Thursday, June 2, 2011

Today in history: June 2

Lots of birthdays today on Today in History.

Don Deacon: The man who scored the first goal in a professional hockey game in Indianapolis -- and the first goal to be scored in the Fairgrounds Coliseum as the paint was still drying. That game, on Nov. 10, 1939, was a 5-1 Capitals victory over the Syracuse Stars. He'd have seven goals and 18 assists in 21 games with the Caps that season before being dealt to the Cleveland Barons partway through. He also played 30 games with the Red Wings from 1936-40, tallying six goals. Deacon was born in 1913 in Regina, Saskatchewan. He left hockey in 1942 and enlisted in the Canadian military, but passed away on Christmas night 1943 while on leave, when he fell from a balcony.
Ott Heller: Popular former Capitals coach who led the team from 1948-52, and coached the 1950 Calder Cup champions. He coached two Hall of Fame goaltenders in Indianapolis -- Terry Sawchuk for two seasons and Glenn Hall for one. His teams compiled a 134-110-32 record in those years and made three playoff appearances. He holds the No. 1 spot on the Indianapolis hockey coaching victories list. In addition, the Caps went a perfect 8-0 in the 1950 playoffs, upsetting the Cleveland Barons in a four-game sweep. Heller was a player-coach during that entire time, scoring 14 goals and 49 assists in 181 games. The defenseman played 647 NHL games from 1931-46, all with the New York Rangers. As a player, he won the Stanley Cup in 1933 and 1940, and continued playing in the minors until 1954-55 -- at the age of 44. A native of Kitchener, Ontario, he was born in 1910, and passed away in 1980.
Randy Johnston:  A solid defensive defenseman for the Checkers from 1979-83. He was a key part of two Adams Cup championship teams in 1982 and 1983. The Islanders' second-round draft pick in 1978, Johnston played 289 games for the Checkers in those four seasons -- and a full season for the Fort Worth Texans prior to the Isles moving their affiliation to Indy in 1979. He tallied 15 goals and 96 assists as a Checker, and also had a 3-7-10 line in 33 postseason games. He played four games for the Islanders in 1979-80 -- a year that would become their first Stanley Cup year. He retired from hockey after hoisting the Adams Cup in 1983. A native of Brampton, Ontario, he is 55.
Don Sylvestri: A goaltender who played 14 games for the Checkers in 1984-85 -- their first IHL season. He had a 5-7-0 record and a 5.06 GAA in those games, but did get a call up to the Boston Bruins that year and appeared in three NHL games -- twice in relief of Pete Peeters and once as a starter. He tied both decisions. He retired from hockey after that season. A native of Sudbury, Ontario, he is 50.
Mike Berger: A hard-shooting defenseman who began -- and ended -- his pro career in Indianapolis. After finishing his junior career in 1987, he played in four games with the Checkers at the end of that season -- which would be their final IHL campaign -- and tallied three assists. He would also tally an assist in six playoff games. Twelve years later, he'd find himself back in Indianapolis, as one of the first signings of the new Ice entry into the CHL. He would be a leader of the Miron Cup Championship team that year, tallying 10 goals and 26 assists, and also scoring two playoff goals. He possessed a 100+ mph slapshot. He played 30 NHL games for the North Stars from 1987-89, but the bulk of his career was in the CHL. He was one of the inaugural Tulsa Oilers in 1992 and played seven seasons there before joining the Ice in 1999. His No. 44 was retired by the Ice. A native of Edmonton, he is 44 and resides in the Indianapolis area, where he coaches hockey.
Adam Creighton: Center who played six games for the Ice in 1996-97, tallying one goal and seven assists. It would be the last of 13 North American pro seasons for the big pivot -- he stood 6-5, 210 -- which were primarily spent in the NHL. He scored 187 goals in 708 NHL games from 1984-97, playing for the Sabres, Lightning, Islanders, Blues and two stints with the Blackhawks. He played in the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals with the Blackhawks. His best year was a 34-36-70 season with Chicago in 1989-90. Adam has other family ties to Indianapolis, as his uncle Fred Creighton was a part of the Checkers as a coach and/or GM from 1981-85, winning two championships in that time. Today, Creighton is a scout for the Boston Bruins. A native of Burlington, Ontario, he is 46.
Ryan Carter: Winger who played his first two full professional seasons with the Ice from 2002-04. He had 26 goals and 30 assists in 125 games with the Ice, joining the team after graduating from Iona and playing a short stint in the ECHL. After the Ice left the CHL in 2004, he went with several ex-Ice players to Corpus Christi and played three more years, tallying 59 goals. A native of Fort Nelson, B.C., he is 34.
Drew Fisher: A forward who played seven games for the Ice in their inaugural USHL season of 2004-05. He scored one goal in that time, and also tallied a goal in two playoff games. He would play two more years in the USHL with Sioux Falls before heading to play for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. He played two seasons in the Twin Cities, and just finished his junior year with Bemidji State. He has tallied one goal and six points in his college career. A native of International Falls, Minnesota, he is 24.

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