A birthday post today, as five former Ice players -- IHL performers Petri Varis and Jamie Allison, CHL players Chad Spurr and Jim Shepherd, and USHL player Michael Bernardy -- were born on May 13.
Happy birthday to ...
Petri Varis: Left wing who played 77 games for the Ice in 1997-98. He had 18 goals and 54 assists in that campaign, and had a big playoff with three goals and four assists in an eventual five-game playoff loss to Orlando. Varis got the call to play for the parent Blackhawks for one game that season, his only year of playing North American pro hockey. The Sharks' sixth-round pick in 1993, he played 18 pro seasons from 1991-2009, all but one in Europe, primarily in his native Finland. A native of Varkaus, Finland, he is 45.
Jamie Allison: Defenseman who played three games for the Ice in 1998-99, tallying one assist. He had been an NHL veteran, seeing spot duty with the Calgary Flames in each of the three seasons prior to coming to the Chicago organization in 1998-99, where he played 39 NHL games and three games for the Ice. Allison continued to play in the NHL through 2006, where he had seven goals and 639 PIMs in 372 games for Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Nashville and Florida. He retired after the 2006-07 season, his 13th pro year. He currently operates youth hockey camps in Canada. A native of Lindsay, Ont., he is 39.
Jim Shepherd: Right wing who suited up for 23 games for the 2003-04 Ice, where he had five goals and 10 assists. He was a veteran of minor pro hockey, having broken in with the ECHL's Mobile Mystics and IHL's Houston Aeros in 1998-99. He had a 60-point season the following year for WPHL Austin. He played seven seasons in North America -- primarily at the ECHL/CHL level, before heading to Europe in 2005, and continuing his career through 2008. A native of Kingston, Ont., he is 37.
Chad Spurr: Right wing who played seven games for the Ice in 2000-01 after finishing his junior career and playing collegiately in Canada. He had a goal and four assists for the Ice that season, and played through 2006 in the CHL and ECHL, scoring 31 goals for CHL Bossier-Shreveport in 2003-04. He retired after the 2007 season. A native of Hamilton, Ont., he is 35.
Michael Bernardy: Defenseman who played one game for the Ice in 2006-07, and then went on to play collegiately at Div. III St. Norbert the following year. he had 11 goals and 43 points at St. Norbert. A native of Sandy, Utah, he is 28.