"Smash"


Raynauld Tessier appeared early in the Gears first season appearing in every game for most of the first few months. Standing 5 foot 8 and with his baby face, muttonchop sideburns and prince Valiant hair he was an instant favorite, especially with the female fans. Add to that the fact that Montreal native spoke French and very little English and you had a package that made the bubble gum school girls and the grown up adult girls squeal alike.

Following every home game, the girls would line up outside the Gears locker room door waiting to get a Tessier autograph on their program. About midway through the season the team leaked the information out that the other players had nick-named him "Smash" and the girls squealed even more.

When he came to the Gears from the Verdun Maple Leafs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Tessier was one of the lowest paid players on the team. In fact one player stated that he had such a small paycheck that he could not afford to to eat and pay his rent too. A couple of the players eventually went to Gears management and pleaded on his behalf- Tessier got a raise

Although a hit with the fans, Tessier was not so popular with those who made hockey their business. Being a defensman, he had a habit of trying to play offense and very often left his zone. The Gears were a team badly in need of solid defense- they had plenty of score mechanics up front already, and the last thing they needed was a blueliner looking to do a Bobby Ore. One Canadian born hockey veteran associated with the Gears snarled his opinion over a drink when Tessier was mentioned. "That yellow little bastard, he only hits guys when their back is turned." Tessier may have had his fans, but he also had his detractors.

In spite of his detractors inside hockey, Tessier was easily voted the Gears "Most Popular" player for the 1972-73 season. Programs with a Tessier poster in the centerfold always sold out and by the end of that first season there were a lot of little girls and quite a few grown-up ladies with his poster hung up someplace. Inside the IHL, however, Tessier was monikered as the Gears "least improved" player.

Tessier returned to the Gears roster for the 1973-74 season, but did not stay. Early in the season he was traded to the Fort Wayne Komets. The following season he was traded to Columbus and during that season was traded again to Kalamazoo. The following season he was sent down to the USHL where he played for two seasons. Following that he moved overseas to Germany and played in the European Lower Leagues until 1991. Today, somewhere out there in the Tri Cities area, it is a sure bet some lady or some ladies still have one of those "Smash" posters.

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