Jeremy Shaffer "J.R." Roenick (pronounced /ˈroʊnɨk/; born January 17, 1970) is a retired American professional ice hockey player who played the majority of his career in the National Hockey League (NHL). He played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks over the course of his 18 NHL season career and represented Team USA in numerous international tournaments. On November 10, 2007, he became the third American-born player (Joe Mullen and Mike Modano were the first two) to score 500 goals.
Roenick began playing hockey at the age of four when the parents of a playmate persuaded Roenick's parents to put Jeremy in a hockey program so that their child would be with someone he knew. The son of a Mobil oil district coordinator, Jeremy constantly moved around the Northeastern United States, joining new hockey teams with each stop. Roenick’s impressive play while living in Fairfax, Virginia, earned him an offer to play for the Bantam level New Jersey Rockets, who had won back to back national championships in 1984-85 and 1985-86. At age 14 Roenick was required to take a flight from Dulles Airport to Newark, NJ on a weekly basis to make the Rocket’s games. Roenick helped the Rockets to a state championship registering 300 points in only 75 games. After one year of traveling for hockey the Roenick family would move back to Massachusetts, where Jeremy enrolled at Thayer Academy. Roenick played on the same line as future NHL line-mate Tony Amonte; the two went on to win two state championships. Roenick so impressed during his time at Thayer Academy that he was drafted straight out of high school, going eighth overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft to the Chicago Blackhawks. He was also taken to breakfast by Wayne Gretzky in an attempt to convince Roenick to play for the Hull Olympiques, a QMJHL team that Gretzky owned. Roenick played for the Olympiques during the 1988-89 season scoring 70 points in 28 games, before going on to represent the United States at the 1989 World Junior Championship. In his second WJC Roenick lead the tournament in scoring and was named a Tournament All-Star. Roenick’s line, which included future NHL players Mike Modano and John LeClair, totaled 41 points the most ever by a Team USA line and sixth most in tournament history However despite his scoring success the United States finished the tournament in fifth place. During the tournament Roenick become the all-time leading American scorer totaling 25 points. Roenick’s recorded stood for 21 years before being broken by Jordan Schroeder in 2010; however it took Schroeder three tournaments to pass Roenick who set the record in just two events. Following Roenick’s successful WJC performance the Blackhawks called him up during the 1988-89 season.
Roenick made his NHL debut on October 6, 1988 against the New York Rangers and then scored his first goal on February 14, 1989 against the Minnesota North Stars. In 20 games at the NHL level, Roenick scored 18 points. In the playoffs, he helped the Blackhawks reach the Conference Finals. During the playoffs Roenick gave the Chicago fans' a glimpse of what kind of player he would become. In a game vs. the St. Louis Blues Roenick got into an altercation with Blues defenseman Glen Featherstone. Featherstone crosschecked Roenick in the mouth and broke his front teeth; Featherstone would be given a five min. major while Roenick received a minor. Roenick remained in the game and once his penalty expired he took a shift on the power play and scored a goal.