Thursday, January 12, 2012

Today in history: January 12

January 12 in Indianapolis hockey history
1945: Joe Turner is reported as being killed in action in World War II. He backstopped the Capitals’ 1941-42 Calder Cup championship team before serving in the United States Marines. He had been reported missing in action in Holland on Dec. 13, 1944. The IHL’s Turner Cup would be named for him. He was one of two former NHL players to be killed in action in WWII, the other being Dudley “Red” Garrett. 
1961: The Chiefs pepper Fort Wayne’s Reno Zanier with 41 shots and win 5-3, breaking a 15-game winless streak (0-14-1) that lasted five weeks. Denis Menard scores the game-winner midway through the third. 

Jim Skinner: Capitals defenseman in 1944-45, with one goal and four assists in 57 games -- playing alongside his brother, Morden "Ducky" Skinner. Skinner was the team captain that year. He also had an assist in five postseason games. He returned to Indianapolis as the farm director (and de facto general manager) for the Indianapolis Capitols in 1963. He played two more years for the Omaha Knights, the Red Wings' "AA" affiliate, but his career was most notable for his role as a coach and GM. He began coaching in the IHL in 1947 and won the Turner Cup that year, and then took over as the Red Wings' head coach in 1954-55. The Wings won the Stanley Cup that year, and is considered to be the first person to have kissed the Cup. He held nearly every front office job with the Red Wings, as a scout, farm system director, player personnel director and eventually general manager from 1980-82. His predecessor in that position, Ted Lindsay, played one game for the Caps. His successor, Jim Devellano, came from having the same job with the Indianapolis Checkers. Skinner is also credited with being one of the first scouts to look for players in Europe, and with helping start the NHL Entry Draft, which began in 1963. A native of Selkirk, Man., he was born in 1917. He passed away in 2007. 
Alex Pirus: A high-scoring center with the Checkers in 1980-81, tallying 25 goals and 46 assists in 79 games, the last of his five pro seasons. He had three goals and two assists in the playoffs that year, as well. He was a third-round pick of both NHL and WHA teams in 1975 while playing at Notre Dame, but opted to play with the North Stars in 1976. He had 30 goals and 58 points in 159 NHL games, including a 20-goal season in 1976-77. He has since entered hockey ministry, and is the chaplain for the Chicago Blackhawks & Wolves. A native of Toronto, he is 57. 
Cam Russell: Ice defenseman for three seasons, from 1989-92. He played 140 games with the Ice, with 12 goals and 33 assists, with 317 PIMs. He also had three assists in 15 playoff games, and was a part of the Ice's 1990 Turner Cup championship. The rugged Blackhawks' third-round pick in 1987, Russell split each of his Ice seasons with the parent club, then played full-time with the Blackhawks in 1992-93 and then on. He played his final year -- 1998-99 -- with the Colorado Avalanche. He had nine goals and 21 assists in 396 NHL games, as well as 870 PIMs. He became an assistant with QMJHL Halifax in 2000, became the team's head coach in 2006 and is currently the Mooseheads' general manager. A native of Halifax, he is 43. 
Russ Guzior: Ice center for 16 games in 2003-04, their final CHL season. He had two goals and eight assists. He played professionally from 1997-2005, primarily at the "AA" level in the ECHL, UHL and CHL. In his best years, he had 28 goals with ECHL Mobile in 1999-2000, and 29 with CHL El Paso in 2003-04. A native of Chicago, he is 38. 
Dan Sherer: A forward in his first year with the Indiana Ice. He has settled into a center position in his one year in the USHL. A native of Nashotah, Wis., he is 20.

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