Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Born on this date in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in 1962, goaltender Jon Casey played college hockey for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux from 1980-81 until 1983-84, which included an appearance at the World Junior Tournament in 1982 for the United States and two NCAA national championships in 1980 and 1982.
Casey, front left, celebrates the 1982 NCAA national championship
Following his college career, the undrafted Casey would sign a free agent contract with the Minnesota North Stars in time for him to see action in two games at the conclusion of the 1983-84 season, which included his first NHL victory.
He spent the following season honing his craft with the Baltimore Skipjacks of the AHL, going 30-11-4 in 46 games. The following season was split between the Springfield Indians (9 games) and North Stars (26 games), with whom he went 11-11-1.
1986-87 saw Casey again spend the entire season in the minors, with both the Indians and the Indianapolis Checkers, where he spent the majority of his time. While he made 14 appearances with Minnesota in 1987-88, most of his action came with the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL with whom he went 24-13-5.
The departure of Don Beaupre to Washington opened up a roster spot for Casey in Minnesota in 1988-89, who assumed the starting role with 55 games played, a total which increased to 61 the following year during which he set a career high with 31 victories. Following the NHL season, Casey made his only appearance at the World Championships, going 4-2 in six games.
The 1990-91 season saw Casey finish the season with 55 appearances and a 21-20-11 record, but come to life with a 14-7 mark in the playoffs as the North Stars made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals after a posting a losing 27-39-14 record as a team during the regular season.
After two more seasons in Minnesota, making 52 then 60 appearances as well as playing in the 1993 NHL All-Star Game, Casey was traded to the Boston Bruins for the 1993-94 season where he was once more the starting goaltender with 57 appearances.
After his only season with the Bruins, Casey returned to the midwest by signing a free agent deal with the St. Louis Blues for 1994-95 to back up incumbent Curtis Joseph. After appearing in 19 games for St. Louis that season, Casey was limited to just 9 games in 1995-96 as he spent the majority of his time with the Peoria Rivermen of the IHL playing in 43 games.
His final NHL season saw him play 15 games for the Blues as well as 4 with the Worcester IceCats of the AHL. Casey would play one final season of professional hockey with the IHL's Kansas City Blades in 1997-98 prior to retiring in December of 1997 after 24 games with the Blades.
Casey's final NHL totals are 425 games played, 170 wins, 157 losses and 55 ties. He also posted 16 shutouts and a career goals against average of 3.21.
Today's featured jersey is a 1987-88 Minnesota North Stars Jon Casey jersey which features the "JM" patch worn in honor of John Mariucci, "The Godfather of American Hockey". Mariucci played for the University of Minnesota, five seasons for the Chicago Blackhawks, when American players in the NHL was a rarity, and then spent four more seasons playing in the various minor leagues of the day before retiring and entering the world of coaching.
Mariucci coached the University of Minnesota for 12 seasons with another spent as the coach of the US Olympic team, earning a silver medal in 1956. He would also coach Team USA at the 1976 and 1977 World Championships. The home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mariucci Arena, is named for John and he is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The North Stars adopted this style jersey for the 1978-79 season. This jersey would remain unchanged until 1988-89 with the addition of black to the striping pattern despite the white jerseys having black first added back in 1981, seven years earlier.