Quantcast
skip navigation

The brightest of stars

By Loren Nelson, Editor, 11/15/11, 10:07AM CST

Share

Top 100 pick Mike Crowley led Bloomington Jefferson to three straight state championships

Mike Crowley

Born: July 4, 1975

H.S. Class: 1994

Position: Defenseman

Rank
8

Status: Retired

Top 100 Scoring System

HOMETOWN HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
Bloomington Bloomington Jefferson Minnesota

Notable stats

State Tourneys State Titles All-State Tourney Career Points Mr. Hockey NHL Draft
1992, 93, 94 1992, 93, 94 1993, 94 154 (41 G, 113 A) 1994 140th overall (Phil., 1993)

182

  • High School | Max 185

    171 points

  • State Titles | Max 10

    8 points

  • Post H.S. Career | Max 5

    3 points


Bloomington Jefferson defenseman Mike Crowley scored a goal and added an assist in the Jaguars' 3-1 win over Moorhead in the 1994 state Class 2A championship game. Courtesy photo

Defenseman Mike Crowley's playmaking skills were foundation of Jefferson's dynasty years


Defenseman Mike Crowley owns the Bloomington Jefferson record for points in a season with 77 as a senior in 1993-94. Star Tribune file photo

Bianchi, Checco, Parrish, Pankratz, Petersen . . . Bloomington Jefferson’s stockpile of superstars was insane in its overabundance.

And those were just the forwards.

LaFleur, Anderson, Peterson, Trebil, Clymer, DeWolf … the Jaguars were just as loaded on defense, where the gate on the bench might just as well have been a revolving door for all the Division I college-caliber talent rotating through the program.

Strip any one – or even two – of the above-mentioned parts away from the mighty Jefferson machine that tore through Minnesota high school hockey in the mid-1990s and the Jaguars most likely still win three straight big-school championships.

Take away Mike Crowley and maybe, just maybe, Jefferson wins one or two titles.

“It was unfair when he was on the ice for a lot of other teams,” said Nick Checco, a Mr. Hockey award winner who graduated in 1993, a year ahead of Crowley.

A shut-down defenseman with the full array of offensive skills, Crowley dominated games in the defensive zone, the offensive zone and neutral ice.

"As I think back to playing with him through bantams and high school, I never saw Mike get beat one-on-one," said Joe Bianchi, who graduated with Crowley. "People want to laud his offensive skills, but if a guy was coming down one-on-one, you knew there was not only no chance he was going to get around Mike, but he wasn’t even going to get a shot off."

Crowleys impact was so great he probably could have taken a seat in the bleachers and still managed to throw a hip check or lead a breakout or two.


From left, Bloomington Jefferson's Ian Peterson, Joe Bianchi and Mike Crowley each were part of three state championship Jaguars teams. Courtesy photo

“He stood out on a team with a bunch of standout defensemen,” said Hibbing coach Mark DeCenzo, who was previously the head coach at Apple Valley and routinely squared off against Crowley and the Jaguars. “He controlled the play.

“Quarterback is a good word for what he was for them.”

Crowley cracked the Jaguars’ varsity lineup as a freshman during the 1990-91 season. Jefferson lost to Bloomington Kennedy 2-1 in the Section 5 championship game in 1991, and Crowley remembers standing on the ice and watching the Eagles celebrate.

Jefferson coach Tom Saterdalen and assistant John Bianchi parlayed that crushing loss into what Crowley described as a “teaching moment.”

“They said to us, ‘Look at how excited they are to be going to state,’ ” Crowley said. “Kennedy was certainly better than us. But we gave it a good run, and we were so close to making it.

“Obviously everyone’s dream is to make it to the state tournament.”

The loss to the Eagles marked the last time Crowley didn’t end the season with a victory.

Over the next three years, Jefferson went 79-3-2 as it became just the third program in state history to win three straight championships. Only Eveleth, which won four straight titles in 1948-51, had a better run. No team has repeated as big-school champions since the Jaguars’ three-peat.

“Having a chance to play in one state tournament, much less three, was an awesome experience,” Crowley said. “To play in the (St. Paul) Civic Center with those old clear boards … you used to just watch it and see the clear boards on TV.

“It was obviously pretty exciting.”

Jefferson’s success started with Crowley, whose crisp passes out of the defensive zone served as the catalyst for their offense.

“My senior year we rotated four D, but everyone wanted to play with Crowley,” Checco said. “He was awesome. If you were open, the puck was on your tape. He was usually two plays ahead of the game.”

