Luke Gazdic (LW) 2009-2013
Luke Gazdic (LW)
Stars Debut: October 23, 2009 vs. Lake Erie
Stars Career Stats: 257 GP, 55 Points (27 Goals, 28 Assists), 447 PIMs
Luke Gazdic is the only player in Texas Stars history to wear the No. 34 jersey. The Toronto, Ontario native is also one of the Original Stars, having played in all four seasons of the team’s existence. Gazdic was drafted by Dallas in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and he played three years of major junior hockey with the Erie Otters of the OHL. Immediately after Erie was eliminated from the 2009 OHL playoffs during his final year of juniors, he signed a three-year entry level contract with the Stars on April 3, 2009 and made his pro debut that night for the Idaho Steelheads in Boise against the Phoenix Road Runners.
Gazdic began the 2009-10 season with Texas and made his Stars and AHL debut on October 23, 2009 vs. Lake Erie. His first AHL fighting major would follow the next evening when he dropped the gloves with Hamilton’s Eric Neilson just 2:38 into the first period. On November 18, 2009 he scored his first career AHL goal and point when he found the net in a 3-1 win at Rockford. On December 8, 2009 Gazdic was reassigned to Idaho and the next night at home against the Ontario Reign, he recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick, tallying a goal, an assist and a fight in a 3-2 loss. He would only play four games for Idaho before being recalled to Texas and he has not played in an ECHL game since. But perhaps what is most startling is the fact that was the only Gordie Howe hat trick of his pro career. Gazdic has satisfied two of the third criteria ten times in 256 career AHL games with Texas, but has never hit the trifecta. Twice he has scored both a goal and an assist in the same game, but did not drop the gloves, accomplishing the feat on February 11, 2011 vs. Rockford in a 6-5 overtime win and on March 31, 2012 vs. Lake Erie in a 4-0 shutout.
Perhaps one of Gazdic’s more memorable games came on December 17, 2010 at San Antonio. He scored the game-winning goal and got into two fights and was named the game’s second star as Texas beat the Rampage 3-0. He is the Stars’ all-time franchise leader in penalty minutes (447) and holds single season team records for penalty minutes (155) and major penalties (21). Gazdic’s personal single-game penalty minute record is 25 and it came on January 29, 2010 against Abbotsford when he fought three times, once in each period; five minutes for each fight and 10 minutes for the automatic game-misconduct that accompanies the third fight of the game. He ranks fifth all-time on Texas in games played (256), 10th in goals (27) and 14th in points (55).
Gazdic has worn No. 34 for the Stars in every single regular season and Calder Cup Playoff game in his AHL career, with the exception of 40 minutes, when became the first player in team history to wear the No. 2 jersey on April 9, 2010. The reason for the in-game number change arose when he got into a fight with Rockford’s Brandon Bollig in the first period at Cedar Park Center and his normal No. 34 sweater was torn so badly, it could not be repaired during the first intermission. So Gazdic wore No. 2 for the second and third periods of the game and has not worn that number since.
Gazdic was set to become an unrestricted free-agent this summer, but re-signed a new one-year contract with Dallas on July 2, 2013, three days before free agency began.