Sunday, October 18, 2009

1969-70 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Mike Antonovich Jersey

Born on this date in 1951, Mike Antonovich is a legend in Minnesota High School Hockey, being named to the All-Tournament team three years in a row, from 1967 to 1969, as well as the tournament's leading scorer in both 1968 and 1969 for Greenway of Coleraine as he led Greenway to a pair of state championship titles. He once scored over 50 goals in a 20 game season. He was also recently named to the All-Time All-Tournament First Team along with the likes of Neal Broten, John Mayasich, Henry Boucha and Phil Housley.

Antonovich Greenway, Antonovich Greenway
Greeway of Coleraine's Mike Antonovich

Antonovich spent three seasons at the University of Minnesota, starting in 1969-70 when he burst onto the scene with 23 goals and 20 assists for 43 points in just 32 games, leading the Gophers in scoring by ten points and a to a league title. The following season he would score 32 points in 32 games, but compete in only 13 games in 1971-72, but manage 10 points to maintain his more than point a game average for his college career.

Antonovich Gophers, Antonovich Gophers
Antonovich during his Gopher days

He was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars 113th overall, but would elect to play for his former college coach Glen Sonmor with the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association beginning in the 1972-73 season.

Antonovich Fighting Saints, Antonovich Fighting Saints
Antonovich early in the Fighting Saints first season
wearing the "S" logo jersey

During this time he was even featured in an article about the rise of US hockey players in Sports Illustrated. He would play four seasons for the Fighting Saints before they folded, scoring at least twenty goals in every season. Following the demise of the Fighting Saints, Antonovich would finish the season with the Minnesota North Stars and then competing for the United States at the 1976 World Championships.

Antonovich Fighting Saints, Antonovich Fighting Saints
Antonovich certainly embraced the longer hair styles of the early 1970's!

The following season would see Antonovich shuffle between the reborn Fighting Saints, the Edmonton Oilers and finally the New England Whalers of the WHA, totaling 40 goals along the way and then finishing the season by playing in the 1977 World Championships. The following two years with New England would see his 20 goal streak stretch to seven seasons.

Antonovich Whalers, Antonovich Whalers
Antonovich while with the Whalers in the WHA
as evidenced by the "harpoon W" logo

From that point he would play for the Whalers in their first NHL season for five games before spending the next three seasons in the minors, plus another appearance for the USA at the World Championships in 1982 before getting in 68 games with the New Jersey Devils in 1982-83 and 1983-84.

His final NHL totals show 10 goals, 15 assists and 25 points in 87 games to go along with his WHA career totals of 182 goals and 188 assists for 370 points in 486 games.

Today's featured jersey is a 1969-70 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Mike Anotonovich jersey. This is a very rare jersey, as it was purchased as part of a custom group order for members of the Golden Gophers online forum and was never available through any online or retail stores until being made available by Vintage Minnesota This style was used from 1969-70 to 1971-72.

Minnesota Gophers 69-72 jersey, Minnesota Gophers 69-72 jersey
Minnesota Gophers 69-72 jersey, Minnesota Gophers 69-72 jersey

Here is Antonovich scoring a goal for the New England Whalers in 1979.

This next video is a look at the upcoming second season of the Fighting Saints, which features a few appearances by Anotonovich. Be certain to notice the clear boards they used to have at the St. Paul Civic Center, a unique and distinctive feature of the Civic Center before age and dasherboard advertising made them obsolete.

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