Crowley was named to the all-state tournament team as a junior and senior in 1993 and 1994. In the 1994 championship game against Moorhead, Crowley scored midway through the third period to help clinch the Jaguars’ 3-1 triumph.


Defenseman Mike Crowley of Bloomington Jefferson scored 157 points in three seasons at the University of Minnesota. Star Tribune file photo

Crowley also had an assist against the Spuds as he capped one of the greatest seasons by a defenseman in state history. He scored 23 goals and added a stunning 54 assists for 77 points, the most in a single season in Jefferson history. He won the Mr. Hockey Award that spring.

Crowley's 154 career points is the third most by a Jaguar.

“He was one of those guys that sees the ice so well,” John Bianchi said. “He saw it better than anybody I’ve ever coached or been involved with. The other thing that was amazing about him was his first couple of steps were so quick, he not only beat the forecheck he did it so easily he didn’t get involved in traffic.

“He was so quick at making his first move.”

Crowley said playing youth and rink rat hockey with so many great players helped elevate all of the future Jaguars’ games. Once they got to high school, the ratcheting of the intensity level continued with each season.

“We had so many great players, they were on every line,” Crowley said. “Everyone wanted to be the hardest working guy. Practices certainly were very competitive. In an atmosphere like that, everyone is going to improve.”

With so many future Division I and NHL players in the same locker room, the scene at star-studded Jefferson was ripe for personality clashes and inflated egos. Crowley helped keep that in check, too.

“He was a good guy, fun to be around,” Checco said. “He would celebrate a lot harder for you scoring than if he did. He would get almost embarrassed if he scored.”

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Crowley, coveted by most every top Division I college program, visited Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Minnesota. He chose the Gophers, and he made an immediate impact as a freshman with 11 goals and 27 assists in 41 games in 1994-95. He scored 63 points as a sophomore and 56 points as a junior and turned pro after the 1996-97 season.

Crowley played in 67 regular season games during parts of three seasons for the Anaheim Ducks during his five-year pro career.

Crowley sells spine implants for Stryker Orthopaedics and lives in Eden Prairie with his wife Jobie and their children, Connor, 6, and Addison, 4.

-- Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor

Photo Gallery

Minnesota's Top 100

  • Ultra wheels

  • By Loren Nelson, Editor 11/20/2011, 10:03am CST
  • Silky stride took South St. Paul Top 100 pick Phil Housley to two state tournaments, NHL stardom
  • Read More 3 Comments
  • For the like of Ike

  • By Loren Nelson, Editor 11/16/2011, 10:02am CST
  • Eveleth sharpshooters enjoyed friendly rivalry with Top 100 goaltender Willard Ikola
  • Read More

Making History Blog

  • Get your Top 100 artwork

  • By MN Hockey Hub staff 11/22/2011, 11:57am CST
  • Deck out your desktop with wallpapers to celebrate the new season, including Top 100 finale
  • Read More

Most Popular

Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

Bloomington Jefferson players celebrate their 4-0 win over Hill-Murray in the championship game of the 1993 Tier I state tournament. Courtesy photo

