Ed Belfour

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Ed Belfour
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2011
Ed Belfour.JPG
Born (1965-04-21) April 21, 1965 (age 49)
Carman, MB, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for Chicago Blackhawks
San Jose Sharks
Dallas Stars
Toronto Maple Leafs
Florida Panthers
Leksands IF (Swe-2)
National team  Canada
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1989–2008

Edward John Belfour (born April 21, 1965) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender.

Belfour was born in Carman, Manitoba and grew up playing hockey. He played junior hockey for the Winkler Flyers before going to the University of North Dakota where he helped the school win the NCAA championship in the 1986–87 season. The following year, Belfour signed as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks (after not being picked in the draft) alternating time between them and the Saginaw Hawks of the International Hockey League. Many regard Belfour as an elite goaltender and one of the best of all-time. His 484 wins rank 3rd all-time among NHL goaltenders. His son, Dayn, is also a goaltender, currently playing for the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Belfour was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the 2011 class, his first year of eligibility.[1] In addition Belfour is one of only two players to have won an NCAA championship, an Olympic Gold medal, and a Stanley Cup (the other such player is Neal Broten).

His characteristic face mask earned him the sobriquet "Eddie the Eagle",[2] and some of his quirks and off-ice antics earned him the nickname "Crazy Eddie".[3]

After wearing #30 for his tenure with the Blackhawks, Belfour switched to his more memorable #20 while a member of the San Jose Sharks as a tribute to Vladislav Tretiak, his goaltending coach and mentor from the Blackhawks. He would wear this for the rest of his playing career.

Career in the NHL[edit]

Chicago Blackhawks (1988-1997)[edit]

In the 1989–90 season, Belfour began with the Canadian national men's hockey team, but was recalled by the Blackhawks for their postseason and set a 4-2 postseason mark with a 2.49 GAA.

The next season, 1990–91, Belfour became the starting goalie, and turned in what many consider to be one of the best rookie seasons in NHL history. He notched 43 victories in 74 games (both NHL rookie and Blackhawk team records), finished the season with a 2.47 GAA and 4 shutouts. He also led the league in Save% (.910). As of 2012, it's the last time a goalie led the league in Wins, Save%, and GAA. For his success, he received the Calder Memorial Trophy for outstanding play by a rookie, the Vezina Trophy for best goaltender and the William M. Jennings Trophy for fewest team goals-against. He was also nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player, unprecedented at that time for a goaltender and rookie (Brett Hull of the St. Louis Blues won the award). He would win the Vezina Trophy again in 1993 and the Jennings Trophy in 1993, 1995, and 1999.

Belfour helped lead the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Finals in the 1991–92 season, where they eventually lost in 4 games to the Pittsburgh Penguins, led by Mario Lemieux.

However, by the 1995–96 season, tension was forming between Belfour and backup goalie Jeff Hackett, very similar to the tension between Belfour and his former backup, Dominik Hašek, which led to Hašek's trade to Buffalo. Belfour was traded to the San Jose Sharks midway through the 1996–97 season after turning down a contract extension from the Hawks.

Belfour finished his tenure with the Blackhawks ranking among the team leaders in many goaltending categories. Belfour finished third among all Blackhawk goalies in games played (415) and wins (201) in both categories ranking behind Hall of Famers Tony Esposito and Glenn Hall. Belfour also ranks fourth in shutouts (30), and second in assists (17). Interestingly, Belfour easily ranks as the Blackhawks' goalie leader in penalty minutes, with 242. Esposito, who played in more than twice as many games and minutes as Belfour, had only 31.

San Jose Sharks (1997) and Dallas Stars (1997-2002)[edit]

Following a dismal half-season with the Sharks, Belfour signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars on July 2, 1997. During the season, Belfour played 61 games and had an astonishing 1.88 GAA as his team won the Presidents' Trophy and made it to the Western Conference Finals only to lose to the Detroit Red Wings.

