Thursday

Mike Kaszycki

Mike Kaszycki played in 226 NHL games, most notably for the New York Islanders, but also Toronto and Washington.

He was a spectacular junior scoring star. After helping the Toronto Marlies win the Memorial Cup in 1975, Kaszycki joined the Soo Greyhounds and rewrote the OHA record book by scoring an amazing 170 points - 51 goals and 119 assists.

Despite the spectacular junior career Kaszycki slipped all the way to the 32nd deft spot in 1976 where the Islanders nabbed him.

Despite his scoring prowess, Kaszycki never really caught on with the Islanders, who were soon to begin their Stanley Cup dynasty with 4 consecutive championships. Kaszycki played one season with Bob Bourne and Bob Nystrom and the next with John Tonelli and Billy Harris. But he would be traded to Washington in December 1979.

Kaszycki could never keep a roster spot in either Washington or Toronto soon after that. This despite lighting up the American Hockey League with seasons of 118 and 110 points. He won the league scoring title, MVP and sportsmanship trophies, as well as first all star team designation.

Kaszycki later finished his career in Switzerland, playing for several years.

So why didn't Kaszycki stick in the NHL? It was clear he had the offensive tools. He was undersized at just 5'9" and 185lbs - the kiss of death for many offensive players. His defensive game was at times lacking, as well.

Despite his forgotten career, Kaszycki does go down in history for a unique incident. Back on June 1st, 1979 the NHL grandfathered in a clause that made helmets mandatory for all new players in the league. Established players, like Kaszycki, were told they would be allowed to continue to play without a helmet, so long as they signed a waiver. Kaszycki never did sign his, and it was brought to the referees attention in the middle of a game in 1981. Kaszycki was forced to leave the game as he was declared ineligible to play, and he was forced to play the rest of his career with a helmet. 

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