Thursday, July 7, 2011

Today in history: July 7

Gerry Brown: Left wing who played parts of three seasons with the Capitals, from 1941-43, and again in 1945-46. He played 127 games, with 39 goals and 60 assists. His best year was a 28-25-53 season in 48 games in 1945-46. He was part of the 1942 Calder Cup championship team, although he did not suit up in the playoffs, having been called up by the Red Wings by that point. He played 13 games for the Red Wings that season and another 10 in 1945-46. Like many players, he did not play between 1943-45 to participate in World War II, serving in the Canadian military. He had four NHL goals in those 23 games. He continued to play in the AHL until 1952, suiting up for Buffalo and Hershey after his stints with the Caps. A native of Edmonton, he was born in 1917. He passed away in August 1998. 

Tony Hrkac: A high-scoring player with the Ice in 1992-93, where he tallied 45 goals and 87 assists. His 132-point season was an Ice record and second only to Ron Handy's 135-point year in 1986-87 with the Checkers in Indianapolis hockey history. His 87 assists that year were second to Chris MacKenzie's 93 in 2000-01. He won the IHL's James Gatschene Trophy as league MVP and the Leo Lamoreux Trophy as leading scorer that season. Hrkac broke into pro hockey after a 116-point season (in 48 games) with the University of North Dakota in 1987, where he was the Hobey Baker Award winner and an NCAA champion. He played three playoff games with the St. Louis Blues that year, beginning a pro career that lasted parts of 24 seasons, finally ending in 2009-10 when he was playing for the AHL's Houston Aeros. He was the Blues' second-round pick in 1984. Hrkac played in the NHL through 1992 with four teams -- the Blues, Nordiques, Sharks and Blackhawks. He spent the entire 1992-93 season with the Ice, then split the next season with the Blues and their affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. He would spend the next four years in the IHL before going back to the NHL in 1997 with the Dallas Stars, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 1999. He played through 2003 with Dallas, Edmonton, the New York Islanders and Atlanta. He continued to play in the AHL after that. He retired after the 2005 season, then came out of retirement to play parts of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons with Houston. He had 14 playoff points in 19 games in 2009 for the Aeros. All told, Hrkac had 132 goals and 239 assists in 758 NHL games. He also had 494 points in the AHL and IHL. His number 26 is retired by the Milwaukee Admirals, where he played five seasons in two stints. Since 2007, he has also been the head coach of Concordia University in Wisconsin, the only coach in the program's history. A native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Hrkac is 45. He also has his own website:

Richard Keyes: The first pro player to come out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Keyes played four scoreless games for the Ice from 1997-99. He played both years primarily with the ECHL Columbus Chill -- who were also affiliated with the Blackhawks -- and was a big scorer for the Chill. He had a 38-goal season in 1998-99. He primarily played at the "AA" level in the ECHL and UHL before retiring in 2006. He had five 20-goal seasons as a minor pro player, and two 30-goal years -- also tallying 33 markers for ECHL Toledo in 2001-02. Today, he lives in Kalamazoo and helps operate the Kalamazoo Institute of Ice Hockey. His father, Dick Keyes, was the manager of Wings Stadium. He is 36 today. 

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