Saturday, June 3, 2017

1976-77 Los Angeles Kings Vic Venasky Jersey

Vic Venasky played college hockey for the University of Denver beginning in 1970-71, arriving in a flourish with 20 goals and 56 points in just 36 games to lead the Pioneers in scoring. While they lost in the national semifinals, Denver defeated Harvard 1-0 in the third place game that season. His prolific debut caught the attention of NHL scouts and Venasky was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round of the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.

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Venasky doing a great hockey stop as a Pioneer

Venasky, born on this date in 1951, duplicated exactly his 20 goals and 56 points again in 1971-72 for Denver, only this time needing just 21 games to do so after being sidelined with torn knee ligaments.

After just two seasons of college hockey, Venasky made the jump directly to the NHL with the Kings for the 1972-73 season, totaling 15 goals and 34 points as a rookie.

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Venasky was named the Kings Rookie of the Year

For the 1973-74 season, Venasky split time between the Los Angeles Kings, scoring 11 points in 32 games, the Springfield Kings of the American Hockey League, putting up 23 points in 21 games, as well as playing in 10 games with the Portland Buckaroos of the Western Hockey League, scoring 12 points. He also added 7 goals in 10 playoff games with the Buckaroos.

Despite being limited to just 37 games in the 1974-75 season, Venasky again saw ice time with three different clubs, those being the Fort Worth Texans of the Central Hockey League for 14 games, 6 with the Springfield Kings and 17 with Los Angeles of the NHL.

Venasky was back full time with Los Angeles for the 1975-76 season, playing in all 80 games, where he set a personal NHL best with 18 goals and 44 points. He also made his NHL playoff debut with 9 games that season.

1974-75 Los Angeles Kings photo 1975-76LAKingsteam.jpg
The 1975-76 Los Angeles Kings

He again played in all 80 of the Kings games in 1976-77, coming close to matching his previous season when he scored 14 goals and 40 points. He also scored his only NHL playoff goal that season with another 9 games in the postseason.

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Venasky played seven seasons with the Kings

Venasky, a center, saw a drop off in his scoring for the final two seasons of his time with the Kings. Despite playing in 71 games in 1977-78, he managed just 3 goals and 13 points. It was more of the same in 1978-79, as Venasky scored 4 goals and 17 points in 73 games to close out his NHL career with 61 goals and 101 assists for 162 points.

The 1979-80 season saw Venasky back in the AHL, this time with the Binghamton Dusters, where he went out in style by bookending his debut 56 point season in Denver by matching that exactly with another 56 point season, while setting a career high in goals with 25 in his final season as a professional player.

Today's featured jersey is a 1976-77 Los Angeles Kings Vic Venasky jersey. When the Kings jerseys were first introduced in the 1967-68 expansion year, the purple and gold colors were a shocking addition to the NHL's color palette of the day, as only the gold Bruins jerseys departed from the red, white blue and black colors used by the other five Original Six clubs.

Additionally, the Kings gold jerseys were a unique departure, as all the other 11 teams in 1967-68 wore white jerseys at home.

In 1969 the Kings added white trim to their previously one color numbers. The following season names appeared on their gold jerseys and were occasionally used on the purple ones for games on television before becoming a permanent fixture in 1977.

This basic jersey style would remain in use from the Kings debut in 1967 through the end of the 1979-80 season.

Los Angeles Kings 1976-77 jersey photo LosAngelesKings1976-77jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video section is a career retrospective of Venasky on the occasion of his being inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.

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