April 19, 2016

Mike Kennedy

Mike Kennedy took an unconventional route to the National Hockey League.

As an 18 year old Kennedy enrolled at the University of British Columbia in his hometown of Vancouver, BC.

There are not too many players to come out of Canada's university hockey circuit to make it to the NHL. But the Minnesota North Stars took interest and drafted him 97th overall in the 1991 NHL draft.

The Stars also convinced Kennedy that he should drop out of school after two years and play his final season of junior eligibility in order to better ready him for the pro game. So Kennedy joined the Seattle Thunderbirds for the 1991-92 season. The WHL was a much tougher league with many more games and travel involved. Kennedy acquitted himself nicely while helping Seattle reach the Memorial Cup tournament.

The junior season readied Kennedy nicely for his first two professional seasons where he established himself as an effective playmaker and offensive contributor.

Kennedy cracked the Stars line up (with the franchise's new location in Dallas) for the better parts of three seasons from 1994 through 1997. He got his first chance to play thanks to a lengthy injury to veteran forward Mike McPhee. Showing good size and strength and the ability to make smart plays, Kennedy was well liked in Dallas.

The Stars were an increasingly deep team as the 1990s advanced, and though Kennedy was a nice utility and depth player, he had trouble getting a lot of minutes in his years with the team.

Kennedy left the team in the summer of 1997 to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, though he played only 13 games with the Leafs. He was actually traded back to Dallas late in that season, but never re-appeared with the team.

Kennedy left the Stars again in the summer of 1998, but again he did not find much luck with the New York Islanders. He played only one game with the Islanders - the final game of his NHL career.

In 145 NHL games Kennedy scored 16 goals and 52 points.

Kennedy headed to Europe for several seasons in Germany. He later returned to Canada and was a senior hockey star with the Dundas Real McCoys. He helped the powerhouse team win the Allan Cup in 2012.

Soon after Kennedy and his wife Carrie opened The Sports Training Academy in Oakville, Ontario, specializing not only in hockey but most sports.

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