Jamal Mayers has the distinction, along with players like Mike Grier, Jarome Iginla, Anson Carter, Bryce Salvador, and Freddie Brathwaite, of being one of a handful of black hockey players in the NHL. He's an extremely fast skater, but also extremely tough (he didn’t get the nickname "Jammer" for nothing); he can bang around with the best of them, as his 665 penalty minutes that he's already amassed in only nine full NHL seasons can attest to. More importantly, this guy can score goals, including key tallies in the playoffs.
Jamal Mayers was born on October 24, 1974 in Toronto, Ontario. He plays right wing and stands at 6'1". He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues on June 26 in the 1993 Entry Draft as the Gateway City’s 3rd choice, 89th overall, ended up playing at the NHL level starting in 1996, and ended up being one of the longest consecutive Blues players. St. Louis is in fact where Mayers played all the way up until 2008 when he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 3rd round draft pick. Through the 2007-2008 season, Jamal Mayers has collected 71 goals and 87 assists for a total of 158 points with 756 penalty minutes (in 595 games played). As far as playoff games are concerned, he's played 48 of them, getting 5 goals and 13 points.
During Mayers' college years, he played four seasons with Western Michigan of the CCHA where he banged in 55 goals and scored 103 assists. Not too shabby. After being drafted by the Blues in 1993 he mostly played with their AHL team, the Worcester Ice Cats. Year after year, he attended Blues training camp and played his heart out, hoping to finally get that chance to play with the big boys at the top. In the 96-97 season, he finally got that chance and was recalled to play six games. His NHL debut was on November 3, 1996 vs. Dallas. He registered his first NHL point/assist two days later on November 5 while playing in Toronto. Disappointingly, Mayers would spend the entire next season back with the Ice Cats. But in the 98-99 season he appeared in 34 games with the Blues and scored his first NHL goal on February 8 at Florida. He got his first playoff point in an assist in the Blues' second round bout with the Dallas Stars.
In the 1999-2000 season Jamal Mayers finally became a bonafide NHLer, playing in 79 games where he scored 7 goals and 10 assists. With those 17 points, he proved he could score, and with his 90 penalty minutes, gave credibility to his toughness. In 2000-2001 Mayers scored his first 20 point season, notching 8 goals and 13 assists. He increased his penalty minute earnings to 117 and earned his 200th minute on January 11 at San Jose. In the playoffs that year he only scored 2 goals, but one of them, while playing Colorado, was an ingenious redirect of a Chris Pronger shot, with his back to the goal, to fool the great Patrick Roy five-hole to tie up the game and send it into overtime. It ended up being the only game the Blues won in that series.
In the 2001-2002 season Jamal Mayers scored a career high 9 goals and scored 3 playoff goals, two of them being game-winners. The next season would be cut short, as he only played 15 games before tearing his ACL, MCL, and cartilage in his right knee on November 15 at Edmonton. Ouch. In those 15 games he only tallied 2 goals and 5 assists. In the 2003-2004 season he scored 6 goals and again 5 assists, not making much noise after coming off his injury.
Despite missing a significant portion of the 2005-2006 season due to injuries again, Mayers has a career year that season. Which was ironic considering it was one of he worst in Blues history where they had finished dead last in the standings. Indeed, he racked up 15 goals and 11 assists that year which more than doubled his scoring of the previous two years. If he hadn't missed nearly 20 games who knows how much higher those numbers could've been! In 06-07 he cooled down a bit, only tallying 8 goals while playing in all but two games. However, he briefly wore the "A" on his jersey for a few games due to injuries to other players ahead of him in the captaincy line.
Even though his 12 goals in 07-08 was better but also so-so, it is important to note that he played in 80 of the 82 regular season games in that season as well.
In the 2008 off season he finally headed to another team, though, traded by a pick-hungry rebuilding Blues for a third-rounder on June 19, 2008, and was given a chance to play for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.
Jamal Mayers, like many of his teammates, decided to give back to the St. Louis community by developing Jam and Sal's Community Stars, with Bryce Salvador, a Blues teammate mentioned at the beginning of this node. This program recognizes area students in grades first through eight who perform an uncommon act of kindness or good deed within their school or community. Charities he's involved with include Hockey in Harlem and Inner City Charities.