Mike Kalinowski continued his On The Spot With series, this week meeting with Brandy Semchuk.
On The Spot With Brandy Semchuk
Position: Right Wing Born: Sept. 22, 1971 (Calgary, Alberta) Drafted: Selected by the Kings in the second round (28th overall) of the 1990 NHL Amateur Draft. Years With The Kings: 1992-93
Career With The Kings:
Appeared in one career NHL game and made his NHL debut when the Kings hosted his hometown Calgary Flames during the 1992-93 season.
Practiced with the Kings during their run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993.
Other Noteworthy Accomplishments:
Played with the Canadian National Team as a 17-year-old in 1988-89.
Made the transition to pro hockey as a 19-year-old while skating with the Kings farm team in New Haven during the 1990-91 season.
Appeared 315 professional minor league games during his career before retiring from the game as a player after the 1998-99 season.
In addition to the Kings, he played in New Haven (AHL), Phoenix (IHL), Raleigh (ECHL), Erie (ECHL), Nashville (ECHL), San Antonio (CHL), Columbus (CHL), Shreveport (WPHL) and Fresno (WCHL) from 1990-99.
What He’s Doing Now:
Coaching hockey in California with the Jr. Falcons in Fresno.
His daughter, eight-year-old Emma Semchuk, is also involved in the Jr. Falcons program. He says it’s a perfect opportunity for him to share his love of the game with his daughter.
Says that he left the Canadian National Team in 1990 with both lower back and groin injuries, and those injuries slowed his development during his first two seasons in the pro ranks with New Haven in 1990-91 and Phoenix the following year.
Says things started to click for him during his third pro season (1992-93). He was playing with Phoenix and then one day, out of the blue, he was told he needed to catch a flight because he was going to be playing for the Kings in Los Angeles that night.
Says he didn’t think at the time that his one game vs. Calgary would be his last in the NHL and with the Kings.
Says he remained in Phoenix for the balance of the season and then was recalled to Los Angeles with a couple of other minor league players for the Kings drive through the 1993 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Says he was lucky enough to be in the Calgary hotel lobby when Wayne Gretzky invited him to dinner during the Kings first round playoff series against the Flames in 1993. He says Wayne was superstitious, so he – along with those same other players that were in the lobby that first night in Calgary – had dinner with Gretzky throughout the Kings amazing run to the Finals that year.
Says it was amazing to be a 21-year-old kid hanging with the likes of Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, Tomas Sandstrom, Jari Kurri, Charlie Huddy and Tim Watters at that time because they all were so helpful and great mentors.
Says he felt he could play at the NHL level, but his path was blocked a lot during his four years in the Kings organization because the Kings – with Gretzky on the roster – were looking to win the Cup and because of that had one of the oldest teams in the league. He says a steady stream of veteran players added to the club during those years kept him in the minors.
Says he made a horrible decision to play out his option during his fourth season in the Kings organization (1993-94). He suffered a serious eye injury that same season and that injury continued to be a problem for the rest of his career.
Says that one game with the Kings has served him well with what he does now.