Bryan Fogarty

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For the English writer and painter, see Brian Fogarty.
Bryan Fogarty
Born (1969-06-11)June 11, 1969
Montreal, QC, CAN
Died March 6, 2002(2002-03-06) (aged 32)
Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for NHL
Quebec Nordiques
Pittsburgh Penguins
Montreal Canadiens
AHL
Halifax Citadels
New Haven Nighthawks
Cleveland Lumberjacks
St. John's Maple Leafs
NHL Draft 9th overall, 1987
Quebec Nordiques
Playing career 1989–2001

Bryan Charles Fogarty (June 11, 1969 – March 6, 2002) was a Canadian ice hockey defenceman who played for the Quebec Nordiques, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens. A great star in the junior leagues and a high draft choice in the National Hockey League, his career was marred by persistent alcohol and drug use, which prevented him from playing a full season at any point and led to him being frequently traded.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Montreal to parents Tom and Virginia, Fogarty was youngest of five. He had two sisters, Lynn and Lori, as well as two brothers named Glen and Patrick. Lori died of cancer at 38.

Fogarty grew up in Brantford, Ontario - the same city that Wayne Gretzky had grown up in. Fogarty's talent was apparent right away. Brantford Minor Hockey Association coordinator Bob Coyne told reporters that "he was a star. From the time he put skates on, he was better than everyone else. "We had seen Wayne (Gretzky). Wayne had to work at it. His game was outsmarting everybody else. Fogarty's game was outperforming everybody else. That's like comparing a Volkswagen to a Corvette."[1]

Growing up, Fogarty was a typical 80s Canadian teenager. He listened to Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, sported a mullet and loved to hang out with his friends. Bryan started drinking at an early age. When he was 15 he was already playing with players who were much older than he was because of his exceptional skill level. He would frequent bars and strip clubs with the older players. He was insecure by nature. During his junior hockey days in the OHL he'd take Niagara Falls Thunder coach Bill Laforge aside in the locker room and ask him in a whisper if his teammates hated him. Despite this, Bryan was known for his positive attitude and humble demeanor. During his time with the Kingston Canadians he was known as "Tippy" because, according to teammate Marc Laforge "he was always tipsy".[2]. He drank alcohol in order to combat severe social anxiety, which he battled with during his career [4].

During his NHL days, he sought help on numerous occasions. The Nordiques knew about his problem and tried to help him by sending him to an alcohol rehab clinic in Minnesota, providing a psychologist, and housing him with a family in Quebec City. They also roomed Fogarty with another hockey player who was looking to straighten out his life: John Kordic. Fogarty and Kordic met in a rehab center and became friends immediately. In the fall and winter of '91, Fogarty stayed clean with the help of Kordic. However, in January 1992, Kordic began using drugs again and died of a heart attack in August of that year. Fogarty blamed himself for Kordic's death. Quebec wound up trading away Fogarty to Pittsburgh. Pierre Pagé, who was the Nordiques general manager at the time promised Fogarty he would trade him if he could stay sober for three months. He lasted 12 games with the Penguins, who were unhappy with Fogarty's lack of conditioning.

This scenario would repeat itself many times over the next five years with the Montreal Canadiens and non-NHL clubs.

In 1999 Fogarty was arrested and charged with drug possession after a break-in at a school in his hometown of Brantford. Fogarty was charged with break and enter and possession of a controlled substance. According to the police report, Fogarty broke open the kitchen doors at the Tollgate Technological Skills Centre and was found standing naked in the kitchen with cooking oil spilled on the floor around him. He was granted a conditional discharge, placed on probation for one year, and was ordered to donate $500 to a local addiction service after he pleaded guilty to one count of mischief.

After retiring in 2001, Fogarty remained clean and sober for more than a year. He returned to Brantford to take over the family business, Fogarty's Mobile Canteen.

Playing career[edit]

Bryan Fogarty was an OHL superstar in the late 1980s. He was chosen 1st overall in the 1985 OHL draft by Ken Slater of the Kingston Canadians ahead of future NHLers Adam Graves (6th), Bryan Marchment (12th), Brendan Shanahan (13th), and Jody Hull (14th). Scouts heaped praise upon Fogarty for his hockey sense and puck control. Combined with his 6'2" 205 pound frame, Fogarty's skills made him one of the best junior players in Canadian hockey history.

In 1989 after breaking Bobby Orr's 23-year-old record for goals (38) by a defenceman in a season and Cam Plante's Canadian junior record for points (140) in a season by a defenceman with 155 in 60 games with the Niagara Falls Thunder, he was named Canadian Major Junior Hockey Player of the Year in 1989. Both records still stand. As does his single game record for most assists by a defenceman (8), which he accomplished twice in the same season (1988–89).

Fogarty was drafted ninth overall by the Nordiques in 1987, six spots before Joe Sakic. He lasted parts of three seasons in Quebec, then he was traded to Pittsburgh, then Chicago. He signed by Tampa Bay as a free agent, then was signed by Montreal, Buffalo and Chicago (again).

He also spent a fair amount of time in the minors, playing in Halifax, New Haven, Muskegon, Cleveland, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Minnesota, Detroit, Davos, Milan and Hanover. In 1999 Fogarty attempted a much-publicized comeback with the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate the St. John's Maple Leafs. He lasted 3 regular season games with them before being released. In all he played nine seasons of pro hockey in seven leagues for 17 teams, retiring in 2001.

