Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mike Amodeo

Mike Amodeo was too small to play defense in the National Hockey League. Just 5'10" and 190lbs, its pretty rare for a defensive minded back liner to play more than a handful of games. That's what Mike did - he played in 19 games during the Winnipeg Jets horrendous first NHL season. He collected no points and was a -15 in an otherwise unnoteworthy NHL career.

Mike did manage to play parts of 6 years of big league hockey with the World Hockey Association. There, with the Ottawa Nationals, Toronto Toros and Winnipeg Jets, he was a serviceable blueliner in a league where anyone who could play defense was in high demand.

The mobile defenseman also spent several years in Europe including parts of three seasons in Sweden before playing in the NHL, and in Italy afterwards.

An interesting aspect of Amodeo's life lies in his close friendship with former NHL goalie Gilles Gratton. Gratton, affectionately called Grattooney the Looney, has often been laughed off as most people consider him to be a space cadet. Gratton believes in reincarnation, and claims to have been several things in the past - a Spanish Count, a British Surgeon, an Indian Hobo, a 12th century sailor. He wasvalso is heavily involved in astrology.

Amodeo shared Gratton's interests. Especially meditation. Stories have it that Amodeo preferred afternoon "flights of fancy" to the traditional pre-game nap.

"Michael wouldn't lie down on his bed," recalled Jim Dorey, a teammate of Amodeo's with the WHA Toronto Toros. "He would get his mat out, sit on the floor, and then travel around the world on his mat. He told me he'd been to Japan and China. He just took off for the afternoon. He'd sit there with his eyes closed in the yoga position and I'd watch him fly away."

Mike was last on the ice at the 1982 World Championships, but he was not playing for Canada. His parents were Italian, and he used to secure his passport to represent Italy at the worlds.

The last we heard of Amodeo was that he was working in the Toronto area as a beer salesman.


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