August 20, 2013

Blaine Lacher: Here For A Good Time, Not A Long Time

Despite an outstanding college career at Lake Superior State, Blaine Lacher was never drafted by an NHL team.

Among his college accomplishments were winning an NCAA title in 1992, and setting the all-time consecutive scoreless streak at 375:01 minutes during the 93-94 season, when he recorded six shutouts en route to a 20-5-4 season in which he recorded a sparkling 1.98 GAA. In three seasons in the CCHA, Lacher posted a career record of 49-13-7.

While no team was willing to draft the 6'1" 205lb native of Medicine Hat, Alberta, the Boston Bruins were willing to take a chance on the kid when they signed him as a free agent on May 19, 1994. Boston signed him a little bit out of despiration as their starting goalie Jon Casey left the organization to sign as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues. The Bruins were left without a legitimate starting goalie.

Blaine surprised everyone by not only making the team but also enjoying a brilliant rookie season in the lockout shortened 1995 season. Lacher's record of 19-11-2 was impressive, but his 2.41 GAA and 4 shutouts, including back to back shutouts against New Jersey and Ottawa were even more impressive.

"It was the best year of my life," said Lacher. "I think it was more special because it was in the (Boston) Garden. You hear your whole life how old and awesome the building is, but you don't believe it until you see your first rat yourself. It was definitely more special to say I played in the Boston Garden with Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and Adam Oates."

Blaine was hit hard by the sophomore jinx in his second season. As both he and the Bruins floundered early in the season, he was sent to Providence of the AHL, and finally loaned to the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL. The following season he signed with the Grand Rapids Griffins after the Bruins bought out the remainder of his contract.

He retired early in the 96-97 season, after going 1-8-1 in the minors. The only thing faster than Lacher's rise to the top, was his fall to bottom. He points to the coaching change in Boston as a big reason for his downfall.

"I felt my first year I had so much support with the coaching staff and was a little shocked that [coach] Brian Sutter got fired," said Lacher. "He was probably my biggest supporter. When things went south the next year I didn't get the support and I didn't get played once things starting going bad. Once you get going down it was hard to reverse it.”

The last I heard of Blaine Lacher was he moved back to Medicine Hat and was working for Goodyear building tires. He also stayed involved in the minor hockey scene there.


Robert Lidstroem (Sweden( said...

Absolutely loved this post! I got interrested in the NHL thanks to hockeycards, which came booming into Sweden 1993-94 or something. And I always tried to find more info about these "one-hit-wonders"! Thanks for adding the last bit about what he does now!

Another much wanted story would be the one about the Net Detektive, Jim Carrey (Caps, Blues etc).

And Eric Fichauld and why he was in a Maple Leaf-jersey on the "Leaf"-hockeycard, even though he never played for Toronto or their farm association.

Thanks for all your excellent posts!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that Lacher dude would be a perfect interview for the likes of myself...fits right into John Blue's alley! :)