Monday, February 06, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Gord McRae

Not much to say that hasn't been said here before-- however, this week's AGM is a guy who advanced through the NCAA ranks in a time where that wasn't the normal fashion. Hell, he even toiled in senior hockey and low minors waiting for his chance. This week, the profile of Gord McRae. 

McRae came onto the scene with the Michigan Tech Huskies in the 1967-68 season and would play for three years until the 1969-70 season. He totaled 71 games through his three years, helping the Huskies win the WCHA title in 1969, while putting up the best single-season save percentage in school history at .928 in the 1967-68 season, which is one that still stands today. 

After his three years in college, McRae moved to the Eastern Hockey League in the 1970-71 season, playing in 24 games between the Jersey Devils, Jacksonville Rockets, and Charlotte Checkers; but no record was recorded-- sans a 7-0 playoff record with the Checkers to help win the championship. 

The 1971-72 season had McRae bounce around all over-- starting with the Ontario Senior League's Orillia Terriers for two games, then to the AHL's Providence Reds for three games and putting up a 2-1-0 record. However, McRae would settle down with the Central League's Tulsa Oliers, playing in 17 games, finishing with a 5-5-6 record, then going 3-4 in seven playoff games. 

In December 1971, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed McRae to a deal, but allowed him to stay in Tulsa. In the 1972-73 season, McRae split his time between Toronto, where he would go 7-3-0 in 11 games, and Tulsa, posting a 18-19-6 record in 42 games. McRae would stay in the Central League in the 1973-74 season, this time with the Oklahoma City Blazers, going 20-14-4 in his 39 games of action that season. 

The 1974-75 season saw McRae start out with the Blazers, playing in 29 games (4-16-4) before spending the rest of the season in Toronto; playing in 20 games with the Maple Leafs and finishing with a 10-3-6 record and then going 2-5 in the playoffs. McRae stayed with the Leafs in the 1975-76 season, mainly in a back-up role, finishing 6-5-2 in 20 appearances. 

However, the 1976-77 season, McRae only saw two games in Toronton (0-1-1), spending most of his time in the Central League with the Dallas Black Hawks, playing in 30 contests and compiling a 17-6-7 record, but only going 1-2 in three playoff appearances. Yet, McRae was still able to get the Terry Sawchuk Trophy for fewest goals-against and First-Team All-Star honors in the CHL. 

McRae went back to the Maple Leafs in the 1977-78 season, going 7-10-1 in 18 appearances, which would lead to his retirement after the season. Currently, he resides in Centennial, Colorado. In 2004, McRae was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame. 

While his minor league career is what many may remember and give him accolades for, the fact he was in the NCAA and was able to make a decent career as a back-up in Toronto despite being through obscure leagues and travels. Makes it more impressive that through those toils, he was able to make it to the show. 

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