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Hockey Heroes: Vic Venasky

This Hollywood Hunk is Vic Venasky. He played with the Los Angeles Kings for 430 games between 1972 and 1979. He was named as the Kings' rookie of the year in 1972-73, and scored a career total of 61 goals and 162 points. He was a gentlemanly player who combined good hockey sense and a workmanlike effort. Injuries prevented him from achieving his true NHL potential.

Not bad for a guy who was a long shot to ever make it to the NHL. The Thunder Bay, Ontario native took an unconventional route to the NHL, at least unconventional at the time. After starring with Port Arthur in the Thunder Bay junior league, Venasky attended the University of Denver starting in 1970. It was very uncommon for NCAA players to make it to the NHL back then. Mind you, the University of Denver really pioneered all of that, also graduating Cliff Koroll and Keith Magnuson at the time.

Venasky dominated the NCAA scene in his first year of 1970-71. He impressed the Kings so much that they took him 34th overall in the 1971 NHL amateur draft.

Venasky was off to an even stronger season in 1971-72 before torn knee ligaments ended his season. It also ended his college career as Venasky left campus and turned pro after rehabilitating the knee.

After a respectable rookie season in 1972-73, Venasky was sidelined much of the next two seasons with serious groin injuries. Venasky overcame the injuries and played four full seasons starting in 1975. He had two strong seasons, challenging the 20 goal and 40 point mark, followed by two seasons where he scored a total of just 7 goals. His role with the team changed to much more of a defensive role than offensive.

Venasky was out of the NHL by the end of the 1979 season, and out of pro hockey by 1981. He always stayed involved in the game though, coaching youth hockey in California and operating his own hockey and figure skating store. He also worked as a compliance inspector with Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

Vic is the brother in-law of former NHLer Mike Murphy. Gilles Marotte introduced Vic to Murphy's sister Connie.

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