Monday, August 22, 2011

Today in history: August 22

1979: The Indianapolis Checkers come into existence. The franchise was created on Aug. 1, but the new name Checkers was announced on this date. Also, the team announced it had signed its first player, former Racers goaltender Jim Park. The Checkers would spend five years in the Central Hockey League as a team owned by -- and the top affiliate of -- the New York Islanders. The Checkers franchise existed in some form for 25 years -- starting in the "old" CHL, transferring to the IHL in 1984 when the former league folded. The team went dark in 1987 for one year, and then came back in 1988 as the Ice. That franchise existed through 1999 in the IHL and through 2004 in the "new" CHL. The franchise would be transferred to Topeka, Kan., and the assets of the team were sold to the new USHL Indiana Ice franchise that year. 

Mike Zanier: Checkers goaltender from 1985-87. He played 61 games in the blue and orange -- 47 in the 1985-86 season, when he posted a 3.33 GAA. The previous year, he played three NHL games in Edmonton for a team that would eventually win the Stanley Cup. As a rookie, he also dressed for two games in the 1984 Stanley Cup Finals, including the clinching game. His name did not appear on the Cup because he did not actually play. After his stint with the Checkers, he went to Europe and played through 1999 -- with the exception of the 1992-93 season spent with CHL Dallas. A native of Trail, BC, he is 49. 
Bryon Paulazzo: Forward who played 54 games for the Ice in 2009-10, totaling 21 goals and 33 assists. He also had a goal and two assists in the playoffs that season. He is now a sophomore at Miami University, where he tallied 11 points in his freshman year. A native of Redwood City, Calif., he is 22. 

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