Darren Jensen was a talented goalkeeper who played briefly with the Philadelphia Flyers in the mid-1980s when he was in the unenviable position of being sandwiched between the career and tragic death of Pelle Lindbergh and the emerging of Ron Hextall.
The native of Creston, B.C. enjoyed four excellent years with the University of North Dakota between 1979 and 1983. Following his freshman year, he was chosen 92nd overall by the Hartford Whalers in the NHL Entry Draft. In 1982 he helped the Fighting Sioux win the NCAA championship and was selected to the tournament all-star team.
Jensen spent his first pro season with the IHL’s Fort Wayne Komets in 1983-84 and led the league with a 2.92 goals against average and four shutouts. At the end of the season he was voted to the league’s first all-star team, was presented the James Norris Memorial Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league, received the Garry F. Longman Memorial Award as the top rookie in the “I”, and was the winner of the James Gatschene Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.
Jensen played one game for the Flyers in 1984-85 but was sent to Hershey of the AHL to share the goaltending responsibilities with Mike Bloski. Following the tragic death of Pelle Lindbergh, Jensen was pressed into service after Bob Froese pulled a groin in practice. On November 14, 1985, Jensen faced the defending Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers in a game that featured a lengthy pre-game ceremony in Lindbergh’s honour. In 29 appearances Jensen posted a 15-9-1 record and two shutouts and became a sentimental fan favourite at the Spectrum.
Prior to the trading deadline in 1986, the Flyers acquired veteran Chico Resch and shipped Jensen to the minors. The young netminder showed his mettle by helping the Hershey Bears reach the Calder Cup finals. Following that NHL season, he and Froese shared the William M. Jennings trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league. Jensen spent the rest of his career in the minors after Ron Hextall burst on to the NHL scene in 1986-87.