Goaltender Joe Junkin, who played one game in the National Hockey League totalling 8 minutes, passed away on January 11th, 2014. He succumbed to a battle with cancer.
Described as "an excellent athlete" with "unique speed and skating ability for a goaltender," Junkin appeared in a game with the Boston Bruins in the 1968-69 season. He started the night as a back up called up from the minor leagues. He finished the night with mop-up duty, finishing the last 8 minutes of the game without allowing a single goal.
He was returned to the minors shortly thereafter, never to return to the NHL. A scary eye injury threatened his whole career and cost him the 1970-71 season as his retina was reattached to his eye.
But the Lindsay, Ontario native did return, starring in the minor leagues as well as brief stints with the New Jersey Knights, the New York Golden Blades and the San Diego Mariners with the World Hockey Association.
Junkin was living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the time of his death. He was 67 years old.
Joe leaves behind a son, James Joseph Junkin, 41, of Oakton, VA and 2 grandsons, Jacob Aiden, 9, and Collin James, 7, Junkin, also of Virginia. James was born when Joe was playing for the Syracuse Blazers, and on Jan 5, 1973 Joe played in goal and had an 11-0 shutout against the Charlotte Checkers, one of his 5 shutouts for that season.
Joe taught me where to shot on a goal tender as I worked out with the old Syracuse Blazers years ago. I wasn't very good but thanks to his tutoring I a better player.
How do you say goodbye to a friend and mentor who has been gone two years? Joe Junkin coached me when I was a teenager. I hadn't seen him since I went off to college in 1982. I saw him play at HersheyPark Arena in 1985 in a Hershey Bears alumni game. I had hoped to reconnect with him, but could not find out what had happened to him. Turns out he was still in Harrisburg/Hershey all this time.
Joe had bad luck. He was in the Bruins farm system, stuck behind Eddie Johnston and Jerry Cheevers during the Bruins Stanley cup years. He played 12 minutes in the NHL. Still, he made a career out of playing in the minors and the WHA. He landed back in Hershey (he played for the Bears in the late 60s) when his playing career ended and he was goaltending instructor at The Cumberland Skatium in Mechanicsburg, PA until it closed in 1983. He taught me so much, I shall forever be grateful. Lindsay, Ontario sent Hershey, PA a helluva man. Rest in peace, my friend.
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