Fogarty does maintain the distinction of recording the last natural hat trick in Quebec Nordiques franchise history when he scored three straight goals on December 1, 1990. He was the first Nordiques defenseman to record a hat trick.[1]

Death[edit]

Forgarty died in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on March 6, 2002. Bryan and his wife Jennifer's uncle, Thomas Branch, were staying at a motel called the Compass Cove. Bryan was in Room 1223.[3] Fogarty was on vacation to do some deep sea fishing. He and Branch arrived on the morning of March 5. After checking in, they went right to the bar, where they spent most of the day drinking. The next morning, Branch was unable to wake Fogarty. Branch then called EMS. Fogarty was transported to the Grand Strand Regional Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after. The coroner reported that Bryan died of an enlarged heart.

Bryan Fogarty is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brantford.

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1985–86 Kingston Canadians OHL 47 2 17 19 14 10 1 3 4 4
1986–87 Kingston Canadians OHL 56 20 50 70 46 12 2 3 5 5
1987–88 Kingston Canadians OHL 48 11 36 47 50
1988–89 Niagara Falls Thunder OHL 60 47 108 155 88 17 10 22 32 36
1989–90 Halifax Citadels AHL 22 5 14 19 6 6 2 4 6 0
1989–90 Quebec Nordiques NHL 45 4 10 14 31
1990–91 Halifax Citadels AHL 5 0 2 2 0
1990–91 Quebec Nordiques NHL 45 9 22 31 24
1991–92 Quebec Nordiques NHL 20 3 12 15 16
1991–92 Halifax Citadels AHL 2 0 0 0 2
1991–92 New Haven Nighthawks AHL 4 0 1 1 6
1991–92 Muskegon Lumberjacks IHL 8 2 4 6 30
1992–93 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 12 0 4 4 4
1992–93 Cleveland Lumberjacks AHL 15 2 5 7 8 3 0 1 1 17
1993–94 Atlanta Knights IHL 8 1 5 6 4
1993–94 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 33 3 16 19 38
1993–94 Kansas City Blades IHL 3 2 1 3 2
1993–94 Montreal Canadiens NHL 13 1 2 3 10
1994–95 Montreal Canadiens NHL 21 5 2 7 34
1995–96 Minnesota Moose IHL 17 3 12 15 24
1995–96 Detroit Vipers IHL 18 1 5 6 14
1996–97 Kansas City Blades IHL 22 3 9 12 10
1998–99 Indianapolis Ice IHL 36 7 15 22 28
1998–99 Baton Rouge Kingfish ECHL 5 4 3 7 24 4 1 3 4 8
1999–00 St. John's Maple Leafs AHL 3 0 0 0 0
1999–00 Knoxville Speed UHL 16 5 12 17 29
2000–01 Huntsville Tornado CHL 11 1 4 5 16
2000–01 Elmira Jackals UHL 18 1 8 9 16
OHL totals 211 80 213 293 198 39 13 28 41 45
UHL totals 34 6 20 26 45
CHL totals 11 1 4 5 16
ECHL totals 5 4 3 7 24 4 1 3 4 8
IHL totals 160 24 72 96 158 3 0 1 1 17
AHL totals 36 5 17 22 14
NHL totals 156 22 52 74 119

Awards[edit]

Records[edit]

  • Most points in a season by a defenceman (CHL) - 155 (47G, 108A), 1988–89
  • Most goals in a season by a defenceman (OHL) - 47, 1988–89
  • Most assists in a season by a defenceman (OHL) - 108, 1988–89
  • Most points in a game by a defenceman (OHL) - 8 (3 goals, 5 assists) - Nov. 11 1988 - vs. Sudbury Wolves

Quotes about Bryan Fogarty[edit]

"He had everything. He could skate like the wind. He could see anybody on the ice. He could make the perfect pass. He was as talented as anybody I've seen in junior hockey. He broke all of Bobby Orr's records. Everybody was telling me you can't go wrong with him." - Maurice Filion, former Quebec GM, who drafted Bryan Fogarty with the Nordiques' first pick in 1987, six picks ahead of Quebec's second selection, Joe Sakic.

"He needed the beer, but it was his demise. The profession, the lifestyle -- he couldn't handle it. He wanted the hockey, but it was so hard the way he was. The inside of Bryan and the world around him didn't seem to meet." - Virginia Fogarty (Bryan's mother)

"Mats Sundin told me this: 'Bryan Fogarty could skate faster, shoot harder and pass crisper drunk than the rest of us could sober.'" - Max Offenberger

"He was the best player I have ever seen. He had a heart of gold. He'd never hurt a fly. He'd do anything for you. He just couldn't help himself." - Marc Laforge

Dave Bidini's song "The Land is Wild", released as the title track of the Bidiniband's debut release in June 2009, tells the life story of Fogarty.[2][3]

Further reading[edit]

  • Adelson, Eric (September 18, 2002). "Wasted". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1991-92 Pro Set hockey card
  2. ^ "Bidiniband Discography". MapleMusic. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  3. ^ "The Land is Wild". CBC Radio 3. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dave Moylan
Jack Ferguson Award
1985
Succeeded by
Troy Mallette
Preceded by
Ken McRae
Quebec Nordiques first round draft pick
1987
Succeeded by
Joe Sakic
Preceded by
Joe Sakic
CHL Player of the Year
1989
Succeeded by
Mike Ricci