Tuesday, May 20, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 20

Two birthdays today: one to legendary former Ice player and coach Bruce Cassidy, and to legendary NHL pugilist Stu Grimson, who also saw a stint with the Ice, both born on the same day in 1965. 

Happy birthday to ...
Bruce Cassidy: One of the perennial faces of the Indianapolis Ice during their IHL run, the defenseman captained the team during its 1990 Turner Cup run, then rejoined the team for two-plus seasons from 1994-96, then returned in 1998 to coach the team in its final IHL season. "Butch" played 170 games for the Ice, scoring 18 goals and assisting on 79. Many of his points came in a 57-point year in 1989-90, as the Ice ran away with the West Division title and went 12-2 in the Turner Cup Playoffs. He had 11 points in 14 playoff games that season. Cassidy broke into the pro ranks in 1986-87, playing his first game with the Blackhawks. He would eventually play 36 NHL games, all in Chicago, between 1986-90. The Blackhawks drafted him 18th overall in 1983. After 1990, he played in Europe, and then returned to play his final three years with the Ice. He retired as a player after 10 games in the 1996-97 season to become head coach of the ECHL Jacksonville Lizard Kings. He returned to coach the Ice in 1998-99, leading them on a big push to get into the playoffs and win their first postseason series since hoisting the Turner Cup 10 years before, going 33-37-12. Cassidy would later become head coach of the NHL's Washington Capitals from 2002-04, and is currently head coach of the AHL's Providence Bruins. A native of Ottawa, he is 49. 
Stu Grimson: "The Grim Reaper" played five games for the Ice in 1991-92, garnering a goal, an assist and 17 penalty minutes. They would be the last minor-pro games for a player who split his first five seasons between the NHL and the minors. He stuck in the NHL that year with Chicago, and played 729 NHL games with Calgary, Chicago, Anaheim, Detroit, Hartford/Carolina, Los Angeles and Nashville. Considered one of the most feared enforcers in the game, he totaled 2,113 penalty minutes (and 39 points). He played in the 1992 Stanley Cup Final with Chicago. Since retiring as a player in 2002, he has become an attorney in Nashville, and is an analyst on Predators broadcasts. A native of Vancouver, he is 49.

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