FORMER AMERK WARREN HARPER PASSES AWAY AFTER BATTLE WITH BRAIN CANCERNews | 1/30/2014 12:29:48 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
The Rochester Americans are saddened to announce the passing of former Amerk Warren Harper, who died Wednesday after a long and courageous battle with brain cancer. Harper was 50 years old.
A lifelong resident of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Harper was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 10th round of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, paving way for an eight-year professional career that would soon land him in Rochester. Harper played four seasons (1983-87) with the Amerks, registering 204 points on 85 goals and 119 assists in 297 career games in the red, white and blue. Harper also recorded 13 points (4+9) in 34 postseason contests, including five points (1+4) in 11 games during Rochester’s run to the 1987 Calder Cup.
“Warren was just an overall great team guy,” said Amerks Hall of Famer Jody Gage, who played two seasons with Harper. “He was one of the first guys I met when I came here from Adirondack and he went out of his way to make me feel welcome. He had a tremendous sense of humor and was well liked by all of his teammates.”
Harper quickly established his knack for scoring, finishing among the top five in points in two of his four seasons to go along with a pair of 20-goal performances in each of his first two years with the Amerks. His most productive season in Rochester came during the 1984-85 campaign, when he produced 63 points (29+34) in 78 games to finish third on the team in goals and fifth in points.
It was his versatility, however, and tenacity on the ice that Harper was most known for during his time in Rochester. He was an all-around player that the Amerks relied heavily on in key situations and was an integral part of the team’s success that saw the Amerks advance to the playoffs in three of his four seasons, including two trips to the Calder Cup Finals.
“He was just a great all-around player who could do everything,” said Gage. “He scored a lot of big goals, killed penalties and was willing to do whatever the team needed. He always put his teammates first and that was always one of his greatest qualities.”
Following his tenure with the Amerks, Harper went onto play 15 games with the International Hockey League’s Flint Spirits before playing two more seasons in the American Hockey League with Adirondack Red Wings and Hershey Bears.
“I know I speak on behalf of all the Amerks Alumni when I say that we lost a member of our family yesterday,” said Gage. “Warren was a great teammate, but he was even better to be around. It’s a definitely a sad day and he’ll be greatly missed.”
Harper leaves behind his wife, Monica, and four daughters - Hannah, Shelby, Rebecca and Beth.