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Top 40 Countdown: No. 3

The No. 3 goal-scorer on the Chicago Wolves Top 40 Countdown, presented by Jewel-Osco, enjoyed two terrific runs with the Wolves organization — and the second one allowed him to cap his career with his first championship.

Rob Brown already had a big name when he joined the Wolves for the first time. Among other feats, the 20-year-old Brown piled up 49 goals and earned a spot in the NHL All-Star Game playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins alongside Mario Lemieux in 1988-89. The Kingston, Ontario, native already owned 152 NHL goals when he arrived in Rosemont prior to the 1995-96 season.

Brown already had a big name in the International Hockey League, too. He paced the IHL in scoring in 1993-94 and finished third in 1994-95, but he returned to the top of the charts with the Wolves. Brown stacked up 52 goals and a league-best 91 assists in 79 games during 1995-96. Not only does Brown continue to hold the franchise single-season records for assists and points (143), he still holds the team single-game records for assists (6) and points (8) in one game — set during a 10-3 win over Kansas City on March 24, 1996.

When Brown followed up that season with another assists crown (70) and points title (117) in 1996-97, the Pittsburgh Penguins decided Brown earned another shot at the NHL level. He spent three more years in Pittsburgh and contributed 40 goals and 49 assists while helping the Penguins make two extended runs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

By the time his run in Pittsburgh was done, Brown was 32 and thinking about retirement. Instead, he decided to return to the Wolves to chase a title. As he told the Chicago-Sun Times:

“If no other NHL team wanted me – and none did – I would have retired then,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t have gone anywhere other than the Chicago Wolves. The ownership cares. It’s committed to winning, and it treats the players better than most NHL teams.”

Brown repaid the Wolves with three more excellent seasons — highlighted by the run to the 2002 Calder Cup championship. He led the Wolves (and finished third in the American Hockey League) with 83 points in 80 regular-season games. During the postseason, Brown took his play to another level with seven goals and 26 assists in 25 games. During the double-overtime Calder Cup clincher against Bridgeport, Brown assisted on all three of Steve Maltais’ goals.

Brown retired following the 2002-03 season with 157 goals and 326 assists in 369 regular-season appearances. In an odd coincidence, Brown finished with exactly as many points as penalty minutes (483).

Though he stopped competing, Brown hasn’t left the hockey world. He has served on the Edmonton Oilers’ broadcast teams for the last 15 years while continuing to serve as an instructor for local academies.

Want to enjoy more of the countdown?

No. 40: Gage Quinney
No. 39: Tim Breslin
No. 38: Nathan Oystrick
No. 37: Ben Simon
No. 36: Curtis McKenzie
No. 35: Kamil Piros
No. 34: Mark Mancari
No. 33: Simon Gamache
No. 32: Guy Larose
No. 31: Wade Megan
No. 30: Shane Harper
No. 29: Michael Davies
No. 28: Karl Stewart
No. 27: Cory Larose
No. 26: Pat Cannone
No. 25: Brian Wiseman
No. 24: Colin Stuart
No. 23: Brian Noonan
No. 22: Tim Bergland
No. 21: Joey Crabb
No. 20: Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman
No. 19: Dan Currie
No. 18: Dan Plante
No. 17: Bob Nardella
No. 16: Brandon Pirri
No. 15: Steve Martins
No. 14: Spencer Machacek
No. 13: Kevin Doell
No. 12: Niklas Andersson
No. 11: Ty Rattie
No. 10: Scott Pearson
No. 9: Derek MacKenzie
No. 8: JP Vigier
No. 7: Steve Larouche
No. 6: Jason Krog
No. 5: Chris Marinucci
No. 4: Darren Haydar