Monday, December 06, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Darren Eliot

(Photo by Sal's Custom Hockey Cards)

While we have gone through many goalies thus far, this week's inductee could possibly be the most educationally decorated. In fact, he could be more known for his academia, as well as his post-career work, than his playing career. Even in that, he made the cut for this week's AGM-- it's Darren Eliot.

Eliot first came onto the scene in Oshawa with first the minor-midget Oshawa Parkway TV in the 1977-78 season playing 18 games, then moving to the Junior B Oshawa Legionnaires in the 1978-79 season for 26 games.

Starting the 1979-80 season, Eliot's academic prowess helped him to get into Cornell University, an Ivy League school in New York-- where he would play 26 games in his freshman year, going 14-8-0, as well as going 3-2 in the playoffs, which helped Cornell win the ECAC championship. Thanks to that, Eliot would be selected in the sixth round of the 1980 Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. The 1980-81 season saw him split time with former AGM, Brian Hayward, and Eliot would play 18 games with a 8-7-0 and go 1-1 in three playoff games. It would be bad for Eliot in the 1981-82 season, as he would only play seven games with a 1-3-0 record. It would kick back into effect for Eliot in the 1982-83 season, as he would get in 26 games and have a 13-10-3 record. With that, Eliot got ECAC First Team All-Star and NCAA First Team All-Star.

Upon graduating Cornell, Eliot got a degree in Agricultural Economics, elected to the Sphinx Head Society (students who have great character and leadership), as well as the Red Key Society (excellence in academics and athletics).

To keep his amateur status alive, Eliot would play for the Canadian National Team for the 1983-84 season in order to play for the Canadian Olympic Team. With the team during exhibitions, Eliot played 31 games and would get in two games to relieve another former AGM, Mario Gosselin.

After the Olympics, Eliot would jump to the pros and play for the AHL's New Haven Nighthawks to end out the 1983-84 season, going 4-1-0 in his seven games to round out the season. The 1984-85 season saw Eliot up with the Kings to be the back up to Dan Janecyk. Eliot would see 33 games of time, going 12-11-6; and hold the distinction of being the goalie who allowed Wayne Gretzky's 1,000 point (an assist). The 1985-86 season had Eliot start out in Los Angeles, playing behind Janecyk again for 27 games, but with a 5-17-3 record. Later in the year, Eliot was sent to New Haven, where he played three games (1-2-0) in the regular season and 0-1 in the playoffs. Eliot would start the 1986-87 season in New Haven for four games (2-2-0) before making the trek over to Los Angeles to back up Rollie Melanson with Eliot getting in 24 games and compiling a 8-13-2 record for the year.

For the 1987-88 season, Eliot signed on with the Detroit Red Wings, but would start and play most of the season with the AHL's Adirondack Red Wings, were he would play 43 games with a 23-11-7 record in the regular season. Eliot would have a 4-6 record in ten playoff games, as well. There was a short stint with Detroit, where Eliot would go 0-0-1 in three games.

One and done in Detroit, as Eliot would sign with the Buffalo Sabres for the 1988-89 season; but again-- most of the time was spent in the AHL-- this time with the Rochester Americans. With the Amerks, Eliot played 23 games behind another former AGM, Darcy Wakaluk, and Eliot would have an 8-6-2 record. Eliot would have a two game call-up to Buffalo, but both in relief duty. After that season, Eliot hung up the pads after only five NHL seasons.

Yet, with the college path and experience, Eliot parlayed that into his post-hockey career. It started with Computer Methods Corporation, a software-consulting firm, which had Eliot as president from 1997-99. Yet, the hockey bug bit Eliot again, as he signed onto the Atlanta Thrashers broadcasting team in their first season, a position he still holds today. Eliot has also written about hockey for Sports Illustrated since 2001, as well as being a commentator for the NHL on Versus.

Even with growing up in a very heavy major junior influence market, Eliot did what was best for him and went the US College route and it given him a very solid lifestyle after hockey. While he didn't have the most memorable of careers, he shined bright when he was there-- even if for one season.

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