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Newmarket mourns 'humble' former NHLer who never forgot home

Former New York Ranger, and Newmarket Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Randy Legge passes away at age 77
A photo of Randy Legge on the Newmarket Sports Hall of Fame wall.

Childhood friend Al Noble described Newmarket-born and raised hockey star Randy Legge as a humble person.

Despite Legge’s successes in professional hockey — playing 12 games for the NHL’s New York Rangers and four seasons for the splinter league World Hockey Association — Noble said Legge always remembered his family and friends.

Even “given his hockey success, he never forgot his family or friend,” he said. “He just remained very, very humble … He never got caught up in all the glitz and glamour. Randy remained Randy his entire life.” 

The Newmarket community is mourning Legge, who passed away Dec. 11 at age 77. Legge was well known in the community for his hockey-playing career that garnered him a spot at the Newmarket Sports Hall of Fame. He was also a longtime employee of Doner Nissan, now known as Newmarket Nissan.

Dallas Legge, Randy’s son, said his father cared more about others than himself. He said he was able to connect with others as well as a car salesman.

“We used to kid with him we don’t think he ever sold a car, he sold himself as a person. He really listened to what people wanted,” the younger Legge said. “He had a client base of about 400 to 500 people that would come back every few years to buy a car from him.” 

Hockey was still a regular part of the household. Randy grew up in Newmarket but eventually left to pursue his hockey career, playing predominantly with the Kitchener Rangers as a teenager. He would go on to play pro in the American Hockey League’s Buffalo Bisons, and later the Providence Reds, before a 12-game NHL stint with the Rangers.

After that, he would play on four different teams as part of the World Hockey Association. Dallas said his father had hockey contract offers after the 1976-77 season but opted to retire to spend time with his family.

With his final team being the San Diego Mariners, Legge opted to move back to his hometown of Newmarket rather than stay in the California city.

“He really liked Newmarket and he liked a bit of a small-town feel,” Dallas said. “Newmarket was a special place for him and the Legge family was a big part of Newmarket.” 

Legge said he tried to follow in his father’s footsteps, also as a stay-at-home defenceman. Although he didn’t make it that far, the next generation would. Denver Barkey, Randy Legge’s grandson, is making a go of a pro career, playing for the London Knights of the OHL and getting drafted in the third round by the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Denver’s goal growing up as a kid was to play in the OHL and play in the NHL like my dad did,” Legge said. “One of the things my dad always told Denver was have fun, enjoy the moment and make the best of the opportunities that you’re given.” 

Legge’s daughter, Devin Barkey, said he was one of the best people to have in someone’s life.

“The most amazing father, and definitely the proudest, and I mean absolute proudest, of his grandkids,” she said. “The family will not be the same without him.”

Noble made a Facebook post highlighting Legge’s death, which garnered 138 comments. Noble said it meant a lot to the family.

“It doesn’t surprise me in the least,” Noble said. “It just certainly indicates the type of man he was.

Dallas said the family is holding off on a celebration of life given the timing with the holiday season and many friends in Florida over the winter. Although a date is to be determined, he said they would probably look for something in May, when there will be a public notification.

He added the community response and well-wishes has been overwhelming.

“Newmarket’s still sort of a small town,” he said. “It’s been very nice.”

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Joseph Quigley

About the Author: Joseph Quigley

Joseph is the municipal reporter for NewmarketToday.
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