Stew Gavin came up through the amateur ranks with the Toronto Marlboros of the OHA from 1977 to 1980. While there, he established himself as a quick-skating plumber who could flesh out any respectable roster with his intensely determined style of play. In 1980, he was picked up by the Toronto Maple Leafs who, after a brief tryout, dispatched him to the New Brunswick Hawks of the AHL to refine his game.
But it wasn’t until 1983-84 that he became an NHL regular. At that time, he became the Blue and White’s designated checker and penalty killer. But the team was stuck on a losing track year in and year out. In 1985, the team sought to bolster its defensive corps by surrendering Gavin to the Hartford Whalers in exchange for blueliner Chris Kotsopoulos.
Traded to Hartford by Toronto for Chris Kotsopoulos, October 7, 1985. Claimed by Minnesota from Hartford in Waiver Draft, October 3, 1988.