Minnesota's Top 100 Players

Rank Name School Grad. Pos. Born Status St. Titles Mr. Hockey College Olym. NHL
1 John Mayasich Eveleth 1951 F 5/22/33 Retired 1948, 49, 50, 51 NA Minnesota (1951-55) 1956, 1960 -
2 Neal Broten Roseau 1978 F 11/29/59 Retired - NA Minnesota (1978-81) 1980 1,099 gms; four teams; 80-97
3 Phil Housley South St. Paul 1982 D 3/9/64 Retired - NA - 2002 1,495 gms; eight teams; 82-03
4 Tim Sheehy International Falls 1966 F 9/3/48 Retired 1964, 65, 66 NA Boston College (1967-70) 1972 27 gms; DET, HAR; 77-80
5 Henry Boucha Warroad 1969 D 6/1/51 Retired - NA - 1972 247 gms; four teams; 71-77
6 Mike Antonovich Greenway 1969 F 10/18/51 Retired 1967, 68 NA Minnesota (1969-72) - 87 gms; three teams; 75-84
7 Willard Ikola Eveleth 1950 G 7/28/32 Retired 1948, 49, 50 NA Michigan (1951-54) 1956 -
8 Mike Crowley Bloomington Jefferson 1994 D 7/4/75 Retired 1992, 93, 94 1994 Minnesota (1994-97) - 67 gms; ANA; 97-01
9 Dave Spehar Duluth East 1996 F 11/7/77 Retired 1995 1996 Minnesota (1996-00) - -
10 John Matchefts Eveleth 1949 F 6/18/31 Retired 1948, 49 NA Michigan (1950-53) 1956 -
11 Kyle Rau Eden Prairie 2011 F 10/24/92 Active 2009, 11 2011 Minnesota (2011- present) - -
12 Aaron Broten Roseau 1979 F 11/14/60 Retired - NA Minnesota (1979-81) - 748 gms; six teams; 80-92
13 Craig Norwich Edina East 1974 D 12/15/55 Retired 1974 NA Wisconsin (1974-77) - 104 gms; three teams; 79-81
14 John Pohl Red Wing 1998 F 6/29/79 Retired 1997 (Class 1A) 1998 Minnesota (1998-02) - 115 gms; StL, TOR; 03-08
15 Gary Sargent Bemidji 1972 D 2/8/54 Retired - NA Bemidji State (1972-73) - 402 gms; LAK, MIN; 75-83
16 Bob Krieger Edina 1970 F 10/5/52 Retired 1969 NA Denver (1970-74) - -
17 George Pelawa Bemidji 1986 F 2/14/68 Deceased - 1986 - - -
18 Bill Nyrop Edina 1970 D 7/23/52 Deceased 1969 NA Notre Dame (1970-74) - 207 gms; MON, MIN; 75-82
19 Tom Chorske Minneapolis Southwest 1985 F 9/18/66 Retired - 1985 Minnesota (1985-89) - 596 gms; seven teams; 89-00
20 Steve "Pokey" Trachsel Duluth Cathedral 1969 D 4/16/51 Retired 1966, 67, 68, 69 (Catholic) NA Minnesota-Duluth (1969-73) - -
21 Scott Bloom Burnsville 1986 F 2/6/68 Retired 1985, 86 1986 finalist Minnesota (1986-90) - -
22 Phil Hoene Duluth Cathedral 1967 F 3/15/49 Retired 1965, 66, 67 (Catholic) NA Minnesota-Duluth (1968-71) - 37 gms; LAK; 72-75
23 Corey Millen Cloquet 1982 F 4/29/64 Retired - NA Minnesota (1982-87) 1984, 1988 335 gms; five teams; 89-97
24 Reed Larson Minneapolis Roosevelt 1974 D 7/30/56 Retired - NA Minnesota (1974-77) - 904 gms; six teams; 76-90
25 Bob Young Hill 1971 D 3/1/53 Retired 1970 (Indep.) NA Denver (1971-75) - -
26 Brad Shelstad Minneapolis Southwest 1970 G 9/14/52 Retired 1970 NA Minnesota (1970-74) - -
27 Mike Ramsey Minneapolis Roosevelt 1978 D 12/3/60 Retired - NA Minnesota (1978-79) 1980 1,070 gms; three teams; 80-97
28 Matt Cullen Moorhead 1995 F 11/2/76 Active - 1995 finalist St. Cloud State (1995-97) - 966 gms; five teams; 98- present
29 Bill Baker Grand Rapids 1975 D 11/29/56 Retired 1975 NA Minnesota (1975-79) 1980 143 gms; four teams; 80-83
30 Paul Martin Elk River 2000 D 3/5/81 Active - 2000 Minnesota (2000-03) 2006 487 gms; NJ, PIT; 03- present
31 Wally Grant Eveleth 1945 F 12/8/27 Retired 1945 NA Michigan (1945-46, 47-50) - -
32 Brian Bonin White Bear Lake 1992 F 11/28/73 Retired - 1992 Minnesota (1992-96) - 12 gms; PIT, MIN; 98-00
