There was a collective gasp from the Texas Stars community this past weekend with the announcement that Luke Gazdic had been claimed off of waivers by the Edmonton Oilers. Gazdic had joined up with the Texas Stars on October 23, 2009 and had been with the team ever since then.
Gazdic holds the record for the all-time leader in penalties at 367 PIM’s. In his first year with Texas, Gazdic had 3 goals and 1 assist in 49 games and racked up 155 PIM’s. As his years went on with the team, he set out to prove that he was more than a goon willing to engage in fisticuffs at the first drop of a hat (or gloves in the this matter). In his second year, he gained 9 goals and 8 assists in 72 games and his PIM’s dropped down to 110 for the season. Over the years, it was easy to tell that he put more time and effort into his performance as a player rather than proving his feats with his fists.
Beyond the stats, Gaz (as he was affectionately known) was a fan favorite, willing to pose for numerous photos and spend endless hours signing autographs. Even after a hard loss, he could always be counted to interact with the fans that congregated to meet with him, with a huge smile on his face no less. Whenever he would step out on the ice for his shift the crowd would shout together with a resounding “Luuuuuuuuuuuuke”.
Gaz made much ado at the Dallas Stars camp this year, with the hope that he would finally make the NHL roster. Dallas management wasn’t the only one looking at him, and after he had scored a goal against the Oilers in a pre-season matchup, he was snatched up as soon as he was sent down on waivers. After losing tough guy Steve MacIntyre to an injury, Gazdic was the perfect fit for the team.
Seeing the fan favorite in a different jersey has been tough for the Stars community and if we see him at the Cedar Park Center anytime soon in a matchup against our guys, the feeling will be bittersweet.