Three birthdays today: IHL Ice Tony Hrkac, Richard Keyes and late former Capital Gerry Brown.
Happy birthday to ...
Gerry Brown: Left wing who played for the Capitals from 1941-43, and again in 1945-46 after World War II. In 127 games, he had 39 goals and 60 assists with the Caps. He had his best season in 1945-46, tallying 28 goals and 25 assists in 48 games. He was called up to the parent Red Wings for the 1942 playoffs and therefore did not play in the Caps' Calder Cup run, but did play three games for the team en route to the finals in 1943. He played professionally from 1941-52 -- with a sabbatical from 1943-45 -- nearly all in the AHL. He did play 23 games for the Red Wings in 1941-42 and 1945-46, with four goals and five assists. He was born in Edmonton in 1917, and passed away in 1998 at age 81.
Tony Hrkac: The "Hrkac Circus" came to Indianapolis in 1992-93 and put up a memorable year. In 80 games, he had 45 goals, 87 assists and 132 points. It was the second-biggest year ever tallied by an Indianapolis hockey player -- outpaced only by Ron Handy's 135-point year with the Checkers in 1986-87. Hrkac was the IHL's leading scorer and was named the league's MVP that year. Hrkac was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the 1984 draft, and joined the team after an NCAA-record (which still stands) 46-goal, 116-point season (in 48 games) for the University of North Dakota in 1986-87. He played in the NHL -- with a couple of AHL stints -- with the Blues, Nordiques, Sharks and Blackhawks through 1992, played primarily in the IHL through 1997-98, and got a permanent callup to the NHL the following year, playing for the Stars, Oilers, Islanders, Ducks and Thrashers. When he was traded from the Blues to the Nordiques in 1989, the player going back to St. Louis in return was future Ice coach Jeff Brown. He retired from hockey in 2005 -- and then came back to play 29 games for AHL Houston from 2008-10. He won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999. Upon retirement from hockey, he coached two seasons for Div. III Concordia University in Wisconsin. A native of Thunder Bay, Ont., he is 48.
Richard Keyes: Center who played four games for the Ice from 1997-99. He primarily played those seasons for ECHL Columbus, where he had 61 goals. After finishing his college career at Michigan State in 1997, he played nine pro seasons in the IHL, ECHL, UHL and in Germany. His best year was an 81-point season for ECHL Toledo in 2001-02. A native of Kalamazoo, Mich., he is 39.