33 Larry Olimb Warroad 1988 D 8/11/69 Retired - 1988 Minnesota (1988-92) - -
34 Dave Langevin Hill-Murray 1972 D 5/15/54 Retired 1970, 72 (Indep.) NA Minnesota-Duluth (1972-76) - 513 gms; three teams; 79-87
35 Joe Bianchi Bloomington Jefferson 1994 F 8/17/75 Retired 1992, 93, 94 1994 finalist Wisconsin (1994-98) - -
36 Peter Fichuk International Falls 1965 F 4/8/47 Retired 1964, 65 NA Minnesota (1966-69) - -
37 Jon Casey Grand Rapids 1980 G 8/29/62 Retired 1980 NA North Dakota (1980-84) 425 gms; three teams; 83-87
38 Doug Woog South St. Paul 1962 F 1/26/44 Retired - NA Minnesota (1963-66) - -
39 Darby Hendrickson Richfield 1991 F 8/28/72 Retired - 1991 Minnesota (1991-93) 1994 518 gms; five teams; 94-04
40 Paul Ranheim Edina 1984 F 1/25/66 Retired 1984 NA Wisconsin (1984-88) - 1,013 gms; five teams; 88-03
41 Steve Christoff Richfield 1976 F 1/23/58 Retired - NA Minnesota (1976-79) 1980 248 gms; three teams; 79-84
42 T.J. Oshie Warroad 2005 F 12/23/86 Active 2003, 2005 (Class 1A) 2005 finalist North Dakota (2005-08) - 184 gms; StL; 08- present
43 Scott Lecy Rochester John Marshall 1977 F 4/8/59 Retired 1977 NA Wisconsin (1977-81) - -
44 Scott Bjugstad Irondale 1979 F 6/2/61 Retired - NA Minnesota (1979-83) 1984 317 gms; three teams; 83-92
45 Mike "Lefty" Curran International Falls 1962 G 4/14/1944 Retired 1962 NA North Dakota (1965-68) 1972 -
46 Joe Micheletti Hibbing 1973 F 10/24/54 Retired 1973 NA Minnesota (1973-77) - 158 gms; StL, COL; 79-82
47 Rob McClanahan Mounds View 1976 F 1/9/58 Retired - NA Minnesota (1976-79) 1980 224 gms; three teams; 80-84
48 Nick Leddy Eden Prairie 2009 D 3/20/91 Active 2009 2009 Minnesota (2009-10) - 46 gms; CHI; 10- present
49 Tom Pederson Bloomington Jefferson 1988 D 1/14/70 Retired - 1988 finalist Minnesota (1988-91) - 240 gms; SJ, TOR; 92-97
50 Dave Christian Warroad 1977 F 5/12/59 Retired - NA North Dakota (1977-79) 1980 1,009 gms; five teams; 80-94
51 Jay North Bloomington Jefferson 1980 F 6/26/62 Retired - NA Harvard (1980-84) - -
52 Paul Johnson Breck 1953 F 5/18/36 Retired - NA - 1960, 1964 -
53 Pete Waselovich International Falls 1973 G 11/15/54 Retired 1972 NA North Dakota (1973-77) - -
54 Tom Kurvers Bloomington Jefferson 1980 D 9/14/62 Retired - NA UM-Duluth (1980-84) - 659 gms; seven teams; 84-95
55 Mark Osiecki Burnsville 1986 D 7/23/68 Retired 1985, 86 - Wisconsin (1997-90) - 93 gms; four teams; 91-93
56 Mark Pavelich Eveleth 1976 F 2/28/58 Retired - NA UM-Duluth (1976-79) 1980 355 gms; three teams; 81-92
57 Mark Parrish Bloomington Jefferson 1995 F 2/2/77 Active 1994 1995 finalist St. Cloud State (1995-97) 2006 722 gms; seven teams; 98- present
58 Bryan "Butsy" Erickson Roseau 1978 F 3/7/60 Retired - NA Minnesota (1979-83) - 351 gms; four teams; 83-94
59 Roger Christian Warroad 1956 F 12/1/35 Deceased - NA - 1960, 1964 -
60 Bill Christian Warroad 1956 F 1/28/38 Retired - NA - 1960, 1964 -
61 Trent Klatt Osseo 1989 F 1/30/72 Retired - 1989 Minnesota (1989-92) - 782 gms; five teams; 91-04
62 Erik Rasmussen St. Louis Park 1995 F/D 3/28/77 Retired - 1995 Minnesota (1995-97) - 545 gms; three teams; 97-07
63 Robb Stauber Duluth Denfeld 1986 G 11/25/67 Retired - NA Minnesota (1986-89) - 62 gms; LAK, BUF; 89-95
64 Joe Dziedzic Minneapolis Edison 1990 F 12/18/71 Retired - 1990 Minnesota (1990-94) - 130 gms; PIT, PHX; 95-99
