Mike York cherished his time on hockey's cloud nine.
The speedy all-American made an impressive jump to the National Hockey League upon his graduation in 1999. He flourished on the New York Rangers' lethal "FLY" line, quickly becoming a fan favorite while playing with veterans Theo Fleury and Eric Lindros. He scored 26 goals and 50 points in his rookie season, impressing many with his darting speed and surprising toughness that defied his small stature. He also garnered recognition for his reliable defensive play and hard work away from the puck.
And stay he did. In total he played 579 games (127 goals, 195 assists, 322 points), including three seasons with the Rangers and the next three with Edmonton where he was counted on for his offensive contribution. He also teamed with the Oilers Todd Marchant to become one of the league's top penalty killing duos. York was also part of Team USA's silver medal win at the 2002 Salt Lake games.
York later toiled with the New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Columbus. His skating and defensive conscience helped keep him in the league even when he was not scoring. He was a complete player who most coaches could always find a job for. York was a versatile player who happily put the team first and did whatever was asked of him.
During the lockout season of 2004-05 York travelled to Germany and played for the Iserlohn Roosters. He enjoyed his time there so much, he returned at the end of his NHL career. He extended his playing days by playing in Europe at the end of his career.