MacIntyre was a pleasant surprise.

He had a hunch that MacIntyre would be available late in the draft because of his small stature. It didn’t turn out to be much of a gamble.

MacIntyre cleaned up the Bulls year-end awards after his rookie season. The Brantford native also finished sec­ond in the OHL’s rookie-of-the-year voting to Sudbury’s Pat Verbeek.

Mavety made MacIntyre the captain at the start of his sophomore season.

He was the type of player that the phrase “heart and soul” was coined for.

MacIntyre is the longest serving captain in team history. Luke Judson also wore the “C” for three seasons from 2009-2012.

“It was truly an honour for me,” said MacIntyre, who admitted that there were many players on the team in the early years that were leaders.

“I looked a lot upon Ben Kelly my first year and he was certainly a big part of helping me through the first season.”

Wore His Heart on His Sleeve

MacIntyre had a knack for raising his performance level when the club needed it the most.

He was the epitome of what a captain should be. He led by example with clutch goals.

He wore his heart on his sleeve, just below the horned “B” on his jersey.

Despite playing a physically demanding style, MacIntyre missed just seven games in four seasons. He made it his job to set the work ethic example for his teammates.

There is no question that MacIntyre helped shape the mold that future Bulls’ teams would be made from.

He was the first -and only -player to have his number retired by the Bulls.

As much as MacIntyre meant to Belleville, the city and team meant as much to him.

He was selected the team’s MVP again at the end of his third season and in his overage year, MacIntyre won the Molson Cup for leading the OHL in three star selections.

He was also recognized as the hardest working player in the OHL Coaches Poll. MacIntyre truly earned the respect of his coaches, teammates and peers.

“He did extremely well,” Mavety said.

“He just wanted to play and he worked at it and it showed that you didn’t have to be the most talented player in the world.”

Excerpt from 25 Years with the Belleville Bulls (Bell, Aaron 2005)

Intelligencer photo courtesy Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County

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