Born: October 12, 1963
Town: Princeton, New Jersey
Randolph B. Wood was born October 12, 1963 in Princeton. He was the son of Norman Wood, Princeton’s hockey coach from 1959 to 1965. The Tigers did not enjoy much success under Wood, with just one winning season. After 1964–65, the Woods moved to Manchester, Massachusetts when Randy was still a toddler. Immersed in the area’s hockey culture and coached by his dad, Randy became one of the top prep players in the U.S.
Randy enrolled at Yale University after high school and became one of the top players on the Bulldogs. He scored 25 goals in both his junior and senior years, and finished his college career with 141 points in 107 varsity games. Randy was honored as an ECAC Second-Team All–Star in 1984–85, and was a First-Teamer in 1985–86. He was also an NCAA East Second-Team All-Star in his final season at Yale.
Criticized for his so-so defense, Randy went undrafted by the NHL, but was invited to try out for the New York Islanders, who were coming off their dynastic years of the mid 1980s. The team signed him in camp, and he spent the bulk of the season in the AHL with the Springfield Indians. Near the end of the 1986–87 season, Randy was promoted to the Islanders. He scored one goal in six games, but saw plenty of action in the playoffs, as the Islanders reached the conference finals.
From 1987–88 to 1990–91, Randy saw regular shifts at left wing for the Islanders. He scored 85 goals during those four seasons and was a key part of the team’s power play for a couple of years. Randy also got his licks in as a fighter. Less than a month into the 1991–92 season, Randy was part of a blockbuster trade between the Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. He was packaged with Pat LaFontaine and two other players for budding superstar Pierre Turgeon.
Randy was a valuable player. He was known as a grinder, someone who worked hard for the puck and who could be entrusted with harassing an opponent’s top scorers. But he could also score, particularly close to the net, where his strength, hockey IQ and quick reflexes gave him an advantage.
Randy continued to average 20 goals a season for the Sabres until he was placed on waivers by Buffalo during the work stoppage of 1994–95. Now approaching his mid- 30s, Randy saw progressively diminishing ice time with the Maple Leafs, Stars and Islanders before calling it quits after the 1996–97 campaign. He retired with 175 goals and 159 assists.