Dennis Vaske is a native of Rockford, Illinois, raised in Plymouth, Minnesota. Growing up, most days he could be found at a hockey rink. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he majored in Communications, but his future was in hockey. He was drafted in the second round (38th overall) by the New York Islanders, and began his professional career in 1990.
After finishing school and a brief stint in the minors, Vaske became a solid defenseman for the New York Islanders in 1993. Vaske’s signature moment was during game 7 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, where the two time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated. In overtime, Vaske broke up a Pittsburgh rush and head manned the puck to spring the game winning goal.
Unfortunately, Vaske’s career was cut short due to a series of concussions. A second and third concussion in subsequent seasons forced an early retirement. In 1999, after attempting a comeback with the Boston Bruins, Vaske hung up his skates for good.
Determined to stay involved in the sport he loved, Vaske took a position as the hockey director of the Rhode Island Providence Capitals, turning the program into a success. Currently, Vaske is the hockey director of the Chicago Fury and head coach of their midget program. Vaske continues to help young men both on and off the ice and is thought of as a life coach. He takes a personal interest in his players, providing guidance even after they have left the program.
His love for the ice lives on in his two daughters who are both gifted figure skaters training for a professional career.
Categories: Featured, Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame, Leadership in the News