Monday, July 23, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Bill McKenzie

Getting to the NHL was touch back in the day. It was even tougher to stay in the NHL during the first expansion era due to how bad the teams were when they get expanded. However-- this AGM did the most out of bad situations, coming off of a stellar college career and then rolling with the punches to see if he could make it stick. This week, the profile of Bill McKenzie.

McKenzie started off in the US College route, playing for the Ohio State University starting in the 1969-70 season and ending his tenure three years later in the 1971-72 season. No records were given for those years, but McKenzie played 71 games in that time span; winning the 1972 CCHA Tournament MVP and the 1972 All-Tournament Team as the Ohio State won the CCHA. McKenzie would graduate in 1972 from the Ohio State.

Before the start of the 1972-73 season, McKenzie signed with the Detroit Red Wings. That season, McKenzie would play for the Port Huron Wings of the IHL for 45 games with two shutouts, then going 3-2 in the five playoff appearances. The 1973-74 season, McKenzie would play 13 games with Detroit-- finishing there with a 4-4-4 record, while going 8-13-2 in 29 games with the Virginia Wings of the AHL; as well as playing two games over in Britain with the London Lions. The 1974-75 season, McKenzie would again play 13 games with Detroit, but would put together a 1-9-2 record, while in Virginia; he would compile a 8-6-0 record in 14 games.

During the summer of 1975, McKenzie and Gary Bergman would be traded to the Kansas City Scouts for Peter McDuffe and Glen Burdon. McKenzie would spend the entire 1975-76 season with the Scouts, but put a disappointing 1-16-1 record together in 22 appearances.

The Scouts would move to Colorado to become the Rockies before the 1976-77 season and McKenzie would play in five games for them-- finishing with a 0-2-1 record. Also the season, McKenzie would play in the AHL with the Providence Reds for two games (0-1-1), as well as in the Central League with the Oklahoma City Blazers for six games (2-3-1) and then finishing strong with the Kansas City Blues for 10 games (7-2-1), then going 8-2 in the 10 playoff games to help the Blues win the Adams Cup, taking home the Max McNab Trophy for Playoff MVP.

McKenzie bounced around again in the 1977-78 season, playing in Colorado for 12 games (3-6-2), then to the AHL for the Hampton Gulls for 12 games (7-4-0) and then the Philadelphia Firebirds for five games (1-4-0). The 1978-79 season would have McKenzie playing in the Central League for the Tulsa Oilers, posting a 6-25-1 record in 35 games.

The 1979-80 season would have McKenzie having one last hurrah in the NHL with the Rockies, playing in 26 games and putting together a 9-12-3 record, while also being in the Central League for the Fort Worth Texans for nine games and putting up a 2-5-1 record. After that season, McKenzie would retire, tied for the most career and single-season shutout record for the Rockies, as well as the lowest GAA for a season and career.

Post-playing career, McKenzie went back to his Alma Mater at the Ohio State to be a volunteer assistant coach for the the men's and women's team until the 2009-10 season.

With many bumps in the roads in dealing with a lot of expansion team issues, the drive was still there for McKenzie, which showed when he helped the KC Blues to win the title after struggling with the three other teams. He persevered and showed his true colors when it came to loving the game and succeed at some levels, even if it wasn't the top level.

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