Dennis Bonvie: Hamilton favourite and most penalized player ever gets NHL promotion with Boston Bruins

Published August 10, 2022 at 11:07 am

Dennis Bonvie: Hamilton favourite and most penalized player ever gets NHL promotion with Boston Bruins
Dennis Bonvie, one of the most popular athletes to ever play in Hamilton, has been promoted to director of pro scouting with the Boston Bruins. (REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER)

One of the most popular athletes to ever play in Hamilton traded his jersey and fight strap for a suit and tie years ago. Now, Dennis Bonvie — the former Bulldogs enforcer and reigning most penalized pro hockey player of all time — is the director of pro scouting with the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins just happen to be the club he played for when scoring his only NHL goal.


The 49-year-old undrafted winger from Antigonish, Nova Scotia was promoted this week after six seasons as a Bruins scout and one as the head of scouting. Before joining Boston, Bonvie scouted for the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Few players with Bonvie’s bruising skillset can say they played 15 seasons and 963 games between the AHL and NHL.

His AHL career penalty minute total of 4,493 minutes (in just 871 regular season games) is a remarkable 1,553 more than Rob Murray’s second overall record high total.

Despite playing in Hamilton for just two seasons (1996-97 and 1997-98) while the Bulldogs were part of the AHL, Bonvie jerseys can still be seen at FirstOntario Centre when the OHL version of the Bulldogs are in action.

He finished his time in Hamilton with 20 goals and 59 points in 130 regular season games. Bonvie also played in 31 playoff games, putting up three goals and 19 points. But fans weren’t enamoured with Bonvie’s hands with gloves on; they showed up to see his hands balled up into fists.

Bonvie’s 522 penalty minutes in 1996-97 was a single-season AHL record. Fittingly, that record was broken by Hamilton native and St. Jean de Brebeuf secondary school alum Brian McGrattan, who put up 551 penalty minutes in 2004-05 with the Binghamton Senators.

At the NHL level, Bonvie suited up for the Edmonton Oilers, Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Colorado Avalanche.

Bonvie’s rise from goon to front office executive may seem surprising, but the brute has shown his business acumen post-retirement in 2008. He’s opened three restaurants in Northeastern Pennsylvania, including Bonvie’s Old Forge Pizza Express, Bonvie’s Beefy King, and Bonvie’s Blue Chip Gourmet.

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