March 09, 2016

B.J. Young

Jerry Franklin Young, better known to everyone as B.J., died in an automobile accident at the age of 28. He was still an active player in the minor leagues.

Young was born in Alaska and emerged as a 50 goal scorer with the Red Deer Rebels of Western Hockey League. A popular player with the Rebels, he was dubbed "The Red Deer Rifle" by the fans and media. He also had a nice showing with Team USA's silver medal winning team at the 1997 World Juniors.

The Detroit Red Wings drafted Young 157th overall in 1997 and turned pro immediately. He would play seven minor league seasons, most notably with Adirondack and Cincinnati of the AHL and back home with Anchorage of the WCHL/ECHL. His game changed as he became more an energy player on the third and fourth lines. His goal scoring totals went down as his penalty minute totals went up.

A real highlight of Young's hockey career was his only NHL game. Young only played two shifts totalling 1:04 minutes of ice time, but he still made it. Young played for the Red Wings in a 4-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on November 28th, 1999. Though he barely played, the real highlight was having his dressing room locker right next to Wings' legend Steve Yzerman.

Young died nearly six years later to the day. On November 30th, 2005 he lost control of his car while driving in Vancouver, British Columbia. Young, who was not playing hockey that season, struck a tree and then a power pole and died on the scene.

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