Alan Kerr

Alan Kerr was actually a pretty nice little player when he kept his game simple. He was a hustler and a plumber, and - despite his smallish size - a pretty good one at that. He was rewarded with some ice time that he was able to translate into two 20 goal seasons and a 15 goal season

At times Kerr was guilty of fancying himself as more than just a laborer. Popping a few goals, particularly while playing on a poor team like the Isles of the late 80s, can tend to make a crusher think he's a rusher. But that just ends up with him being an usher. But for the most part Kerr managed to keep his game in focus

Kerr was a good skater in terms of speed and acceleration, but for a crash and bang player, his balance was poor. Often the contact he would initiate was for not as he couldn't remain vertical

Because of his speed and some good vision, Kerr was a pretty decent playmaker once he earned a loose puck. He was always more of an opportunistic scorer than a creative player though.

Alan Kerr - no relation to Tim or Reg - was born in a small remote town in northern British Columbia called Hazelton. He played his junior hockey with the Seattle Breakers. Seattle and Hazelton are on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of city size, but Kerr played with the same grit and determination in the Western Hockey League as he did on the frozen ponds way up north. His work was rewarded when the New York Islanders drafted Kerr 84th overall in the 1982 Entry Draft.

Kerr spent the remainder of the Islander's dynasty years still in junior hockey, and followed that up with two seasons of apprenticeship in the minor leagues with the AHL Springfield Indians.

By 1986-87 the Isles promoted Kerr to the big club. He played limited ice time in his rookie season. He scored just 7 times and assisted on 10 others while adding a nice touch of zest and physicality on the 4th line. By the next season he earned more ice time and scored a career high 24 goals and 58 points! He spent two more years with the Isles (scoring 20 and 15 goals) but never was quite able to prove his strong 1987-88 seasons wasn't an abnormality.

Injuries limited Kerr's 1990-91 season. He spent most of the year recovering in the minor leagues. He resurfaced in the NHL in 1991-92 with the Detroit Red Wings, but was used sparingly on the 4th line. In 58 games he scored 3 times and had 11 points. He did add 2 big goals in the playoffs however.

The Winnipeg Jets acquired Kerr the following year. It was a nice fit as the Jets were famous for lacking any amount of grit. But injuries limited Kerr to only half a season (most of which was spent in the minors).
At the end of the year Kerr decided to hang up the skates. He retired with 391 games played, 72 goals, 94 assists and 166 points plus 826 well earned penalty minutes. He added 5 goals and 9 points in 38 playoff games.

While Kerr isn't exactly remembered for this, he inadvertently started Wayne Gretzky's back problems. According to The Great One's autobiography, Kerr hit Wayne Gretzky from behind on March 17, 1990. The Great One was doubly crumpled as he was hit into big Ken Baumgartner, his own teammate who was coming the opposite way. It was the beginning of some serious back problems for Wayne.

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