September 16 in Indianapolis hockey history

Happy birthday to …

Larry Sacharuk: Defenseman who played 15 games for the Racers in their final shortened 1978 season. Sacharuk was the Rangers’ second-round pick in the 1972 NHL Draft after scoring 50 goals for his junior team — the highest known total ever by a defenseman at high levels of North American junior/pro hockey. He played 151 games in the NHL from 1972-77 with the Rangers and St. Louis Blues. He had 20 goals in the 1974-75 season with the Blues. After spending a year in the AHL, he came to the Racers and had two goals and nine assists. In 166 major pro games, he had 31 goals and 42 assists. He played one year in the CHL after his stint with the Racers, and continued to play in Europe. He is currently working in the front office for the Merritt Centennials hockey team in Britain. A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, he is 65.

Rick Lanz: Defenseman who played eight games for the Ice in 1990-91, tallying five assists. He came to the Ice after a long nine-year NHL career that saw him score 65 goals and 221 assists in nine seasons with Vancouver and Toronto. He played for the 1982 Western Conference Champion Canucks as a rookie. He went to Europe in 1989-90, and then returned to North America the following year. He played one game for the Blackhawks the year after playing for the Ice, and played parts of two seasons with IHL Phoenix and Atlanta before retiring in 1993. He has since been a coach in the Canadian junior and British professional ranks, and is currently a scout for the Colorado Avalanche He was born in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia, but grew up in Ontario after his family defected following the Soviet Union’s invasion of his country in 1968.  He is 56.

Chris MacKenzie: High-scoring center for the ice from 1999-2002. In 160 games with the team, he had 88 goals and 219 assists. He ranks fourth all-time in assists by Indianapolis hockey players, and eighth in points. His 93-assist season in 2000-01 is the highest-ever by an Indianapolis hockey player, and his 80 assists the previous year are the third-most. The former Colgate University player was already a pro hockey veteran when he came to the Ice, having played in the ECHL, Colonial/United, Sunshine, International and Western Professional Hockey Leagues, as well as Britain. He found his best success with the Ice, tallying the only two 100-point seasons of his career, with 127 points in 1999-2000 and 123 the following year. He also had seven goals and 14 assists in the Miron Cup championship run of 2000, and eight goals and 19 assists in 18 total playoff games with the Ice. He was the CHL’s MVP and tied linemate Yvan Corbin as the league’s leading scorer in 2000. He continued to play minor pro hockey through 2005, and senior hockey through 2006. He is currently a financial analyst in Indianapolis. A native of Toronto, he is 46.

Jason Baird: Winger for the Ice from 2002-04. He had two solid seasons, tallying 53 goals and 96 assists in the two years, as well as 294 penalty minutes, in 128 games. Baird also had seven goals and eight assists in 13 postseason games for the Ice. He came to the team after spending his rookie year in 2001-02 with the Cincinnati Cyclones. When the Ice left the CHL, Baird remained in the league and played four more seasons with Corpus Christi and Youngstown. In the summer of 2008, he survived a horrific injury when a lawn mower he was riding exploded while he was working at his summer job. Born in Cauga, Ontario in 1980, he passed away of complications from pancreatitis in 2014 at age 33.