Monday, June 25, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Mike Fountain

This draft weekend has passed and there's many who wonder what will happen to most of these prospects. As we've seen from this segment, sometimes it doesn't pan out as planned. However, this story is equally as tragic. This week's AGM was passed over in the draft, only to gain his spot in the World Juniors over two drafted and future Stanley Cup winners, only to not live up to expectation as many had thought. This week, the profile of Mike Fountain. 

The 1988-89 season is where Fountain would start with in the Junior "C" ranks with the Huntsville Blair McCanns in Ontarion, going 18-3-2 in 23 games. The 1989-90 season would have Fountain in Junior "B" with the Chatham Micmacs for 21 games (no record given), but would take home the Western Jr. "B" Championship. 

Moving to the Major Junior ranks, Fountain would start in the 1990-91 season with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds for seven games (5-2-0) before being traded to the Oshawa Generals to round out the last 30 games of his season, going 17-5-1. Fountain would stay with the Generals in the 1991-92 season, he would go 18-13-6 in 40 games. Fountain would also beat out the likes of Martin Brodeur and Chris Osgood to be the back-up of Trevor Kidd for the Canadian World Junior team, but not getting into a game.

That summer, Fountain was drafted 45th overall by the Vancouver Canucks after being passed over in his last two drafts. Fountain would start the 1992-93 season with the Canadian National team, going 7-5-1 in 13 games; as well as winning the Spengler Cup with Canada. After the Spengler Cup, Fountain moved to the AHL and the Hamilton Canucks, playing in 12 games to end the season and posting a 2-8-0 record. Fountain would spend the entire 1993-94 season with Hamilton, finishing with a 34-28-6 record in 70 games, then going 0-2 in three playoff appearances. 

The Canucks moved their affiliation to Syracuse and became the Crunch, which is where Fountain would be for the 1994-95 season, posting a 25-29-6 record in 61 appearances. For the 1995-96 season would be a struggle for Fountain in the regular season (21-27-3 in 51 games), but had a decent playoff outing with a 8-7 record in 15 games. It was a turnaround for Fountain, of sorts, in the 1996-97 season; going only 8-14-2 in 25 games with the Crunch (plus 0-2 in two playoff games); but Fountain finally got his NHL chance with the Canucks-- posting a 2-2-0 record in six games, including becoming the 19th goalie to start his career with a shutout win, as well as missing an empty net goal in his 3-0 win versus the Devils. 

Fountain was shuffled in the Canucks depth chart and moved onto the Carolina Hurricanes in the summer of 1997. Fountain would stick in the AHL with the Beast of New Haven for the bulk of the 1997-98 season; going 25-19-5 in 50 appearances, while spending three games with the Hurricanes-- losing all three.The 1998-99 season saw Fountain back with the Beast of New Haven, going 23-24-3 in 51 appearances. 

Signing with the Ottawa Senators organization in 1999, Fountain went to the IHL's Grand Rapids Griffins for the season-- playing in 36 games and compiling a 21-7-4 record, while geting a no-decision in his one appearance in Ottawa that season. The 2000-01 season had Fountain playing solidly in Grand Rapids finishing with a 34-10-6 record in 52 game and then going 5-3 in eight playoff games. Fountain would play in one game in Ottawa that season, which was a loss. 

After that season, Fountain went on a European vacation starting in the 2001-02 season, first to Russia with Lada Togliatti for two seasons, playing in 64 games total and posting 19 shutouts in two seasons-- including 14 in 2001-02; which was a Russian League record. Fountain then to Germany in the 2003-04 season with the Iserlohn Roosters for 34 games before moving back to North American to sign with the UHL's Motor City Mechanics for the 2004-05 season-- playing in three games (all losses). After that short stint, Fountain completed his 2004-05 season with the Russian 2nd League for Mechel Chelyabinsk for 17 games and posting five shutouts. 

After a year off, Fountain returned to Russia and Lada Togliatti for the 2006-07 season until the 2008-09 season, playing in a total of 84 games over those three years-- posting six shutouts in that span and averaging a 2.43 GAA. Fountain would retire after that. 

Since then, Fountain has kept going on the teaching route. During his playing days-- Fountain would be an instructor for various schools-- including Roger Neilson's hockey school. Fountain has also worked as goalie coach for the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks. Currently, he is working as the hockey director for the Walker Ice and Fitness Center in Walker, Michigan where he oversees the Learn to Play, Learn to Skate, and Hockey Association of West Kent. 

While he did beat out two potential Hall of Famers younger in his career, the shuffle and mismanagement of some teams are what stunted his development and gave him a glass ceiling he never could seem to break through. However, Fountain made his time enjoyable, having some solid seasons and dealing with the hardships of others. Now, he's passing onto others the wisdom of his travels. 

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