Monday, June 11, 2012
Absurd Goalie Monday: Mike Curran
Some of these AGMs come just by looking up things online and stumbling on a name. This week's AGM was a different adventure and someone who I wouldn't have thought of doing unless sparked by this. As a birthday gift, my wonderful friend Jen Conway got me the picture above; as she knows I like goalies and obscure ones. As I looked into it, he may not have left the midwest, but he had himself a nice little career from it. This week, the profile of Mike Curran.
Coming out of International Falls, Minnesota; Curran was an All-State goalie and led his high school team to a pair of Minnesota State high school championships, as well as posting a 0.78 GAA in the 1960-61 season, a record that still stands today. After playing a year in the USHL for the Green Bay Bobcats; Curran moved to the University of North Dakota starting in the 1965-66 season. Curran played three seasons and had a record of 54-28-4 in 86 appearances. Curran would also lead UND to two WCHA Championships, and two NCAA finals bids-- losing both times, first to Ken Dryden and Cornell Big Red and the second to the Denver Pioneers. Curran is 4th in all-time wins at UND and is top-ten in games played, goals-against average, save percentage, and saves.
After that season, Curran would move onward to the United States National Team to prepare for the 1972 Winter Olympics. Curran played in the 1969, 1970, and 1971 World Championships, while moving onward to play for the United States in the Winter Games, leading them to a silver medal and being named MVP of the US team for his performance.
Following his time with the US team, Curran moved to the WHA, where he was selected be the Minnesota Fighting Saints when the league started in the 1972-73 season, where he would go 23-17-2 in 44 games and play in the 1973 WHA All-Star Game. In the 1973-74 season, Curran stayed steady with a 23-14-2 record in 40 games, but by the 1974-75 season; Curran would see his time dwindle (due to an upstart and former AGM named John Garrett) playing only 26 games and registering a 11-10-1 record. In the 1975-76 season, Curran only played five games with a 2-2-0 record; as the Fighting Saints would suspend operations 59 games into the season. Curran would also play nine games in the NAHL with the Johnstown Jets with a 7-2-0 record to show.
Curran played in the 1976 Canada Cup for the US for three games with an 0-2-1 record. The Fighting Saints reconfigured for the 1976-77 season, but Curran would only see 16 games of play (4-7-3), as this Fighting Saints would fold 42 games into the season. Curran went to the AHL with the Rochester Americans for nine games and compile a 1-4-1 record. Curran would retired after that season.
USA Hockey named Curran the Goalie of the 1970s for the organziation; participating in seven international events for the US. He was elected into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998, as well as being elected into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1999.
Oddly enough, if not for someone know my love for the obscure and absurd between the pipes, I wouldn't have known about Curran's topsy-turvy time through the WHA and then representing his country as much as he did in the international field of play. Even though it all, the consistency and surprise of what he did with the 1972 Olympics will shine on for the longest time for amateur competition.