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Mike Nykoluk
Mikenykoluk.jpg
Position Centre
Height
Weight
5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
209 lb (95 kg)
Teams NHL
Toronto Maple Leafs
AHL
Rochester Americans
Hershey Bears
Nationality Canadian
Born December 11, 1934(1934-12-11),
Toronto, ON, CAN
Died January 31 2022 (aged 87),
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Pro Career 1956 – 1972

Michael Andrew Nykoluk (December 11, 1934 – January 31, 2022) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player and coach. He played 32 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1956–57. The rest of his playing career, which lasted from 1955 to 1972, was spent in the minor leagues. He became the first assistant coach in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup in that capacity with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1974 and 1975, before serving as the Maple Leafs head coach from 1981 to 1984. He was the younger brother of longtime Canadian Football League player Danny Nykoluk.[1]

Early life

Nykoluk was born in Toronto on December 11, 1934.[2] He played ice hockey and Canadian football when he was in high school.[3] He began his junior career in 1953–54 with the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association.[4] He was part of the team that won the 1955 Memorial Cup,[5] scoring 13 points in 10 games in the playoffs that year.[6]

Playing career

The Hershey Bears retired Nykoluk's No. 8 in recognition of his 14 years of service to the team.

Nykoluk began his professional career with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL) during their inaugural season in 1956–57.[7] In the middle of that season, he was called up to play in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 32 games he played for Toronto, in which he scored four points, would be his only stint in the NHL. He was sent back down to the Americans, and was subsequently traded with Ron Hurst to the Hershey Bears in exchange for Willie Marshall.[2]

Nykoluk went on to have a 14-season career with the Bears. The team won two Calder Cup during his career (1959 and 1969). He led the league twice in assists, and amassed 50 or more assists in seven consecutive seasons (1963 to 1970). He was named to AHL All-Star Second Team in 1967 and was conferred the Les Cunningham Award at the end of the year as the league's most valuable player. Nykoluk proceeded to hit a career-high 19 goals and 85 points the following season and was consequently selected the AHL All-Star First Team.[7] He eventually retired from playing in 1972.[8]

Nykoluk's number 8 was later retired by the Bears.[5] He was part of the second class inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2007.[7][9] At the time of his death, he was the Bears' all-time leader in games played (972), assists (636), and points (808).[5] He was also third in the AHL all-time in assists (686), sixth in points (881), and fifth in games played (1,069).[7][9]

Coaching career

After his playing career ended, Nykoluk was offered a job with the Philadelphia Flyers as an assistant to head coach Fred Shero.[9] He became the first full-time assistant coach in the NHL.[8][10] During his tenure, the Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975.[7][9] He subsequently became an assistant to head coach Shero with the New York Rangers,[9] and later served as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons ending in 1984.[11]

Personal life

Nykoluk was married to Dolly until his death.[12][13] They met at his sister's wedding, where she was a bridesmaid. Together, they had four children.[3]

After retiring from coaching hockey, Nykoluk and his wife relocated to Naples, Florida, around 1990. He underwent a quadruple bypass surgery in April 2010.[13] Nykoluk died on January 31, 2022, at the age of 87.[5][9]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1952–53 Weston Dukes MetJBHL
1953–54 Toronto Marlboros OHA 59 19 28 47 12 15 2 4 6 4
1954–55 Toronto Marlboros OHA 47 14 25 39 23 13 3 7 10 17
1954–55 Toronto Marlboros M-Cup 10 4 9 13 4
1955–56 Winnipeg Warriors WHL 70 10 25 35 18 14 10 12 22 7
1956–57 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 32 3 1 4 20
1956–57 Rochester Americans AHL 28 9 13 22 30 9 3 2 5 4
1957–58 Rochester Americans AHL 69 14 37 51 45
1958–59 Hershey Bears AHL 66 15 38 53 60 13 5 4 9 15
1959–60 Hershey Bears AHL 71 13 32 45 55
1960–61 Hershey Bears AHL 71 10 24 34 14 8 1 5 6 0
1961–62 Hershey Bears AHL 59 4 20 24 13 7 1 2 3 12
1962–63 Hershey Bears AHL 72 7 36 43 21 15 1 9 10 2
1963–64 Hershey Bears AHL 72 9 63 72 39 6 1 3 4 0
1964–65 Hershey Bears AHL 71 11 55 66 29 15 2 11 13 6
1965–66 Hershey Bears AHL 67 10 53 63 14 3 0 1 1 0
1966–67 Hershey Bears AHL 72 16 68 84 26 5 0 4 4 4
1967–68 Hershey Bears AHL 72 19 66 85 30 5 2 6 8 0
1968–69 Hershey Bears AHL 74 15 55 70 14 11 0 8 8 0
1969–70 Hershey Bears AHL 72 16 57 73 12 7 0 2 2 2
1970–71 Hershey Bears AHL 71 14 39 53 33 4 0 3 3 0
1971–72 Hershey Bears AHL 62 13 30 43 20 4 0 2 2 4
AHL totals 1069 195 686 881 455 112 16 62 78 49
NHL totals 32 3 1 4 20
Sources:[2][4]

Coaching record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
G W L T OTL Pts Finish W L Win% Result
TOR 1980–81 40 15 15 10 40 5th in Adams 0 3 .000 Lost in Preliminary Round (NYI)
TOR 1981–82 80 20 44 16 56 5th in Norris Missed playoffs
TOR 1982–83 80 28 40 12 68 3rd in Norris 1 3 .250 Lost in Division Semifinals (MNS)
TOR 1983–84 80 26 45 9 61 5th in Norris Missed playoffs
Total 280 89 144 47 225   1 6 .143 2 playoff appearances
Source:[11]

Awards and achievements

References

  1. "Ironman Argo Nykoluk dead at 82", August 2, 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mike Nykoluk Stats. Hockey-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dobbs, Mary Hill. "Under the Sun: Famous neighbor leaves ice rink behind", March 6, 2008. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Mike Nykoluk Hockey Stats and Profile. HockeyDB. The Internet Hockey Database.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "Former Maple Leafs coach, Hershey Bears star Mike Nykoluk dead at 87", CBC News, January 31, 2022. 
  6. Hornby, Lance. "Former Maple Leafs coach Mike Nykoluk dies at 87", January 31, 2022. Retrieved on February 1, 2022. Archived from the original on January 31, 2022. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 "Mike Nykoluk (1934–2022)", American Hockey League, January 31, 2022. Retrieved on February 1, 2022. Archived from the original on February 1, 2022. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Mike Nykoluk. AHL Hall of Fame.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 "Nykoluk dies at 87, was first full-time NHL assistant with Flyers", National Hockey League, January 31, 2022. Retrieved on February 1, 2022. Archived from the original on February 1, 2022. 
  10. Condor, Bob. "Call for Assistance", National Hockey League, February 18, 2020. Retrieved on February 1, 2022. Archived from the original on February 1, 2022. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Mike Nykoluk NHL & WHA Hockey Coaching Record. Hockey-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
  12. "Bears Announce Hall of Fame Class of 2018", Hershey Bears, October 25, 2018. Archived from the original on February 1, 2022. “"When fellow Bears Hall of Famer Mike Nykoluk scored, he would play “Hello, Dolly” in honor of the Big Bear's wife, Dolly."” 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Johnson, Kevin. "NHL: Flyers-Bruins brings back memories for Ex-Flyers assistant and Naples resident Nykoluk", May 5, 2010. 

External links

Preceded by
Joe Crozier
Head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs
1980–1984
Succeeded by
Dan Maloney

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This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Mike Nykoluk. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).


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