Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Warren Young, Mario's Sidekick


Warren Young caught lightning in a bottle. Having been drafted in the fourth round by the California Seals in 1976, he opted to return to Michigan Tech to complete his college career. He would graduate in 1979 with a B.S. in management and a point per game over 4 hockey seasons. Young would soon establish himself as a professional scorer leading the EHL with 53 goals as a Baltimore Clipper. Moving up to the Central League he would score 26 ,31 and 26 goals for the North Stars farm team. Through all this, he would play only five games in the NHL, never distinguishing himself. By now, the years of bus rides to nowhere had him discouraged and a free agent at 27.The Pittsburgh Penguins signed him to their Baltimore AHL team and he responded with 63 points in 59 games as well as 8 points in 15 games with the big club.
The following year, Mario Lemieux, fresh out of junior hockey personally requested the 29 year old Young as a line mate. "He handles the puck so well he makes room for me," Lemieux is quoted in a Jan. 1985 Sports Illustrated article on Young. "We're not going to shave Warren's hair," said team captain Mike Bullard of the standard rookie initiation rite, "because at his age it might not grow back." Young tallied 40 goals, 72 points and 174 pims in being named to the All-Rookie squad alongside Mario, Tomas Sandstrom and Chris Chelios.
Young was a free agent once again however following his terrific rookie year. He would jump at the big money and sign with the Red Wings. He perhaps under estimated the importance of playing along side one of the greatest scorers of all-time, as he would tally only 22 goals and 46 points for an awful Detroit squad. The Wings gave up on him and dealt him back to Pittsburgh for cash in October of 1986. Young would play parts of the next two seasons with the Pens scoring only 8 goals in 57 games. In 1987/88 while playing 60 games for the IHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks he would manage 25 goals as well as a goon-like 325 penalty minutes.
Young was out of hockey, save for a brief four game stint in 1994 with the Pittsburgh Phantoms of the Roller Hockey League scoring 4 points and 20 pims. He coached Louisville of the ECHL for seven seasons until 1998.

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