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Zuke known as one of Tech’s all-time best

Michigan Tech defenseman Mike Zuke (7) follows the play in this file photo. (Courtesy Photo/Michigan Technological University)

HOUGHTON — Take a look at the Michigan Tech hockey record book and one name will stand out from all the others.

That name is Mike Zuke, who set most of the MTU records between 1972 and 1976.

Zuke’s name is at the top for most career goals, assists and total points. And that’s not mentioning an assortment of others, including most game-winners (21) and power play goals (42).

Late Tech coaching legend John MacInnes often said that Zuke, a native of Sault. Marie, had the ability to score from anywhere on the ice.

“(Zuke) was the kind of player who made his teammates better,” MacInnes commented more than once. “He just had an instinct for scoring.”

His 177 assists attest to that, and if you were looking for an example, take the 1973-74 Huskies.

Zuke set a single season mark of 47 goals that season — a number matched by teammate George Lyle. That made the duo the highest scoring (by far) pair of teammates at Tech. His career total of 310 points far outdistances any other MTU icer.

Of course, Tech also captured a NCAA championship in 1975 when they overwhelmed the opposition in St. Louis.

“That was a special season for all of us,” Zuke said in a 2005 interview. “We felt we should have won it all the next season, too.”

The Huskies, despite a record of 34-9, were defeated by a Minnesota-coached Herb Brooks team in the NCAA Final Four by a 6-4 score.

Zuke said the success he had could be attributed to playing with a talented group of teammates.

“I played with a great group of guys,” he said. “When you play with championship teams, you score a lot of goals, have a lot of offense and have a lot of success.”

One of his teammates was the late Bob D’Alvise, who ranks second in career scoring at MTU with 217 points.

Zuke went to have an eight-year career in the National Hockey league, playing for the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers.

Mike now resides in the St. Louis area and runs his own sporting apparel company.

The victory by the Blues in the Stanley Cup a year ago was great for the St. Louis area, according to Zuke.

“That was a real boost for our fans, who are some of the most loyal in the league,” he said.

As for MacInnes, Zuke had nothing but praise for the legendary skipper.

“The respect you had for him, and just the type of person he was, made him a great coach,” he said. “When you met him, you trusted him. And when you were playing for him, you knew he was doing the right things, and you respected his knowledge of the game.

Mike had a younger brother, Ron, who also played at Tech. He had a solid career between 1981-84 with 51 goals and 54 assists.

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