Monday, March 05, 2012
Absurd Goalie Monday: Rick Heinz
Heinz's started his trek playing in Junior "B" with the Windsor Royals and Junior "A" with the Chatham Maroons before taking the NCAA route, playing for the University of Minnesota-Duluth starting in the 1974-75 season, going 6-11-2 in 20 appearances. In his sophomore season in 1975-76, Heinz went 14-20-0 in 34 games on what many described as a terrible team, attributing Heinz's play to the success the school had on the ice. Heinz saw 23 games of action in 1976-77, finishing with a 6-15-2 record; while he finished his collegiate career in the 1977-78 season with a 13-18-1 record in 33 games.
After college, Heinz went to the IHL to play for the Port Huron Flags in the 1978-79 season, playing 54 regular season games and six playoff games before getting signed by the St. Louis Blues in April of 1979. Also in that season, Heinz played for the Blues' Central League's affiliate, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles, losing his only appearance.
Heinz got a full season with Salt Lake in the 1979-80 season, compiling a 22-11-5 record in 39 games, then 1-3 in five playoff games, while Salt Lake won the Central League title. Back in Salt Lake for the 1980-81 season; Heinz went 19-14-3 in 36 games, then going 10-4 in the playoffs; helping Salt Lake win back-to-back titles. Also in '80-'81, Heinz played four games with the Blues, going 2-1-1 in his tenure there. Heinz would against split most of the 1981-82 season between Salt Lake for 19 games (14-3-2) and the Blues for nine (2-5-0) before being on the move.
In March of 1982, Heinz, Tony Currie, and Jim Nill were traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Glen Hanlon. Heinz played only three games with the Canucks, going 2-1-0 in that span.
Crazily enough, in June 1982, Heinz was traded back to the Blues for cash. In the 1982-83 season, Heinz split again between Salt Lake and St. Louis; going 9-8-0 in Salt Lake, while going 1-5-1 while in St. Louis. As the permanent back-up for the 1983-84 season, Heinz played in 22 games for the Blues and finished with a 7-7-3 record. However in the 1984-85 season, Heinz would play the majority of the season with the IHL's Peoria Rivermen, going 24-12-4 in 43 games; then going 6-4 in 10 playoff games. Heinz was able to get the James Norris Memorial Trophy for fewest goals against in the IHL. Also, Heinz played in two games for the Blues, but only in relief appearances and no record recorded.
As a free agent, Heinz would play the 1985-86 in Salt Lake, but in the IHL this time around. In his 52 games, Heinz finished with a 22-20-0 record, then 1-4 in five playoff games, while also playing one game in the AHL with the Binghamton Whalers, which was a loss. The 1986-87 season would have Heinz go 29-20-0 in 51 games with Salt Lake, then going 12-4 in the playoffs, helping the Golden Eagles win the Turner Cup the season. Heinz would go out on top and retire after the championship.
After his career, Heinz went on to start his own goalie school, which manifest itself into an all around hockey school that has taught many college and minor pro goaltenders and NHL skaters. His schools have helped the likes of Marc Savard, Doug Gilmour, and Sean Avery. It is a school that is known all around the world despite having only eight camps in North America throughout the summer.
Though his hardships of not being able to get a solid spot in the NHL, Heinz forged his path in the minors-- taking home many individual awards and three league championships with Salt Lake. He even wrote a book about the hardships of pro hockey. Plus, his knowledge and journey has helped him make a big name for himself for younger players and guys who want to advance their hockey skills.