Mike Keane

For a player who was never even drafted, Mike Keane's accomplishments are truly impressive. He played in over 2,000 pro games over 23 seasons, winning three Stanley Cups with three different teams.

But, as always was the case with Keane, numbers do not always offer a player's legacy proper justice.

The most goals he ever scored in one season was just 16, and aside from celestial season of 60 points, he could be counted on for about 35 points a year.

But Keane was a throwback to old time hockey. Like Bob Gainey, Keane was a selfless player who was only concerned with the team's success. He was part grinder and part defensive specialist, but most importantly, he understood the various tempos and moods of the game, and how he could change that to his team's favour.

Pat Burns described Keane as "one of my favourite players to coach, the ultimate competitor." I am sure his peers would proudly label him "a hockey player's hockey player."

The plucky Winnipeg native was undoubtedly also known as a winner, considered to be a very important contributor to Stanley Cup championships in Montreal, Dallas and Colorado.

He just loved the game. Rather than retire after the locked-out season of 2004-05, he stayed on the ice by returning home to Winnipeg. He played 5 more seasons in the minor leagues with the Manitoba Moose, not for the paltry paycheck but for the love of the game and so that his children could watch him play.

Keane finally had to give up hockey in the summer of 2010 after the Moose decided to go with a youth movement. Unwilling to move his family, he hung up his skates.

History will likely forget just how good Mike Keane really was. But there isn't a team in history that would not want Mike Keane on it, either.


Anonymous,  8:37 AM  

Mike Keane is one of the answers to one of all-time favorite hockey trivia questions.

At one point all three members of this former major junior line were captains for their respective NHL team.

Anonymous,  8:26 AM  

Keane, Fleury, Buchburger

Anonymous,  8:00 AM  

Always liked Keane. I was at the game when Keane collided with teammate Pat Lafontaine, ending the formers career. Keane was also a very good middleweight fighter. He had some slugfests and normally came out on top.

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