Monday, October 24, 2011

Today in history: October 24

One birthday today
Ray LeBlanc: Ice goaltender from 1989-94, one of the longest-tenured players in team history. LeBlanc appeared in 109 games with the Ice, posting a 54-38-11 record. He was primarily a backup to Jim Waite and Dominik Hasek from 1989-91, and he spent much of the 1991-92 season with the United States National Team --where he became a national hero for his play in goal, leading the USA to a fourth-place finish. He had a 2.20 GAA that year, and earned a start with the Blackhawks and won his only NHL game 5-1 against San Jose. Upon returning from the Olympics, LeBlanc started 25 games for the Ice and nearly carried a team that had been down-and-out into the playoffs. The Ice went 14-9-2 with him in the pipes. In his first game back, he got a 10-minute standing ovation from the Kalamazoo Wings fans in a road building. He got the bulk of the work in 1992-93, going 23-22-7 in 56 games, posting a 3.86 GAA. He also started all five playoff games -- his only postseason starts since one game in 1991. He would go to the Cincinnati Cyclones early in the 1993-94 season, and then play several more years in the IHL, ECHL and UHL with Chicago, Flint and Jacksonville, before retiring in 2000. A native of Fitchburg, Mass., he is 47. Today, he lives near St. Petersburg, Fla. 

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