Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tom Chorske

When thinking back of Tom Chorske the first thing that immediately comes to mind was his breakaway speed. But the rest of his skill set did not really allow him to take full advantage of his speed. He seemingly had hands of stone when it came to scoring or feathering soft passes. For all the opportunities his speed could create, he rarely finished.

Physically Chorske had good size but was far from a noticeable presence. He was solid when, taking the body cleanly when needed, but he was inconsistent and never vicious. Perhaps this was a product of his college and international training of the day. But his size and speed should have encouraged him to be far more impactful than his temperament allowed.

Chorske was born and raised in Minneapolis, the State of Hockey. He grew up with the game, being named as the top high school play in the whole state (1985) before achieving the state dream - playing for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. He earned a full ticket scholarship, studied business and developed into a top NHL prospect.

The Montreal Canadiens had drafted Chorske in the 1st round, 16th overall, in 1986. They were very patient with Chorske, allowing him to go through college as well as joining the United States national team in hopes of playiing in the 1988 Olympics. In what may have been the biggest disappointment of his career, Chorske was the last player cut from the Team USA 1988 Olympic team.

Chorske carried on, returning to school and later turning professional in 1990. After a season in the minors he spent most of the 1990-91 season as a rookie with the Habs, failing to make much of an impact.

Just prior to the 1991-92 season Chorske was involved in a major trade to the New Jersey Devils. Chorske and Stephane Richer were moved to New Jersey for Kirk Muller and Roland Melanson on September 20, 1991.

When healthy Chorske challenged the 20 goal level twice with New Jersey. But his role diminished as time went by. Still, Chorske earned the right to be called a Stanley Cup champion with the Devils in 1995.

Chorske would bounce around the league after that. When all was said and done he had played in 596 regular season games, scoring 115 goals, 122 assists and 237 points.

In retirement Chorske returned to Minnesota and became a senior account executive with Merrill Corp.


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