5 Hockey Greats From Cloquet – Our Town
Paying homage to Cloquet this week with Our Town, I am a huge hockey fan. So, I looked up some hockey players and tried to see if I could find 5 that made it to the NHL. Not everyone has, but I wound up with some interesting stories.
Marty Ketola-Played for Cloquet, drafted in 1983 by Pittsburgh in a strange year that not all the NHL teams were allowed to be in the draft. After being drafted, went to Colorado College and played 4 years there. According to all the NHL stats, never played pro hockey. Camed back to Cloquet to start K1 Sportswear.
Jim Plankers-Played for Cloquet and was drafted in the 11th round by Buffalo. Was on the first Cloquet High School team to go to the State Tourney. Made the All-Star team and represented Minnesota. Played for the UMD Bulldogs and was on the team that made it to the finals and lost to Bowling Green. Also played for the US international team. Never played in the NHL
Corey Millen– Played for Cloquet and on the top 100 hockey players ever in the state at number 23, then played for the Uof Minnesota having a stellar career there. Millen, selected 57th overall by the New York Rangers in 1982, played in 335 NHL games and scored 20 or more goals three straight seasons from 1991-94. He helped the Los Angeles Kings reach the Stanley Cup finals in 1993 playing along side of Wayne Gretzky and fellow U of M alum Robb Stauber. In 1995 Millen was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Roseau’s Neal Broten. The Devils went on to win the Stanley Cup that spring. Millen retired from pro hockey in 2003. He lives in Anchorage and is the head coach and director of hockey operations for the North American Hockey League’s Alaska Avalanche.
Derek Plante-Played for Cloquet. Drafted out of high school by the Buffalo Sabres in 1989, Plante attended the University of Minnesota Duluth and by his senior year was an All-Star leading the WCHA in goals, assists, and total scoring. Plante skipped minor league hockey and jumped right to the NHL in 1994, replacing an injured Pat LaFontaine and scoring 21 goals. By turning pro so quickly, Plante missed out on an opportunity to represent the United States in the 1994 Winter Olympics. Was traded to Dallas and won a cup with them. Derek’s name was added by Dallas even though he didn’t play the required number of games with them. He then moved on to Chicago and then Philadelphia. He is now an asst. coach with the UMD Bulldogs and won the NCAA national championship in the 2011 season.
Jamie Langenbrunner– After scoring 148 points in 70 games during his Freshmen, Sophomore, and Junior years in High School and leading the Lumberjacks to back to back State Tournament appearances, Langenbrunner was named the AP’s Minnesota High School Hockey player of the year. Following a spectacular State Tournament performance, Langenbrunner was drafted out of Cloquet 35th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars. In the 96-97 season for the Stars, He was a candidate for the Calder Memorial Trophy which is given annually to the NHL’s Rookie of the year. In 99 won a Stanley Cup with Dallas (with Derek Plante)
On March 19, 2002, Langenbrunner was traded with Joe Nieuwendyk to the New Jersey. He continued his scoring numbers in the playoffs, leading the league in goals (11) and points (18) en route to his second Stanley Cup.
2007–08 season Langenbrunner played on a line with teammates Zach Parise and Travis Zajac. The line was dubbed “ZZ Pops” due to the difference in age between the veteran and the two youngsters who have initials with the letter Z.
In January 2009, Langenbrunner scored two goals in each of three consecutive games, including three game winners for the Devils. Two of those game-winning goals were scored in overtime. His streak of three consecutive multi-goal games with a game winning goal was last accomplished by Wayne Gretzky during the 1981–82 season
On January 2, 2010, Langenbrunner got the first hat trick of his career while playing against the Minnesota Wild in his home state of Minnesota.
Jamie went back to Dallas and then was traded to St. Louis, and just signed a one year deal to stay there another year.
As of January 19, 2011, Langenbrunner has played in 1000 regular season games in the NHL, scoring 233 goals and 388 assists for 621 points and is currently 29th on the all-time American-born scoring list for NHL players. In 137 playoff games, he has scored 33 goals and 53 assists for 88 points and is currently 15th among active NHLers in points scored, with 35 of those points coming in his two Stanley Cup-winning seasons.
He is widely credited for his impressive post-season performances, the most recent being the second overtime goal against the Ottawa Senators in the second round of the 2007 Playoff Series. It was his 12th game-winning goal and his fourth career playoff overtime goal. His 12 playoff game-winning goals top notable Hall of Famers such as Mario Lemieux, Cam Neely, and Paul Coffey and tie him with Legends such as Phil Esposito and Mark Messier.
Information collected from MN State High School League, NHL.com, hockeydraftcentral.com and Wikipedia.