Joseph Brian Junkin
Born: September 8, 1946 (Lindsay, Ontario)
Died: January 11, 2014 (Harrisburg, Pa.)
Member: Lindsay (Ont.) and District Sports Hall of Fame (2008)
Joe Junkin’s NHL career lasted 7 minutes, 56 seconds.
On Dec. 14, 1968, the backup replaced Gerry Cheevers in the Boston net after the Bruins took a 10-5 lead over the visiting Chicago Black Hawks. The rookie stopped all six shots he faced. He never played another NHL game.
His debut game is remembered, if at all, for Bobby Orr’s performance, the greatest of his career to that date. The defenceman scored three goals and added two assists. The Bruins peppered the Chicago net with 50 shots in a rare game in which four goaltenders saw action. Boston scored seven times against Dave Dryden and three more against replacement Jack Norris.
Junkin, who was born in Lindsay, Ont., played junior-B with the Bobcaygeon Bobcats before joining the senior-A Belleville Mohawks. The Boston Bruins signed him as a free agent in 1968, assigning him to their Central Hockey League farm team, the Oklahoma City Blazers. He was called up in December after Eddie Johnston suffered a fractured skull.
He had a stellar training camp in September, 1969, most notably backstopping the Bruins to a 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in a preseason exhibition game played in Peterborough, Ont. The Toronto Star pronounced him “a standout,” but Junkin suffered a severe leg bruise and did not replace either Johnston or Cheevers on the Bruins roster.
The netminder split the 1969-70 season between the Blazers and the Hershey Bears. He then suffered a detached retina in his left eye when struck by a deflected puck while working at a summer hockey camp in Oklahoma City. He missed the following season after undergoing surgery.
The goalie played two games for the minor-league Long Island Ducks before joining the Syracuse Blazers. In 34 games in 1972-73, he tied teammate Yves Belanger for the Eastern Hockey League shutout crown, as both Blazers goalies recorded five blanks. (Belanger would go on to play 78 NHL games for three teams.) Junkin had a 2.61 goals-against average. The Blazers went on to win the Walker Cup as league champions.
Junkin returned to a major professional league when he made his debut with the New York Golden Blades of the World Hockey Association at the start of the 1973-74 season. It would be a troubled season for the franchise, which wound up orphaned as the Jersey Knights playing out of Cherry Hill, N.J. The goalie had a 21-25-4 record with a lone shutout and a 3.79 average.
He moved with the franchise to San Diego at the end of the season. He played in 15 games for the Mariners in 1974-75 (1 shutout, 3.29 average).
The Cincinnati Stingers picked up his rights in the offseason, though he never played for that club,
ending his playing career in the minor Southern Hockey League in 1975-76 with the Tidewater Sharks and Roanoke Valley Rebels.
Junkin died of cancer in Harrisburg, Pa.