65 Ryan McDonagh Cretin- Derham Hall 2007 D 6/13/89 Active 2006 2007 Wisconsin (2007-10) - 40 gms; NYR; 10- present
66 Craig Johnson Hill-Murray 1990 F 3/18/72 Retired - 1990 finalist Minnesota (1990-93) 1994 557 gms; five teams; 94-04
67 Matt Hendricks Blaine 2000 F 6/17/81 Active 2000 2000 finalist St. Cloud State (2000-04) - 137 gms; COL, WSH; 08- present
68 Wally Chapman Edina 1982 F 7/6/64 Retired 1982 NA Minnesota (1982-86) - -
69 Bob Paradise Cretin 1962 D 4/22/44 Retired - NA Saint Mary's (1962-66) 1968 368 gms; four teams; 71-79
70 Ben Hanowski Little Falls 2009 F 10/18/90 Active - 2009 finalist St. Cloud State (2009- present) - -
71 Damian Rhodes Richfield 1987 G 5/28/69 Retired - NA Michigan Tech (1987-90) - 309 gms; three teams; 90-02
72 Eric Strobel Rochester Mayo 1976 F 6/5/58 Retired - NA Minnesota (1976-79) 1980 -
73 Dick Dougherty International Falls 1950 F 8/5/32 Retired - NA Minnesota (1951-54) 1956 -
74 Gino Guyer Greenway 2002 F 10/14/83 Active - 2002 Minnesota (2002-06) - -
75 Jim Amidon International Falls 1963 F 2/18/45 Retired 1962 NA Colorado College (1964-67) - -
76 Karl Goehring Apple Valley 1996 G 8/23/78 Retired 1996 NA North Dakota (1997-01) - -
77 Rube Bjorkman Roseau 1947 F 2/27/29 Retired 1946 NA Minnesota (1948-51) 1948, 1952 -
78 Tony Bianchi Bloomington Jefferson 1989 F 12/15/70 Retired 1989 - Minnesota (1991-94) - -
79 Oscar Mahle International Falls 1957 F 8/22/39 Deceased 1957 NA Minnesota (1959-61) - -
80 Mike Randolph Duluth Cathedral 1970 F 11/5/51 Retired 1967, 68, 69 (Catholic) NA - - -
81 Aaron Ness Roseau 2008 D 5/18/90 Active 2007 2008 Minnesota (2008-11) - -
82 Doug Palazzari Eveleth 1970 F 11/3/52 Retired - NA Colorado College (1970-74) - 108 gms; StL; 74-79
83 Nick Checco Bloomington Jefferson 1993 F 11/18/74 Retired 1992, 93 1993 Minnesota (1993-97) - -
84 John Rothstein Grand Rapids 1975 F 10/28/56 Retired 1975 NA UM-Duluth (1975-79) - -
85 Gary Wood International Falls 1965 D 9/28/46 Deceased 1964, 65 NA - - -
86 Al Hangsleben Warroad 1971 D 2/22/53 Retired - NA North Dakota (1971-74) - 185 gms; three teams; 79-82
87 Doug Peltier St. Paul Johnson 1968 F 6/29/50 Retired - NA Minnesota (1969-72) - -
88 Mike Lauen Edina East 1979 F 2/6/61 Retired 1978, 79 NA Michigan Tech (1979-83) - 4 gms; WIN; 83-84
89 Max Oshie Warroad 1948 F 6/10/28 Deceased - NA - - -
90 Tom Gorowsky Centennial 2004 F 4/8/86 Retired 2004 2004 Wisconsin (2005-09) - -
91 Jack McCartan St. Paul Marshall 1953 G 8/5/35 Retired - NA Minnesota (1955-58) 1960 12 gms; NYR; 59-61
92 Doug Zmolek Roch. John Marshall 1989 D 11/3/70 Retired - 1989 finalist Minnesota (1989-92) - 467 gms; four teams; 92-00
93 Pete LoPresti Eveleth 1972 G 5/23/54 Retired - NA Denver (1972-74) - 175 gms; MIN, EDM; 74-81
94 Terry Abram South St. Paul 1965 D 2/14/47 Retired - NA North Dakota (1966-69) - -
95 Bill "Buzz" Schneider Babbitt 1972 F/D 9/14/54 Retired - NA Minnesota (1972-75) 1976, 1980 -
96 David Backes Spring Lake Park 2002 F 5/1/84 Active - 2002 finalist Minnesota State (2003-06) 2010 364 gms; StL; 06-11
97 Don Ross Roseau 1960 F 10/11/42 Retired 1958, 59 NA North Dakota (1961-65) 1964, 1968 -
98 Mike Polich Hibbing 1971 F 12/19/52 Retired - NA Minnesota (1971-75) - 226 gms; MON, MIN; 76-81
99 Chris Locker Duluth East 1996 F 10/14/77 Retired 1995 - UW-River Falls (1999-2000) - -
100 Herb Brooks St. Paul Johnson 1955 F 8/5/37 Deceased 1955 NA Minnesota (1955-59) 1964, 1968 -