The Great Mike Petoskey
Mike Petoskey was Michigan born in the year 1951 to Arabell and Archibald Petoskey in the Northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan State. It was there that Mike would learn to skate on the local Winter ponds when he was just 9 months old. Arabell and Archibald knew they had something special in their son, so they packed up and moved to Duluth, Minnesota where they enrolled him in the Minnesota Youth Hockey Academy. It was there that Mike learned the game of hockey and quickly became the best hockey player in the academy at the age of three.
Having surpassed all the requirements to graduate from the academy at just 5 years old, Mike would play pickup games against kids 3 times his age and would always be the top-scoring player. Every kid in the area wanted Mike on their team. Mike went to Lake Superior High School where he also played hockey for the Lake Superior Lake Trouts. Mike took the Lake Trouts to the Minnesota State High School Championships from his Freshman through his Senior years, winning every year.
After graduating from his senior year of high school, Mike went on to play College hockey for St. Cloud Minnesota U. It was Mike Petoskey that put St. Cloud hockey on the College Hockey map. St. Cloud Minnesota U is now recognized as one of the best college hockey teams in the Midwest. There is a statue honoring Mike Petoskey that overlooks the Mississippi River outside of the St. Cloud Minnesota U National Hockey Center.
After four undefeated seasons at St. Cloud Minnesota U and four NCAA Division 1 Championships, Mike Petoskey was drafted by the Minnesota Ice Loons in 1972 at the age of 22. Mike was respected for not taking the easy way to the Pros. He was in hot demand even before high school, but he insisted on playing High school and College hockey before joining the big leagues.
Mike played six straight undefeated seasons With the Ice Loons (1972-1977) winning 492 consecutive regular-season games, all his Playoff games, and held the Midwest Cup every year of his professional career.
Throughout Mike’s career, his favorite team to play was the St. Louis Gateways. It was in St. Louis that Mike found his love of Provel cheese and toasted kinds of ravioli. Mike would rave about these culinary delights to all his friends and family back in Minnesota and Michigan. We honor Mike’s delight in these items by sharing them with you at Petoskey’s.
Playing undefeated into the 1978 Ice Loons season, Mike’s unsurpassed career came to an abrupt and tragic end in a bizarre ice fishing accident.
On the fateful night of February 17th, 1978, Mike decided on what he thought was the perfect spot for his ice fishing hole on Caribou Lake in Northern Minnesota. Mike was a lover of beer and he had had too many Grain Belts (and a few shots of peppermint schnapps) that night. Unfortunately, that was not a good spot to ice fish at all. The combination of putting his fishing hole too close to a pressure ridge, and the weight of the giant walleye that he caught, caused the ice to give way bringing Mike Petoskey into the icy waters, never to be found.
Mike Petoskey’s legend lives on (some sightings are said to have occurred in the Northern Minnesota woodlands, but have never been confirmed). After his disappearance into the Winter waters of Caribou Lake, Mike Petoskey’s legend lives on in the bars, taverns, churches, temples, and homes of the Upper Midwest. Michigan named their official state stone the Petoskey Stone and the Michigan town where he was born was renamed, Petoskey. In Minnesota, the Great Petoskey Ice Festival is held each year in February, and we here at Petoskey’s in Fremont hold Mike Petoskey Day every February 17th.
Mike Petoskey was 27 when he disappeared. 1951- 1978(?)