Sunday, July 31, 2011

Today in history: July 31

Two birthdays to round out July:

John Ollson: Forward who played 17 games for the Checkers in 1984-85, tallying nine goals and 11 assists. He also had a goal and an assist in the team's seven-game playoff loss to Peoria. Combined with his time with the Milwaukee Admirals, he had a 26-goal season. As a pro rookie, he had 29 goals and 43 assists in 1983-84 for the AHL's Springfield Kings. Ollson played the next year primarily with AHL Nova Scotia, and then headed to Europe, where he led the Dutch league in scoring in 1986-87. He retired after the 1990-91 season, playing five games with the upstart IHL Albany Choppers. Since, he has begun a hockey and golf training academy called Ollson Sports Group, based in his hometown, the suburban Ottawa community of Nepean, Ontario. Ollson is 48.

Troy Murray: A Chicago Blackhawks legend who played eight games for the Ice in 1993-94, before being traded to the Ottawa Senators late in the season. Murray had three goals and three assists for the Ice in those eight games. Murray is best known for a 15-year NHL career that began in 1982 after finishing his NCAA career (and winning a national title) at North Dakota. He would be a mainstay in Chicago for the next nine seasons. His biggest year was a 45-goal, 54-assist year in 1985-86, the second of five straight 20-goal seasons. He would be traded to Winnipeg in 1991 (along with ex-Ice player Warren Rychel) and play two years for the Jets, before being traded back to Chicago in 1993 (for former Ice player Steve Bancroft). He finished off the 1994 season with Ottawa, would be dealt to Pittsburgh in a deadline deal a year later, and play his final NHL season in 1995-96 with Colorado, where he hoisted the Stanley Cup. He retired after the 1996-97 season, which he played in the IHL for the Chicago Wolves. All told, he played 915 NHL games, totaling 230 goals and 354 assists, in addition to 875 PIMs. Today, Murray is a color commentator on the Blackhawks' radio broadcasts. A native of Calgary, Alberta, he is 49.

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