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89 Champs: Where Are They Now: Mike Vernon

Since winning the Stanley Cup in 1989, Mike Vernon has been busy on and off the ice.

In the season following the 89 cup win, Vernon ranked 6th in wins with 23 and in 1990-91 he finished 2nd with 31 wins. Vernon was voted by fans to the starting lineup in both All-Star games those seasons. Vernon would play in three more All-Star games and was slated to play in his sixth but was forced out of the lineup due to a knee injury.

On June 29, 1994, the Calgary Flames traded Vernon to the Detroit Red Wings for D-man Steve Chiasson. After nearly 10 seasons with the Flames, Vernon was now the starter for one of the league’s most storied franchises. Vernon helped the Wings reach the Stanley Cup Final in 1995 for the first time since 1966 but lost in four straight games to the New Jersey Devils.

March 26, 1997 was a big deal for Vernon for two reasons. One, he became just the 13th goaltender in history to reach 300 wins, and two, he was involved in the best goalie fight of all-time in my opinion with Patrick Roy.

Due to starting goaltender Chris Osgood struggling down the stretch in 1997, Vernon was named the Wings starting goalie for the 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vernon posted a record of 16-4 and a goals against average of just 1.76 as the Wings captured their first Stanley Cup in 42 years and Vernon’s second Stanley Cup. Vernon was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs. I actually had forgotten that he won another cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy.

Vernon was traded to the San Jose Sharks in the off-season where he played for two seasons, leading the Sharks to the playoffs in both seasons. He was then traded to the Florida Panthers during the 1999-00 season where he led the team to the playoffs for the first time in three years. Vernon was claimed by the Minnesota Wild in the 2000 Expansion Draft, only to be immediately dealt back to the Flames.

Vernon returned to Calgary and played in two more seasons with the Flames before retiring in 2002. He finished 7th all-time with 385 wins, 4th in playoff appearances by a goaltender with 138 and 5th in playoff wins with 77. Most of Vernon’s team records have been broken by Miikka Kiprusoff but Vernon still holds the records for playoff games played with 81 and playoff wins with 43.

On February 6, 2007, the Calgary Flames honoured Mike Vernon as he became just the second Flames player to have his number retired to the rafters. Vernie was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and came back to play in the Heritage Classic Alumni game in 2011.

Vernon still lives in Calgary with wife Jane, although they have a house in Invermere, BC where Mike has become involved in real estate development in the Windermere area. Mike was also one of the investors in the Bear Mountain resort in Victoria, BC.