The next season, the Stars repeated their regular season championship and Belfour won his fourth Jennings Trophy. In the playoffs, Belfour won duels against past Vezina- and Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders Grant Fuhr and Patrick Roy, respectively. The Stars won the Stanley Cup, beating the Buffalo Sabres in six games, capped by an incredible goalie duel against former backup Dominik Hašek that ended in a 2-1 win in the third overtime. Belfour made 53 saves to Hašek's 50, and for the entire Finals, had a 1.26 GAA to Hašek's 1.68.

Belfour backstopped his team to another consecutive finals appearance, winning his second seven game Western Conference final duel against the Colorado Avalanche's Patrick Roy. The Stars lost the Cup in double-overtime to the New Jersey Devils. Belfour had 4 shutouts in that playoffs, including a triple-overtime blanking of the Devils in game five of the finals series.

During the 2001–02 season, the Stars began to play poorly and there was a falling out between then-Stars coach Ken Hitchcock and GM Bob Gainey. Belfour, notorious for not getting along with backup goaltenders, was also being pressured by Marty Turco. After a poor season, the Stars decided not to re-sign Belfour and named Marty Turco the starting goalie for the next season.

Toronto Maple Leafs (2002-2006)[edit]

On July 2, 2002, Belfour signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs after then Leafs goaltender, Curtis Joseph, chose to sign with the Detroit Red Wings. Belfour rebounded after a dismal season with the Stars, winning a franchise-record 37 games and helping his new team finish second in the Northeast Division. His 2.26 GAA ranked 11th in the league. During the season, he was invited to play in the mid-season All-Star Game in Florida, but a back injury forced him to miss the event. On April 1, he earned his 400th career win in a match against the Devils. In the playoffs, Belfour posted a 2.71 GAA and a .915 Save% in seven games in an opening-round loss to the Flyers. On April 16 in Game Four at the Air Canada Centre, Ed made 72 saves before losing 3-2 on an overtime goal by Mark Recchi. Belfour finished as runner-up for the Vezina Trophy, won that year by the Devils' Martin Brodeur.

In 2003–04, he posted a 34-19-6 record in 59 games as the Maple Leafs finished fourth overall in the conference standings. He recorded a 2.13 GAA and a .918 save percentage along with ten shutouts. On April 3 in the final game of the season, Belfour posted a 6-0 shutout over the Senators to secure home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. That shutout gave him 10 on the season, setting a new personal best. In the playoffs, Belfour posted three shutouts in the opening round against the Senators, setting a record for shutout streaks in a series. However in the second round, former teammate Jeremy Roenick eliminated the Leafs by putting a game 6 overtime goal past Belfour.

Belfour did not play during the NHL lockout in 2004–05, instead taking a minority stake in the projected Dallas Americans team in the proposed revival of the World Hockey Association while recovering and rehabilitating himself from primarily back-related injuries. The team had folded by October, 2004.[4]

On November 28, 2005, Belfour won his 447th career NHL game, moving him into a tie with Terry Sawchuk for 2nd place in career wins. Ed made 34 saves in the 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers.

On December 19, 2005, Belfour moved past Sawchuk with a 9-6 win over the New York Islanders at the Air Canada Centre. He was honoured in a special pre-game ceremony on December 23, 2005, before a game against the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre; the Leafs went on to win the game. At the end of the 2005/06 season, Belfour had a record of 457-303-111 in the regular season, and 88-68 in the playoffs.

On July 1, 2006, Maple Leafs General Manager John Ferguson, Jr. released Belfour to free agency after a lacklustre 22-22-4 record and a 3.29 GAA.

