Walter Tkachuk is a former professional ice hockey player who spent his entire 14-year career with the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League (NHL). He was born in Germany, but moved to Canada when he was two years old. He was the first player born in Germany to play in the NHL, and one of the best defensive forwards of his era.
Early Life and Career
Tkachuk was born on September 29, 1947, in Emsdetten, Germany. His family, originally from Ukraine, immigrated to Timmins, Ontario, where he grew up playing hockey. He joined the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) in 1963, and played for them until 1967. He was drafted by the New York Rangers with the 17th overall pick in the 1966 NHL Amateur Draft.
Tkachuk made his NHL debut in the 1967-68 season, and quickly established himself as a reliable two-way center. He was known for his faceoff skills, his defensive awareness, and his ability to produce points. He centered the “Bulldog Line” with Bill Fairbairn and Dave Balon, who was later replaced by Steve V