Friday night, the Phoenix Coyotes will celebrate the career of Keith Tkachuk and put his name on their Ring of Honor. He is one of four American-born players to score 500 goals. Drafted by the Sabres in 1990, his rights were traded for Dale Hawerchuk. Interesting note, Hawerchuk is on the Ring of Honor as well for his time in Winnipeg. He joined the NHL after the 1992 Winter Olympics for the Winnipeg Jets where he stayed for until he was traded in 2001. To St. Louis. Some of his highlights are scoring 28 goals his rookie year, being named Captain the following year where he notched 41 goals. He was a power play opportunist, getting 22 goals that year.
From Wikipedia, “In the 1995–96 season, Tkachuk dominated the Jets’ statistics finishing first in goals (50), assists (48), points (98), power play goals (20), game-winning goals (6), shots (249), and plus/minus (+11). Tkachuk was stripped of the Jets captaincy, at the start of the 1995–96 NHL season (the Winnipeg Jets last season), after a contract dispute. Kris King was named the new captain. Tkachuk was restored as captain at the start of the 1996–97 NHL season, when the Jets moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to become the Phoenix Coyotes.” More from Wikipedia, “It was with Phoenix during the 1996–97 season that he has his career-best 52 goals, and made his first appearance in the NHL All-Star Game. He also led the team in goals, points, power-play goals, game-winning goals, and shots for the 1997–98 season, earning him his second straight All-Star appearance. For the 1998–99 season, Tkachuk led the team in goals, power-play goals, game-winning goals, shots, and plus/minus, and again went to the All-Star game. In 1997, Tkachuk was on the cover of the video game NHL Breakaway ’98.”
In St. Louis, injuries hampered his ability to play 82 games a season and limited his potential. He retired at the end of the 2010 season with 538 goals and 1065 points in 1201 games. He played in four Olympics, is an assistant coach for his son’s PeeWee team, and is an institution in St. Louis. This year, he was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. It is fitting he should be honored when the Blues come to town.