Monday, October 25, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Wendell Young

Last week, I mentioned THN's 100 greatest players by position and they do make a valid case, but when it comes to decorated in all of hockey, this week's AGM could be in the running. As it stands, he's the only goalie in hockey history to win the Memorial Cup in Major Juniors, Calder Cup in the AHL, Turner Cup in the IHL, and the Stanley Cup. While he might not be memorable to some, the accolades speak for themselves. This week, we look at Wendell Young.

Young's career started in Junior "A" with the Cole Harbour Colts, where the young netminder played in 25 games sporting a 3.90 GAA. When old enough, Young transitioned to the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers, where we played well behind a good enough team to be the starter at 17 in the 1980-81, getting 42 games in with a 19-15-0 record, but would truly shine in the playoffs. Young and the Rangers would roll through the OHL playoffs, as Young would go 9-1 in 14 games; leading the Rangers to the Robertson Cup and then into the Memorial Cup. In the Mem Cup, Kitchener would fall in the final to the Cornwall Royals. Because of his play, Young got drafted in the 1981 Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. With plenty of confidence, Young returned to the Rangers, getting more time in net, playing 60 games with a record of 38-17-2; setting up more domination in the playoffs with the Rangers, as Young had a 12-1 record in 15 games; setting up back-to-back Robertson Cup crowns. The Memorial Cup was a different story this time, as the Rangers beat the Sherbrooke Castors to take home the 1982 Memorial Cup.

That Memorial Cup team for the Rangers had a great roster in front of Young, including Scott Stevens, Mike Eagles, and Brian Bellows, all (sans Eagles) went to win Stanley Cups.

The 1982-83 season would see Young stick in Kitchener and dominate in the regular season once again with a 41-19-0 record in 61 games, but the Rangers would be knocked out in the second round of the playoffs, thwarting the dynasty the Rangers had.

Young would be going pro for the 1983-84 season and would get his travel money worth for that first year pro. Young would split the season between three teams in three leagues-- first with the Fredericton Express in the AHL (7-3-0 in 11 games), the Milwaukee Admirals in the IHL (4-1-1 in six games), and the bulk of it in the Central League with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles (11-6-0 in 20 games, 0-2 in four playoff games). It would settle for Young in the 1984-85 season, where he would stay with Fredericton for the season, playing behind Clint Malarchuk. Because of that, he would only get into 22 games, going 7-11-3 for the season.

Starting in the 1985-86 season, Young would be splitting between Fredericton and Vancouver, starting with Fredericton, playing 24 games going 12-8-4 before getting the call-up to Vancouver to back-up Richard Brodeur. While with Vancouver, Young would get 22 games with a 4-9-3 and getting in one game of playoff action, a losing effort. For the 1986-87 season, Young would continue his cross-country venture from Fredericton to Vancouver (almost a 3,600 mile trek, mind you), though he would spend the bulk of his time in Fredericton, playing 30 games with a 11-16-0 record, spending only eight games in Vancouver with a 1-6-1 record.

In the summer of 1987, Young would get traded from Vancouver to Philadelphia for a third round pick in the 1988 draft. While Young would get a call-up to Philadelphia for six games (3-2-0), Young would continue to ply his craft in the AHL with the Hershey Bears for the 1987-88 season, where he would have a career year. Young would play 51 games, going 33-15-1 for the regular season, but in the playoffs-- Young and the Bears would go a perfect 12-0 in route to the Calder Cup championship; beating Young's old team in Fredericton in the Finals. Young would be the 1988 Jack A. Butterfield Trophy winner for Playoff MVP, Baz Bastien Memorial Award for top goaltender, as well as first team all-star.

With his stock high, Young was traded from the Flyers to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the September of 1988 with a 7th Round choice for a 3rd round choice in the 1990 Draft. With the Penguins, Young would be the starter to begin with, but an ankle injury derailed his starting role. Despite a stop in Muskegon of the IHL (1-0-1 in two games), Young would play 22 games in Pittsburgh, going 12-9-0 for the year. For the 1989-90 season, Young would get a chance at the starter's gig again, playing in 43 games with a record of 16-20-3. However, for the 1990-91 season, Young would lose his gig to Tom Barrasso, so he would only 18 games of play in. Part of that was also coupled with a shoulder injury, but Young would go 4-6-2 in those 18 games. Though he didn't play in the playoff; Young would be along for the ride to be a member of the 1991 Penguins' Stanley Cup championship team. The 1991-92 season would see Young riding shotgun again to Barrasso, again with 18 games of play in, which also coupled with a fractured right hand late in the season. Young would go 7-6-0 in the regular season and be a part of the Stanley Cup championship team again.

Despite those things, Young was left unprotected in the 1992 Expansion Draft and holds the title of being the first ever member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. From Cup champs to a new team would be a change for Young and it showed. Young played only 31 games for the Bolts in the 1992-93 season, bothered by shoulder injuries in the process, and would go 7-19-2. Young would also play for the IHL's Atlanta Knights going 3-0-0 in his three starts. It was not a kind 1993-94 season for Young, as a shoulder injury in training camp sidelined him for 53 games. When he got healthy, Young would go 2-0-0 in his two games with Atlanta, but would play only nine games with Tampa going 2-3-1.

Before the lockout, the Bolts loaned out Young to the Chicago Wolves of the IHL for the 1994-95 season. Young would play 37 games for the Wolves that season and have a 14-11-7 record. However, the Bolts would trade Young back to the Penguins for future considerations. Young would play 10 games back with the Penguins, going 3-6-0 in what would be his last NHL action.

In the summer of 1995, Young would sign with the Wolves for some IHL action and the start of a solid relationship between the two. Young would take the starting role for the 1995-96 season, playing 61 games with a 30-20-6 record, but when the playoffs came around, Young would only go 4-5 for the Wolves. Though his games would cut down in the 1996-97 season, Young would still play well, going 25-21-4 in 53 games, but would have the Wolves bow out early again as Young would go 1-3 in four playoff games. It was different for the 1997-98 season, as Young would go 31-14-3 in 51 games, but he would finally break through the playoff slump with a 5-3 and helping to win Turner Cup with the Wolves, thus adding to his mantle. For the 1998-99 season, Young would have to share the net with former AGMs Pat Jablonski and Glenn Healy coming through, which would see him get in 35 games and a 20-10-4 record. Despite a championship, the Wolves would bow out early with Young going 4-3. Young had a bounceback year for the 1999-2000 season, getting more time in net with 48 games and sporting a 32-12-4 record and would help the Wolves in the playoffs with a 5-3 record, aiding in another Turner Cup championship for the Wolves. In what would be his last season, Young would only play 35 games in the 2000-01 season and have a 17-16-3 record, but only 2-4 record in the playoffs, were the Wolves would lose to the Orlando Solar Bears in the Turner Cup Finals.

Young would hang up the pads after the Finals, with quite the resume to follow him into his next ventures. He still leads the Wolves franchise all-time in games played (322), wins (169), saves (8,467), minutes (17,912) and shutouts (16). Young's #1 is the first ever number retired in Chicago Wolves history.

After retirement, Young would be the goalie coach for the Calgary Flames from 2001 until 2003. Young would return to the Wolves in 2004 as an assistant coach and assistant GM, until recently were he took over the role of GM for the Wolves. Young was behind the bench for the Wolves 2008 Calder Cup championship, adding to his accolades. Young also runs a goaltending school in suburban Chicago.

Though he did get his Stanley Cup titles as a back-up, Young did the rest of the work on his own for his other titles and stayed in there long enough to have the chance to get these kind of accolades. Proof that hard work and dedication can pay off if you're patient enough.

1 comment:

Jack Young said...

He was not the Assistant GM of the Wolves in 2004 until he took over the role as GM. He was only the assistant coach until Kevin Cheveldayoff would leave to become the Assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks.