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This exceptional athlete enjoyed an amateur and professional hockey career that spanned the 1980s to the 2000s and included success at all levels of play. While growing up in Port Arthur, he was not only a stand-out on the ice, but he was also a successful cross-country runner, claiming the All-Ontario Cross Country bantam title and the 1982 OFSAA junior boys’ crown. Developing his hockey skills moving up through the minor ranks, he won a bronze medal with Andrews at the 1982-83 National Air Canada Cup Midget championships, earning top-scoring and All-Star honours. With the Orillia Travelways of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, he led the OJHL in scoring, was rookie of the year, and competed in the 1983-84 Centennial Cup national finals.

Drafted 32nd overall, as the second choice of the St. Louis Blues in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, he attended the University of North Dakota. Following a successful freshman year, he spent a season with the Canadian National Team. Returning to the Fighting Sioux for the 1986-87 season, his 46 goals and 70 assists set a yet-to-be broken NCAA record. Helping lead UND to the NCAA national title, he was named the 1987 Hobey Baker Award recipient as the top US college hockey player, the only player from northwestern Ontario ever to be so honoured.

Making his NHL debut during the 1987 playoffs, he joined the St. Louis Blues line-up fulltime for the 1987-88 season. Skating in 758 NHL regular season games between 1987 and 2003, he amassed 132 goals and 239 assists and competed in 41 NHL playoff games, scoring 7 goals and assisting on 7 others, with four of those goals coming in one game in 1988, setting a Blues playoff record. Throughout his NHL career, he spent time with the Quebec Nordiques, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers and the Dallas Stars, winning a Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999.

His time in the IHL and AHL included 363 games and 494 points as well as league top scoring and MVP awards. In 2004, he added a Calder Cup to his trophy case, winning the AHL title with the Milwaukee Admirals.

Initially retiring from the pro ranks in 2005, he briefly returned to the AHL in 2009-2010 with the Houston Aeros and has passed along his hockey knowledge as a coach with Wisconsin's Concordia University and within the Milwaukee Admirals developmental system.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 2013

Tony Hrkac

Thunder Bay
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