Florida Panthers (2006-2007)[edit]

On July 25, Belfour signed with the Florida Panthers. In October 2006, Alexander Auld was injured while the two goalies were horsing around, despite reports that Belfour assaulted Auld.[5] On February 13, 2007, Belfour tied Hall of Famer Tony Esposito for eighth place on the career shutout list with his 76th in the Panthers' 1-0 blanking of the Montreal Canadiens. Later in the season, another injury to Alex Auld gave Belfour the chance to become starter. He started 27 consecutive games, a record for the Panthers. Belfour regained his skill after the 2005/2006 season by posting a 2.79 GAA, .902 save percentage, and 1 shutout in 57 games.[6]

Career in Europe[edit]

On August 27, 2007, it was announced that Belfour would play with Leksands IF in the Swedish second division. (HockeyAllsvenskan).[7] Belfour's signing created much fanfare in the following months. He played his first professional game outside of North America in 18 years on October 31, 2007 with a 4-1 win over Sundsvall. Belfour followed up this game with a shutout streak lasting for 251 minutes, a club record in Leksand. He also broke the record for most shutouts during a whole season with 7.

During the division round, Belfour had a GAA of 1.79, which was the best of all goalies in Allsvenskan. During the playoffs, he had a GAA of 2.59 and a save percentage of .911.

Eagle mask[edit]

Throughout his career, Belfour has worn masks featuring an eagle on either side of his helmet. When asked why an eagle, he stated "I've always liked the eagle as a bird. It is a strong figure representing individuality, leadership, confidence, and outstanding vision. Its hunting and aggression are characteristics I admire, so when I was thinking of what I wanted on my mask, the eagle was a natural choice". Belfour's eagle has changed dramatically, from a rough Native looking style in Chicago, to a fierce competitive image in Dallas, while the background always features his current team's colours. On the chin, there is an image of the logo for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a charity very close to his heart, and the back plate highlights his passion for speed and restored cars. The car on the back is a 1941 Willys, along with the words Carman Racing, which is the name of Belfour's car customization and restoration shop in Freeland, Michigan. Upon seeing Belfour's eagle mask for the first time, Mike Keenan, his head coach when he started in the NHL, nicknamed him "The Eagle".[8]

Off the ice[edit]

Belfour is an accomplished tri-athlete in his spare time, collects and rebuilds classic cars, and holds a private pilot's license.

Early in the 2000-01 season, on October 20, Belfour plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge in which Belfour was subdued by police after a woman he was with became frightened by an intoxicated Belfour in a Dallas hotel room. While under arrest and being transported to the local division, he allegedly offered Dallas police officers $1 billion for his release without charges. He apologized to the Dallas Stars organization and police officers involved and was fined $3000 for resisting arrest.[9]

Late in the 2006-07 season, Belfour, along with Panthers teammate Ville Peltonen, was arrested on April 9 outside of a South Florida nightclub and was charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer without violence. He was released the same day from Miami-Dade County jail on $1,500 bond.[10]

International play[edit]

Ed Belfour
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for  Canada
Olympic Games
Gold 2002 Salt Lake City Ice hockey
Canada Cup
Gold 1991 Canada Ice hockey

Played for Canada in:

In February 2002, Belfour won an Olympic gold medal with the Canadian men's hockey team. Although he didn't play in any of the Olympic games in Salt Lake City, he did add depth in goal to the strong Canadian team backing up Curtis Joseph and Martin Brodeur. He did not complain about his backup role, which impressed Team Canada head coach Pat Quinn, who was also the general manager and coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.[citation needed] On a somewhat humorous note, the gold medal he was given broke off of the strap, much to his surprise.[citation needed]

Awards and honours[edit]

Award Year
All-WCHA First Team 1986–87
AHCA West Second-Team All-American 1986–87
All-NCAA All-Tournament Team 1987 [11]

