Reid was pretty famous early in his career for being the worst skater in the league, something he improved enough to have an NHL career. By 1970 he’d lost the crown to Pierre Bouchard, who was snail-slow.
He eventually landed with the North Stars and played a quiet, consistent style that came in handy during some impressive playoff drives for Minnesota 1971-73.
Picking up his story from Legends of Hockey: Reid stood as a North Star mainstay until 1977. It was at that time that a small red rash appeared on his arm. Massive itching sensations soon followed as his skin began to deteriorate. His affliction soon took on the name “Gunk.” As the league’s doctors, trainers, and equipment producers began to investigate, they discovered that about 100 players across the NHL were suffering from various degrees of the affliction. But no case was as severe as Reid’s. His skin got so bad that he could only sleep while sitting upright in a wooden chair. Before the season was over, his suffering grew so severe that he was forced to retire. In the end, the doctors concluded that he was allergic to his equipment and to the die found in his uniform. Since his forced departure from hockey, Reid has worked as a color analyst for North Stars home games and later for Minnesota Gophers college hockey.
Reid has been interviewed on the subject a few times, and the quotes are so awful I refuse to pass them along. I will however post one: “I had some sort of eczema. It was like I had no skin from my neck to my waist.” After that, the story gets worse.
His story, and a company he is/was involved with (Esporta) paved the way for future hockey players to avoid such difficulties although it still shows up from time to time.