FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2022
DESPITE HISTORIC PHOTO, 240 GOALS STILL ON HORIZON
Kalamazoo’s historic photo tells epic story, even if it’s not the right one.
By Chris Cadeau for K-Wings.com
KALAMAZOO, MI – Photos are good enough to be evidence in a court of law, so there’s no reason why one wouldn’t believe that arguably one of the K-Wings’ most iconic photos, featuring arguably the most iconic K-Wing of all time, wouldn’t be real.
Well, here it is, the 240-goal photo of the legendary K-Wing Kevin Shamehorn, you know the one that lives in the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and is spread far and wide across the internet…
It’s, dare we say it, a sham.
But what if we told you it’s believed to be the work of the Hockey Gods?
“I just don’t understand why they’d do that,” said Kalamazoo alternate captain Justin Taylor. “I will not be messing with you (looks up). We’re good.”
But it’s just a milestone photo before it happens. It’s just being prepared for the moment. That’s cool, right?
Well, if superstition is to blame, that photo might just be the reason why Justin Taylor (238) is currently chasing both Kevin Schamehorn and Mike Wanchuk for the K-Wings' all-time goal record (239).
Superstitions are a part of life, and they definitely seem to be more prevalent in hockey than in most sports.
From the playoff beard - to the order in which a team skates onto the ice - all the way down to how a player tapes their stick - it’s all methodical, purposeful and rooted in superstition.
Even the Great One (Wayne Gretzky) would lather his stick with baby powder before each game, yet the mack daddy of all superstitions seems to be ‘not counting your chickens before they hatch.’
In fact, speaking something into existence, without knocking on wood, might just land some of the blame square on your shoulders in the locker room.
“I don’t remember why we took the photo with 240 on the puck,” Schamehorn said. “All I know is I’m tied with [Wanchuk], and I couldn’t be in better company.”
The full backstory is Mike Wanchuk poured in 239 goals for Kalamazoo in just six seasons from the team’s inaugural 1974-75 campaign thru 1979-80. Wanchuk’s assault helped lead the team to two championships and he would retire from professional hockey immediately following their second Turner Cup.
Schamehorn showed up on the scene in 1976-77 and joined Wanchuk’s tear through the IHL, and the two combined for 206 goals and tallied 441 points in the next three seasons (1976-77 thru 1978-79). Oh, and when the first cup came home in 1978-79, the two appeared on the score sheet 161 times.
“Chucker had a big shot and was a lead-by-example guy who showed us, rookies, the way,” Neil Meadmore said. “Shammy was the heartbeat of the K-Wings from the late 70s to the early 90s. The man would fight, score goals and set the tempo of the game by his physical play.”
Shammy’s 102-point season (45G, 57A, 245 PIM) in 1978-79 surpassed the then all-time points mark set by Wanchuk (97) in 1976-77 and earned him his final call-up (Adirondack, Rochester – AHL) before tasting the NHL in each of the next two seasons (Red Wings, Kings).
The winger would return to Kalamazoo in 1981-82 and pick up right where he left off, scoring 148 goals over his next four seasons (278 PTS). The AHL would call again, and he wouldn’t return until the final season of a dazzling 14-year career in 1989-90.
At the time, Schamehorn was just one goal away from tying the K-Wings' all-time goal record. Seemed like a lock. The man had only scored 30-plus goals in five of the seven seasons with the team, but a broken wrist that came via a cross-check delivery shortened his final campaign. He played just nine games in 1989-90 and finished the season with a goal and two assists.
But why the photo?
“We thought that [Schamehorn] would hit 240, and we wanted to have a photo to show, so we could print that immediately when it happened,” said Pam Shebest, former K-Wings beat writer for the Kalamazoo Gazette. “So, we set it up that way to have it on hand to go to print when the goal was scored.”
But it's important to note that there was no digital cameras or internet like there is today back then. The dark room was the only option.
And as for Taylor, he’s opposed to such prior planning.
“NO. We’ll not be determining my future before it even happens,” Taylor said. “I’m at the age where I don’t even know if I’m going to be in the lineup (laughs). There will be no predetermining my destiny today.”
Taylor is just happy to be considered in the same breath as Schamehorn and Wanchuk.
“Those two had to be both tough and skilled,” Taylor said. “They had no luxuries when they played, everything was earned and that’s inspiring. It makes me want to go out and compete to honor them and the city of Kalamazoo that much more.”
The Kalamazoo Wings are a professional hockey team located in southwest Michigan that has been a staple in the Kalamazoo, MI professional sports landscape since 1974. The K-Wings compete in the ECHL and are the AA affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets and the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters. Kalamazoo plays their 36 regular season home games at Wings Event Center from October through April.