Mike Allison

Many players split their hockey careers between the NHL and the minor leagues. Mike Allison's NHL career was split between the NHL and the doctor's offices. A left winger who also was spotted at both right wing and center ice, Mike suffered through serious knee injuries early in his career which altered his effectiveness at the NHL level.

Mike was drafted by the New York Rangers 35th overall in 1980, coming off of an outstanding 71 assist, 95 point season with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. The 6', 200 pounder from Fort Frances, Ontario made the immediate jump to the NHL in 1980-81 and made a promising contribution in year one, scoring 26 goals and 38 assists for 64 points. He even scored his first goal on his first shot in his first game. In his second game he scored a hat trick!

However those totals would all prove to be career highs as serious knee injuries limited his playing time and playing style for the rest of his career.

Mike remained in the Rangers organization for the next 5 years despite repeated ankle and serious knee injuries. In those 5 years he played in 48, 39, 45, 31 and 28 games respectively. Mike's promising offensive contributions were all but wiped out due to the injuries. Even when he was healthy enough to play his knees hobbled his skating style so badly that he had to reinvent his game. Instead of being a scorer like he was in his earlier days, Mike became a mucker and grinder. His anticipation skills allowed him to be very good defensively and excelled as a penalty killer.

A very proud man, Allison was also highly regarded as an excellent team man, bringing infectious enthusiasm and heart both on and off the ice. And Mike only knew how to play the game one way - full out - and he continued to play that way despite the injuries. His reckless abandon only contributed to further injuries.

Mike was traded to Toronto in exchange for Walt Poddubny on August 18, 1986. That season Mike played a full season for the first time since his promising rookie season 6 years earlier. However by this time Mike had reinvented himself as a grinder and penalty killer. Allison played in 71 games and scored 7 goals and 23 points. He also had a nice playoff for a surprising Leaf team in the spring of '86. He scored 3 goals and 8 points in 13 post season contests, all of which was gravy compared to his invaluable hustle and specialty team's play.

Mike started the 1987-88 season with the Leafs but after a slow start (0 goals in 15 games) was traded to Los Angeles in exchange for Sean McKenna on December 14, 1987. It proved to be a good Christmas gift for Allison. He was in LA for Wayne Gretzky's first year with the Kings. It was an exciting time to be a member of the Kings, with all the hoopla surrounding Gretzky. Mike actually found himself playing with Wayne at times! He even scored 16 goals and 28 points in just 37 games with the Kings. If that were calculated over a full 80 game schedule, Mike would have posted career highs in those categories.

Mike played almost 3 years in Los Angeles but never played in more than 55 games. His bad knees combined with a nagging groin injury forced him to sit out more than he wished to. He also rarely got to play with Wayne in subsequent seasons, as the Kings acquired more skilled depth, which allowed Mike to concentrate on a supporting role which he was more suited for anyways.

Allison retired scoring 102 goals and 166 assists in 499 NHL games. He added 9 goals and 17 assists for 26 points in 82 playoff contests, but never was able to sip from Lord Stanley's Cup. He was an excellent team man with lots of desire and heart. His excellent and attitude and work ethic made him a valuable asset.


Kipthemulti 7:40 AM  

A great story! Thanks for posting.
I knew the Allison family when living in Ft Frances.

Cliff Huber
Kakabeka Falls, ON

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP