Saturday, October 23, 2010
The only player in NHL ever born in Jamaica, Graeme Townshend was born on this date in 1965. He moved to Canada in 1969 and eventually played college hockey in the United States at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the ECAC for four years with a high of 22 points in 31 games as a senior.
At the conclusion of his college career, he was signed by the Boston Bruins organization who assigned him to their farm team, the Maine Mariners of the AHL. He spent the majority of the 1989-90 season, but made his NHL debut with four games in Boston, becoming the first Jamaican born player ever in the NHL.
He was back in Maine for more seasoning in 1990-91, but did manage 18 games with the Bruins, which included the first two goals of his career.
For the next two seasons he became a member of the New York Islanders organization after signing a free agent deal. Again, Townshend spend the majority of his time in the AHL, now with the Capital District Islanders, including an AHL high of 29 goals and 50 points in 1992-93. In two years he did skate in 9 games with the parent club where the right wing added another goal to his stats.
On the move again, Townshend signed with the Ottawa Senators for 1993-94, playing in a career best 14 NHL games that season. In his 56 games with the AHL's Prince Edward Island Senators, he scored 16 goals and 29 points.
Beginning in 1994-95, Townshend began a tour of duty in the IHL. He played three games with the Minnesota Moose and found some stability with the Houston Aeros, where the rugged grinder played 71 games, scoring 19 goals an registering a career high 204 penalty minutes.
Houston was good for his career and it showed with back to back 21 goal seasons in 1995-96 and 1996-97. He was also named the IHL's Man of the Year in 1996.
He played single games for the Aeros and Utah Grizzlies at the start of 1997-98 before joining the Lake Charles Ice Pirates of the short-lived Western Professional Hockey League. He led the club in scoring with 43 goals and 44 assists for 87 points. After one more season with Lake Charles he retired as a player and has stayed active in hockey, including coaching, and is now running Townshend Hockey Skating Systems as well as being the skating and skills coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Today's featured jersey is a 1989-90 Boston Bruins Graeme Townshend jersey. This classic Bruins jersey was adopted in 1974 and underwent minor changes, such as the addition of a secondary logo and names on the back, but remain essentially the same through 1995.
Here are the two goals Townshend scored while a member of the Boston Bruins.
Here is Townshend teaching at his hockey school, which focuses on skating to take advantage of the new rules in hockey.