Mike Korney

Mike Korney was a well travelled minor leaguer. He was a defenseman by trade who also played considerable time at right wing throughout his career. He was an imposing figure at 6'3" and 200+ pounds of pure muscle. Although he was not really noted for his physical play, he was as strong a player as there was in his day.

George Pesut, who often prepared for the hockey season with "Captain Kornball," said "Naturally everybody wanted him to fight, and on a lot of night's Mike was just a gentle giant, or too tired from his escapades the night before, or cleaning out the bar in a bar room brawl and a little too tired to continue on the ice. If you ever got him mad watch out! In junior his favorite trick was just picking the player up in mid air, and body slamming them against the glass with his incredible strength."

Just how strong was he? George shares this great story:

"I use to organize the ice for all the pro's in Saskatoon before we went to camp,and we had about 40 guys just from Saskatoon who played in the NHL back in the 70's.One thing that I can always remember from those skates in august each year was something Mr. Kornball use to do. I have never seen anybody able to do this feat with that little round disc! He use to line up five pucks at the blueline and skate in from the redline and wrist the biscuit over the net with one hand, and it was not a wobbly shot! That's one for the Ripley's Hockey Hall of Fame!"

The Dauphin Manitoba native spent his first professional season of 1973-74 split between 4 teams in 4 leagues. Most of that season was spent in London England where he was one of the top players with London Lions. He also appeared in his first two National Hockey League games with the Detroit Red Wings.

Year two of pro hockey was his best from an NHL standpoint. Due to a plethora of injuries, Korney was able to get into 30 games with the Wings, and chipped in 8 goals and 10 points. However he continued to rack up those frequent travel miles as he actually played with 5 teams in 1974-75. Each of his minor league stops were brief.

Korney got into the Wings lineup 27 times in 1975-76, mostly as a defenseman and receiving little ice time. He did get a goal and 8 points in that time, but split the rest of the season between the AHL and the CHL. In mid season he was actually traded in a 6 player swap with Philadelphia, although he never would play for the Flyers.

Korney never got into a single NHL game in 1976-77, but Korney must have enjoyed staying in one city for an entire season. Korney had played the entire year with the Kansas City Blues, a farm team of the St. Louis Blues, even though he wasn't under contract to the St. Louis organization. He spent the following year bouncing once again between three teams and three leagues but was rewarded for his resilience in the summer of 1978.

In typical Korney-fashion, Mike attended the Blues training camp and made a good impression. However waiver draft complications meant that the Blues would risk losing him for nothing since they did not intend to protect him. So the Blues moved Korney to the Montreal Canadiens, only to have the New York Rangers claim Korney two days later.

It worked out well for Korney as he picked up a NHL pay check for 18 games with the Rangers. He also, of course, spent a spattering of time between to minor league teams in an injury plagued season.

Korney spent one more year in professional hockey, spending the entire 1979-80 campaign with the AHL Syracuse Firebirds.

Korney retired at the turn of the decade, scoring 9 goals and 19 points in 77 NHL games and collecting 1000s of travel miles! He opted to return to western Canada once he gave up the professional game, but he never gave up the game. He became a player coach with the senior league Cranbrook Royals. He splayed and coached for two years, capturing the Allan Cup in 1982.

Mike has become an expert helicopter pilot and who spent time in the Persian Gulf.


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