Michael Peca

Last updated
Michael Peca
Michael Peca.PNG
Michael Peca (left) takes a face-off against Artem Chubarov (right) during the 2002–03 season.
Born (1974-03-26) March 26, 1974 (age 45)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Vancouver Canucks
Buffalo Sabres
New York Islanders
Edmonton Oilers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Columbus Blue Jackets
National teamFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
NHL Draft 40th overall, 1992
Vancouver Canucks
Playing career 19932009

Michael Anthony Peca (born March 26, 1974) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey forward who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Peca currently is the general manager and director of hockey operations for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, a Junior A hockey team owned by the Buffalo Sabres, one of two teams he captained.


Playing career

Peca began his junior career with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) after they selected him in the first round of the 1990 player draft. He was traded to the Ottawa 67's where he blossomed into one of the league's top offensive players. He was drafted in the second round, 40th overall, by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut with the Canucks in the 1993–94 season, playing four games before cracking the lineup as a regular in the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season. He would then be traded to the Buffalo Sabres during the 1995 NHL Entry Draft as part of a package that sent Alexander Mogilny from Buffalo to Vancouver.

Peca twice won the Frank J. Selke Trophy for being the best defensive forward, in 1996–97 and 2001–02. He captained the Buffalo Sabres to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999. His nickname was "Captain Crunch" because of his penchant for delivering bone-crushing open ice hits. [1]

For the 2000–01 season, Peca and the Buffalo Sabres could not agree on a contract. Peca went without a contract the entire season. Peca was later traded to the New York Islanders in exchange for Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt, where he led the Islanders to their first playoff berth in seven years. Peca was hip-checked by Toronto Maple Leafs' Darcy Tucker during the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs in game five of the first round. [2] The check blew out Peca's MCL and ACL on his left knee, ending his season and delaying his entry into the 2002–03 season. No penalty was assessed, but the NHL made clipping illegal as a result of the incident.

Peca was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers in a trade with the Islanders in exchange for Mike York. He was part of the Cinderella Edmonton Oiler team that made a run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Peca had six goals and five assists in the 2006 playoffs.

On July 18, 2006, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they had signed Peca as a free agent to a one-year, $2.5 million contract for the 2006–07 season, making Tucker and Peca teammates. During a game against the Chicago Blackhawks on December 22, 2006, Peca collided with Chicago defenceman Jim Vandermeer with 5:17 left in the first period. Vandermeer was assessed a minor penalty and a game misconduct for the hit. Peca sustained a fractured tibia at the base of his right knee and suffered significant ligament damage, and missed the remainder of the 2006–07 season.

On August 21, 2007, Peca signed a one-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. On October 11, 2008, he received an indefinite suspension (later reduced to a five-game suspension) after grabbing referee Greg Kimmerly's arm in Columbus' first game of the 2008–09 season. [3] [4]

On January 19, 2010, through the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), Peca announced his retirement from professional hockey. [5]

International play

Medal record
Representing Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Ice hockey
Olympic Games
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2002 Salt Lake City
World Junior Championships
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 1994 Czech Republic

Peca was first selected to represent Canada at the 1994 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, capturing the gold medal. He captained the senior Canadian team at the 2001 World Championships in Germany before he was selected as a member of the gold medal-winning Canadian ice hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Coaching career

Beginning in the 2012–13 season, Peca was named head coach of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), where he coached through the 2013–14 season. After the 2012–13 season, he was named OJHL Coach of the Year. In his two years coaching, he had 66 wins in 108 regular season games.

Michael Peca will serve as Head Coach of the Bantam Major Jr. Sabres in addition to his duties as General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations for the Buffalo Junior Sabres Junior A team. [6]

Personal life

Michael Peca's hometown is Toronto, Ontario, but he moved to Ottawa to attend Canterbury High School. Peca and his wife, the former Kristin Herzog, now live in Getzville, New York, with their two children. [7] [8]

Peca is not related to current NHL forward Matthew Peca.

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

   Regular season   Playoffs
Season TeamLeagueGP G A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1990–91 Sudbury Wolves OHL 621427412451017
1991–92 Sudbury WolvesOHL3916345061
1991–92 Ottawa 67's OHL27817253211610166
1992–93 Ottawa 67'sOHL55386410280
1992–93 Hamilton Canucks AHL 963911
1993–94 Ottawa 67'sOHL555063113101177222930
1993–94 Vancouver Canucks NHL 40002
1994–95 Syracuse Crunch AHL3510243475
1994–95 Vancouver CanucksNHL3366123050118
1995–96 Buffalo Sabres NHL6811203167
1996–97 Buffalo SabresNHL7920294980100228
1997–98 Buffalo SabresNHL6118224057133258
1998–99 Buffalo SabresNHL822729568121581318
1999–2000 Buffalo SabresNHL732021416750114
2001–02 New York Islanders NHL802535606251012
2002–03 New York IslandersNHL661329424350004
2003–04 New York IslandersNHL761129407150006
2005–06 Edmonton Oilers NHL71914235624651120
2006–07 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL354111560
2007–08 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL658263464
2008–09 Columbus Blue JacketsNHL71418225840002
NHL totals8641762894657989715193480


YearTeamEventResult GPGAPtsPIM
1994 Canada WJC Gold medal icon.svg72248
2001 Canada WC 5th31340
2002 Canada OG Gold medal icon.svg60222
Junior totals72246
Senior totals91562

Awards and honours

Frank J. Selke Trophy 1997, 2002

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  1. "Peca follows Hasek footsteps back to Buffalo". USA Today. 2002-03-11. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  2. Split reference:
  3. "Peca suspended indefinitely". NHL News. National Post. 2008-10-12. Archived from the original on 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  4. "NHL bans Peca five games for grabbing referee". AFP. 2008-10-17. Archived from the original on 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  5. "Michael Peca retires after 13 NHL seasons". NHL News. NHL. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  6. "John Tucker will serve as head coach of Jr. Sabres". Buffalo Sabres. 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-04-17.
  7. "Peca goes behind the bench". mississauga.com. 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  8. "Columbus Blue Jackets hope youngsters learned from playoff run". The Hockey News . 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kenny Jönsson
New York Islanders captain
Succeeded by
Alexei Yashin
Preceded by
Pat LaFontaine
Buffalo Sabres captain
Succeeded by
Stu Barnes
Preceded by
Sergei Fedorov
Winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy
Succeeded by
Jere Lehtinen
Preceded by
John Madden
Winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy
Succeeded by
Jere Lehtinen

Note: While Peca was injured during (part of) the 1997–98 season, Donald Audette served as captain.
Additionally, Peca sat out the 2000–01 NHL season, in a contract dispute (later asking for a trade). The Sabres captaincy remained vacant, until after Peca was traded.