Mike Zuke did a lot of things in his time playing professional hockey and even before, things I think have gone relatively unnoticed, playing at a time of the greats like Gretzky and the controversy around the WHA.
Zuke still is Michigan Tech’s all-time scoring leader and ranks third in NCAA history in career points.
Zuke played at Tech from 1972-76 and racked up 310 points, scoring 133 goals, and tallying 177 assists in 163 games. Among his honors are: two-time All-America selection (1974, 1976), WCHA Freshman of the Year (1973), All-WCHA first team (1976), and WCHA Most Valuable Player (1976).
It must have helped that his father built a backyard rink. It has been said that “it was the most popular backyard rink in all of Sault Ste. Marie as all the neighborhood kids loved coming over.”
It didn’t hurt that Zuke had four uncles who excelled on the senior circuit. His father Mike Sr. was one of our local youth coaches. They named rinks and minor hockey awards after his father for his many years of service.
Zuke was drafted 79th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 1974 NHL Draft and 49th overall by the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA the same year.
He played 455 NHL games in eight seasons, scoring 86 goals and tallying 196 assists for the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers.
His time with the Sault Greyhounds was almost record-breaking with 34 goals and 62 assists in that early 1971-72 season.
Then he was off to Michigan Tech which I already spoke of his record-breaking time there.
His professional career started in Indianapolis, getting 7 points in just 15 games in the WHA.
He spent the rest of that season with the Mohawk Valley Comets in 1976-77, scoring almost a goal per game for 71 points in just 48 games.
He spent the next season with the Edmonton Oilers scoring 23 goals and 34 assists in the 1977-78 season.
The next season he started wit the Salt Lake Golden Eagles earning almost a point a game before finishing the season in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues scoring 9 goals and 17 assists in 34 games.
Zuke would spend the next four seasons with the Blues, earning nearly a point per game starting out. He would play both sides of the penalties and was a fan favourite for it.
Since his last two seasons weren’t as high point-wise, this may have been the reason for the move to Hartford where he struggled to regain his former glory for putting pucks in the net.
Zuke now resides in St. Louis, Missouri.