Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mike Zuke: 1976-77 Mohawk Valley Comets Goal Scoring Leader

mike zuke st. louis blues o-pee-chee hockey card


Mike Zuke played just 48 games in the North American Hockey League in 1976-77, the NAHL’s final season. Yet, Zuke led the Mohawk Valley Comets with 42 goals while appearing in 65% of the team’s 74 regular season games. The goal total placed him tied for eighth in the NAHL with Henry Taylor of the Johnstown Jets.

1976-77 was Zuke’s first year of pro hockey after four years with Michigan Tech. Mike remains Michigan Tech’s all-time leader in goals, assists and points. He finished the 1976-77 season with 42 goals and 29 assists for 71 points. He also appeared in fifteen games in the World Hockey Association with the Indianapolis Racers.

The 1976-77 Comets went through a pair of player / coach’s in Bob Woytowich and Bill Horton. The team reached the post season but fell in the first round to the Binghamton Dusters. Zuke didn’t play in the playoffs. The Indianapolis Racers lost in the second round of the WHA playoffs but Mike didn’t appear in any of those games, either.

Pro Hockey

Mike was drafted into the two major hockey leagues in 1974. At the NHL Amateur Draft, the St. Louis Blues took him in the fifth round, 79th overall. In the WHA Amateur Draft, it was the Indianapolis Racers selecting him in the fourth round, 47th overall. He would go on to play for both teams.

In the WHA, Zuke appeared in 86 regular season games. There was his fifteen games with the Racers in his rookie season while the rest of WHA games were played the following year with the Edmonton Oilers.

Mike moved to the National Hockey League for the 1978-79 season, escaping the WHA a year before the rebel league’s demise. He played 455 regular season games in the NHL between 1978-79 and 1985-86 with the St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers.

After several years behind the bench as assistant coach of his hometown Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League in the 1990’s, Zuke has settled in St. Louis, Missouri. He currently owns Mike Zuke Enterprises, a company that specializes in sports apparel.

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