Showing posts with label st. louis blues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label st. louis blues. Show all posts

Monday, August 5, 2013

Gord Brooks of the Philadelphia Firebirds

gord brooks philadelphia firebirds nahl
Gord Brooks played two years in the North American Hockey League, 1975-76 and 1976-77, both with the Philadelphia Firebirds. As a junior, he was part of a historic London Knights event. He played parts of three years in the National Hockey League and was an award winner in the AHL.

Gord Brooks – NAHL

In 1975-76, Brooks scored 39 goals and assisted on 54 for 93 points over 66 regular season games with the Firebirds. His 93 points placed him just third on the high scoring Philadelphia squad. However, in the Lockhart Cup playoffs, Gord led the way with 15 goals and 32 points over 16 games as the Firebirds won the championship with a final series victory over the Beauce Jaros.

The following year, Brooks stepped up his offensive performance but the Firebirds were a bit of a dud as a team. With 65 goals and 59 assists for 124 points over 74 regular season games, Gord led the team in goals and points. In the NAHL, he was second in goals and fourth in points. However, Philadelphia lost in the opening round of the playoffs to the Erie Blades. Following that, the NAHL ceased to exist and the Firebirds joined the American Hockey League. Brooks went along for the ride.

Gord Brooks – Junior

Gord played two years in the Ontario Hockey Association (what is now the OHL) in 1968-69 and 1969-70. His first year was spent with the Hamilton Red Wings (the current day Erie Otters).

During the 1969-70 season, Brooks was traded from Hamilton to the London Knights. He played 12 games for London in the playoffs with the Knights winning their first ever playoff series with an opening round victory over the Peterborough Petes. London then fell to the Toronto Marlboros in the following round.

Gord Brooks – Pro Hockey

The St. Louis Blues selected Brooks in the fourth round of the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, 51st overall. He played a total of 70 regular season games in the National Hockey League, two with the Blues in 1971-72, 30 more with St. Louis in 1973-74 and 15 with the Washington Capitals in their inaugural season, 1974-75.

He played pro from 1970-71 to 1983-84, appearing in the CHL, NHL, WHL, AHL, NAHL, IHL and Austria. 1977-78 was a definite career highlight on a personal achievement level. With the Philadelphia Firebirds, in their first year in the AHL, Gord put up 42 goals and 56 assists for 98 points over 81 games. His point total tied him with Rick Adduono of the Rochester Americans for the league high and earned him a share of the John B. Sollenberger Trophy. Adduono saw time in the NAHL, as well, with two games as a member of the Binghamton Dusters in 1975-76.

He started the 1980-81 season in Austria but returned to finish off the year in the IHL with the Saginaw Gears. In his 39 regular season games for Saginaw, Brooks contributed a decent 42 points. In the Turner Cup playoffs, he totalled 17 points over 13 games. The Gears swept the Kalamazoo Wings in the final series to capture the championship.

In 1981-82, Brooks played a full year with Saginaw and turned up the offensive volume. Over 82 regular season games, he scored 49 goals and assisted on 64 for 113 points. His point total placed him third in the league. The Gears once again reached the Turner Cup finals but were ousted by the Toledo Goaldiggers in five games. It was, for the most part, the swan song of Gord’s career.


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.