Mike Karakas

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Mike Karakas
Born (1911-12-02)December 2, 1911
Aurora, MN, USA
Died May 2, 1992(1992-05-02) (aged 81)
Wakefield Township, MN, USA
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 147 lb (67 kg; 10 st 7 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for Chicago Black Hawks
Playing career 1935–1946

Michael George Karakas (December 2, 1911 – May 2, 1992) was an American professional ice hockey goaltender in the National Hockey League (NHL) who was the league's first American-born and trained goaltender.[1] Karakas played six full seasons and parts of two others with Chicago Black Hawks. He appeared in two Stanley Cup Finals, winning once. In 1938, Karakas led Chicago, who had .411 winning percentage in the regular season, to a second Stanley Cup, playing with a steel-toed boot in the last two games of the Finals after he had broken it in the last game of the Semi-finals. Karakas is one of the original members of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Biography[edit]

Born in Aurora, Minnesota, he grew up in nearby Eveleth. Growing up, Karakas and Frank Brimsek, who also became a goaltender in the NHL, were battery mates for their high school baseball team, with Karakas catching.[2]

Karakas played six full seasons for the Chicago Black Hawks between 1936 and 1945. In his first season with the Black Hawks, Karakas was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy after posting a 1.85 goals-against-average with nine shutouts in 48 games. Karakas was only invited to play for the Black Hawks because their regular goaltender, Lorne Chabot, was injured. After posting four wins in four games, with three shutouts, the Black Hawks made Karakas their starting goaltender; Chabot was later traded to the Montreal Maroons.[2]

Karakas won the Stanley Cup in the 1937–38 season, playing for the first out of two teams which won the Cup with a losing record. For the 1937-38 Chicago Black Hawks season, their owner, Major Frederic McLaughlin, order his general manager to "ice [him] a team of all American players."[3] After losing five of its six first games with an all-American roster, some Canadian players were added; however, the team finished the season with an 14–25–9 record for a .411 winning percentage.[4]

In the playoffs, Karakas suffered a broken toe just before the start of the Stanley Cup final against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Black Hawks were forced to substitute Alfie Moore for Karakas in the first game. After the first game, Moore was ruled ineligible, and the Black Hawks lost the next game. Karakas returned with a steel-toed boot and won the next two games, leading the Black Hawks to their second Stanley Cup win.[4] Overall in that playoff run, Karakas had a 6–2 record, with two shutouts and a 1.71 goals-against-average.[2] Karakas also surrendered an overtime goal clinching a Stanley Cup by Toe Blake in the 1944 Stanley Cup Finals.

After helping Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 1938, Karakas asked the team's owners for a US$500 raise. The owners refused the raise, and for the next five seasons Karakas played three full seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL), and split two between the AHL and the NHL.[5]

Karakas had 28 shutouts in the regular season, and another three in the playoffs in his six seasons in the NHL.[6] In each of the six full seasons in which Karakas appeared, he played all 48 games. In 1973, Karakas was named as an original member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, located in his hometown of Eveleth.[1][7]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1930–31 Chicago Shamrocks AHA 8 5 2 0 435 16 0 2.21
1931–32 Chicago Shamrocks AHA 45 29 11 5 2624 65 9 1.59
1932–33 St. Louis Flyers AHA 43 23 19 1 2702 85 5 1.89
1933–34 Tulsa Oilers AHA 48 23 25 0 2918 110 7 2.26
1934–35 Tulsa Oilers AHA 41 20 17 4 2640 77 4 1.52
1935–36 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 21 19 8 2990 92 9 1.85
1936–37 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 14 27 7 2978 131 5 2.64
1937–38 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 14 25 9 2980 139 1 2.80
1938–39 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 12 28 8 2988 132 5 2.65
1939–40 Providence Reds IAHL 14 7 5 2 860 43 1 3.00
1939–40 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 17 7 9 1 1050 58 0 3.31
1939–40 Montreal Canadiens NHL 5 0 4 1 310 18 0 3.48
1940–41 Providence Reds AHL 56 31 21 4 3540 171 0 2.97
1941–42 Providence Reds AHL 56 17 32 7 3470 237 1 4.10
1941–42 New Haven Eagles AHL 1 0 1 0 60 7 0 7.00
1942–43 Providence Reds AHL 56 27 27 2 3430 216 2 3.78
1943–44 Providence Reds AHL 24 6 15 3 1440 67 0 3.63
1943–44 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 26 12 9 5 1560 79 3 3.04
1944–45 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 12 29 7 2880 187 4 3.90
1945–46 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 48 22 19 7 2880 166 1 3.46
1946–47 Providence Reds AHL 62 21 31 10 3720 266 0 4.29
1947–48 Providence Reds AHL 2 1 1 0 120 7 0 3.50
NHL totals 336 114 169 53 20,616 1002 28 2.92

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1931–32 Chicago Shamrocks AHA 4 3 1 242 10 0 2.48
1932–33 St. Louis Flyers AHA 4 2 2 284 6 1 1.27
1933–34 Tulsa Oilers AHA 4 2 2 260 7 1 1.62
1934–35 Tulsa Oilers AHA 2 0 2 130 8 0 3.69
1935–36 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 2 1 1 0 120 7 0 3.50
1937–38 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 8 6 2 525 15 2 1.71
1939–40 Providence Reds IAHL 8 6 2 545 21 2 2.31
1940–41 Providence Reds AHL 4 1 3 279 13 0 2.60
1941–42 Springfield Indians AHL 3 0 2 160 7 0 2.63
1942–43 Providence Reds AHL 2 0 2 130 7 0 3.23
1943–44 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 9 4 5 549 24 1 2.62
1945–46 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 4 0 4 240 26 0 6.50
NHL totals 23 11 12 0 1434 72 3 3.01

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Allen, Kevin; Duff, Bob (2002). Without Fear: Hockey's 50 greatest goaltenders. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 223. ISBN 1-57243-484-8. 
  2. ^ a b c Allen, Kevin; Duff, Bob (2002). Without Fear: Hockey's 50 greatest goaltenders. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 224. ISBN 1-57243-484-8. 
  3. ^ Pincus, Arthur (2006). The Official Illustrated NHL History. Montreal: Reader's Digest. p. 52. ISBN 0-88850-800-X. 
  4. ^ a b Pincus, Arthur (2006). The Official Illustrated NHL History. Montreal: Reader's Digest. p. 53. ISBN 0-88850-800-X. 
  5. ^ Allen, Kevin; Duff, Bob (2002). Without Fear: Hockey's 50 greatest goaltenders. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 225. ISBN 1-57243-484-8. 
  6. ^ "Mike Karakas (1935-1946)". hockeygoalies.org. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  7. ^ "Mike Karakas". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
Preceded by
Sweeney Schriner
NHL Rookie of the Year
1936
Succeeded by
Syl Apps