* Shared with Roman Turek.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T OTL MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1983–84 Winkler Flyers MJHL 14 818 68 0 4.99
1984–85 Winkler Flyers MJHL 34 1973 145 1 4.41
1985–86 Winkler Flyers MJHL 33 1943 124 1 3.83
1986–87 University of North Dakota WCHA 33 29 4 0 2049 81 3 2.43 .915
1987–88 Saginaw Hawks IHL 61 32 20 5 3446 183 0 3.19
1988–89 Saginaw Hawks IHL 29 12 10 6 1760 92 0 3.10
1988–89 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 23 4 12 3 1148 74 0 3.87 .887
1990–91 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 74 43 19 7 4127 170 4 2.47 .910
1991–92 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 52 21 18 10 2928 132 5 2.70 .894
1992–93 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 71 41 18 11 4106 177 7 2.59 .906
1993–94 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 70 37 24 6 3998 178 7 2.67 .906
1994–95 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 42 22 15 3 2450 93 5 2.28 .906
1995–96 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 50 22 17 10 2956 135 1 2.74 .902
1996–97 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 33 11 15 6 1966 88 1 2.69 .907
1996–97 San Jose Sharks NHL 13 3 9 0 757 43 1 3.41 .884
1997–98 Dallas Stars NHL 61 37 12 10 3581 112 9 1.88 .916
1998–99 Dallas Stars NHL 61 35 15 9 3536 117 5 1.99 .915
1999–00 Dallas Stars NHL 62 32 21 7 3620 127 4 2.10 .919
2000–01 Dallas Stars NHL 63 35 20 7 3687 144 8 2.34 .905
2001–02 Dallas Stars NHL 60 21 27 11 3467 153 1 2.65 .895
2002–03 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 62 37 20 5 3738 141 7 2.26 .922
2003–04 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 59 34 19 6 3444 122 10 2.13 .918
2005–06 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 49 22 22 4 2897 159 0 3.29 .892
2006–07 Florida Panthers NHL 58 27 17 10 3289 152 1 2.77 .902
2007–08 Leksands IF Swe-1 20 16 3 1 1206 36 6 1.79 .921
NHL totals 963 484 320 125 14 55,696 2,317 76 2.50 .906

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1984–85 Winkler Flyers MJHL 7 3 4 528 41 0 4.66
1987–88 Saginaw Hawks IHL 9 4 5 561 33 0 3.52
1988–89 Saginaw Hawks IHL 5 2 3 298 14 0 2.81
1989–90 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 9 4 2 409 17 0 2.49
1990–91 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 6 2 4 295 20 0 4.06 .901
1991–92 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 18 12 4 949 39 1 2.46 .911
1992–93 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 4 0 4 249 13 0 3.13 .882
1993–94 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 6 2 4 360 15 0 2.50 .927
1994–95 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 16 9 7 1014 37 1 2.18 .928
1995–96 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 9 6 3 666 23 1 2.07 .934
1997–98 Dallas Stars NHL 17 10 7 1039 31 1 1.79 .928
1998–99 Dallas Stars NHL 23 16 7 1544 43 3 1.67 .935
1999–00 Dallas Stars NHL 23 14 9 1443 45 4 1.87 .931
2000–01 Dallas Stars NHL 10 4 6 671 25 0 2.23 .910
2002–03 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 7 3 4 532 24 0 2.70 .915
2003–04 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 13 6 7 774 27 3 2.09 .929
2007–08 Leksands IF Swe-1 9 4 5 510 22 1 2.59 .911
NHL totals 161 88 68 9945 359 14 2.17 .920

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Sergei Makarov
Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
1991
Succeeded by
Pavel Bure
Preceded by
Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
1991
1993
Succeeded by
Patrick Roy
Dominik Hašek
Preceded by
Andy Moog, Rejean Lemelin
Patrick Roy
Dominik Hasek, Grant Fuhr
Martin Brodeur
Winner of the William M. Jennings Trophy
1991
1993
1995
1999 (with Roman Turek)
Succeeded by
Patrick Roy
Dominik Hasek, Grant Fuhr
Chris Osgood, Mike Vernon
Roman Turek
Preceded by
Inaugural winner
Winner of the Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award
2000
Succeeded by
Marty Turco