Monday, June 6, 2011

Hall of Honor: Kevin Devine

Kevin Devine
Indianapolis Racers 1977-78, Indianapolis Checkers 1979-85
NHL/WHA career: San Diego Mariners (1974-77), Indianapolis Racers (1977-78), Quebec Nordiques (1978-79), New York Islanders (1982-83)

No player in history has pulled on an Indianapolis jersey more times than Kevin Devine. He was the face of the Indianapolis Checkers in the 1980s, the captain and leader of several of the city's most successful teams, including the Central Hockey League Adams Cup champions in 1982 and 1983.

All told, Devine played 542 games in Indianapolis from 1977 to 1985, with a one-year hiatus playing for the WHA's Quebec Nordiques. He totaled 158 goals, 194 assists and 352 points, ranking him in the top five among Indianapolis players in every category. His 1,249 penalty minutes is the highest total amassed by an Indianapolis player.

Devine was a gritty winger who could score -- as a Checker, he put forth five consecutive 20-goal seasons, doing so in each of the team's Central Hockey League years. He was the leading goal scorer in the 1982 playoffs, tallying eight goals in the Checkers' first Adams Cup run. He could also stand up for his teammates -- he tallied more than 100 PIMs in each of his professional seasons, topping out with 245 in 1982-83 (he added eight more in two games with the New York Islanders).

Devine first came to Indianapolis as a Racer in 1977, in a seven-player trade with the Edmonton Oilers. After one season, he was sold to the Quebec Nordiques, and played the WHA's last year there before returning to Indy in 1979 as the leader of the New York Islanders' top affiliate, a new entry into the Central Hockey League. Devine scored 27 goals that first season, and followed with 28, 24, 21 and 23 goals in the next four years. He also served as the team's captain during one of the greatest sustained periods of success in Indianapolis hockey history. The 1982-84 Checkers are the only team in Indianapolis to reach its league championship series three consecutive years, and the only one to win its championship in back-to-back seasons.

He sparked the 1982 Adams Cup semifinal sweep by scoring the game-winner in the series opener against the Wichita Wind, one of his eight playoff tallies. He scored in each of the series' first three games, including a tying goal with 29 seconds left that sent Game 3 into overtime and led to a Checkers victory. Devine called it the biggest thrill he'd had in hockey. He totaled four goals and seven assists in the 1983 playoffs, clinching another championship for the Checkers. And in 1984, he helped a young team surprise the heavily-favored Colorado Flames in the opening round and advance to their third consecutive Adams Cup Finals. Devine returned to Indianapolis in 1984-85 as the Checkers moved to the IHL, and scored 16 goals in his final professional season.

After retirement, he became an NHL scout, eventually joining former Checkers teammate Darcy Regier in the Buffalo Sabres' front office. Devine is now the Sabres' Director of Amateur Scouting. 

Kevin Devine's career stats
                                GP       G-A-P  PIM
1977-78 Indianapolis Racers     78    19-23-42  141
1979-80 Indianapolis Checkers   79    27-26-53  171
1980-81 Indianapolis Checkers   80    28-26-64  153
1981-82 Indianapolis Checkers   80    24-27-51  199
1982-83 Indianapolis Checkers   78    21-27-48  245
1983-84 Indianapolis Checkers   71    23-30-53  201
1984-85 Indianapolis Checkers   79    16-35-51  139
Totals                         542 158-194-352 1249 
NHL/WHA career (1974-79,83)    288   74-81-155  411 
Previous entries:
May 2011: Terry Sawchuk
April 2011: Arthur Wirtz

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