Gord Kluzak

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Gord Kluzak
Born (1964-03-04) March 4, 1964 (age 50)
Climax, SK, CAN
Height 6 ft 04 in (193 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Defence
Played for Boston Bruins
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 1st overall, 1982
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1982–1991

Gordon Glen Kluzak (born March 4, 1964 in Climax, Saskatchewan) is a retired Canadian professional hockey player who played for the Boston Bruins of the NHL from 1982 to 1991. He was selected first overall by the Bruins in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. Kluzak currently works as a broadcaster for the Bruins.

Playing career[edit]

Gord Kluzak grew up on a wheat farm in Saskatchewan, and attended high school in Wilcox, Saskatchewan at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame.

Kluzak played junior hockey for two seasons with the WHL's Billings Bighorns, where he was paired on defence with future NHLer Bob Rouse. He missed half of the 1981–82 season and entire 1982 playoffs after he tore ligaments in his left knee in a game against the Medicine Hat Tigers on Feb. 9, 1982, which would be the first of many knee problems for Kluzak.

The injury did not hurt his draft placement however, as he was rated as the No. 3 overall prospect and the No. 2 WHL prospect for the 1982 NHL draft by The Hockey News.

Harry Sinden, the Boston Bruins general manager was sold on the young defenceman, and made him the 1st overall pick in that year's NHL Entry Draft. Sinden passed up on Kitchener Rangers star Brian Bellows, who was the popular choice amongst Bruin fans, and Gary Nylund of the Portland Winter Hawks, who many, including The Hockey News, felt was the better defenceman. Sinden made a deal with the Minnesota North Stars, who had the second pick that year, where he agreed to let them have Bellows with the No. 2 pick in exchange for Brad Palmer and Dave Donnelly.

Minnesota did end up picking Bellows, who went on to become a star in the NHL, with 485 goals and 1022 points over nearly 1200 NHL games. Nylund was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs and ended his career with 608 NHL games under his belt. Other notable NHL players drafted after Kluzak include Scott Stevens (5th, 1635 NHL games played), Phil Housley (6th, 1495 NHL games played), Dave Andreychuk (16th, 1639 NHL games played), Tomas Sandstrom (36th, 983 NHL games played), Pat Verbeek (43rd, 1434 NHL games played), and Doug Gilmour (134th, 1474 NHL games played). Kluzak, on the other hand was out of hockey at the age of 27 - felled by knee injuries, after playing in only 299 NHL games. He managed to avoid knee injuries for his first two NHL seasons. However on Oct. 7, 1984, Kluzak tore ligaments in his left knee when he collided in mid-ice with New Jersey Devils defenceman Dave Lewis. This required major reconstructive surgery and forced Kluzak to miss the entire 1984–85 regular season and 1985 playoffs. He would re-injure the knee again in September 1986 and miss another season.

His best year in the NHL may have been 1987–88. Kluzak managed to play 66 of Boston's 80 games during the 1987–88 season, and all 23 playoff games, as Boston went to the Stanley Cup Finals. After that Kluzak's career stalled because of chronic knee problems that resulted in 11 surgeries. He would play in only 13 more games, his last being on Nov. 5, 1990 against the New York Rangers. He announced his retirement on Nov. 12, 1990.


Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1980–81 Billings Bighorns WHL 68 4 34 38 160 5 0 1 1 4
1981–82 Billings Bighorns WHL 38 9 24 33 110
1982–83 Boston Bruins NHL 70 1 6 7 105 17 1 4 5 54
1983–84 Boston Bruins NHL 80 10 27 37 135 3 0 0 0 0
1984–85 Boston Bruins NHL Did not play (injury)
1985–86 Boston Bruins NHL 70 8 31 39 155 3 1 1 2 16
1986–87 Boston Bruins NHL Did not play (injury)
1987–88 Boston Bruins NHL 66 6 31 37 135 23 4 8 12 59
1988–89 Boston Bruins NHL 3 0 1 1 2
1989–90 Boston Bruins NHL 8 0 2 2 11
1990–91 Boston Bruins NHL 2 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 299 25 98 123 543 46 6 13 19 129

International play[edit]

Gord Kluzak
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Gold 1982 Ice hockey

In 1982 Kluzak was chosen to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships. Prior to 1982 Canada had sent the defending Memorial Cup champions to represent the country at the world juniors. Due to the Memorial Cup champion's lack of success, 1982 became the first year that the top players in the country were sent.

Led by Kluzak and Kingston Canadians goaltender Mike Moffat, the Canadians outscored the opposition 45–14, including a 7–0 rout of the Soviet Union, en route to the country's first gold medal at the event.

In perhaps one of the most memorable moments in tournament history, Kluzak and his teammates stood at the blue line and sang the Canadian national anthem. Apparently, the organizers in Rochester, Minnesota had not expected Canada to win and did not have a recording of "O Canada".

Post-retirement[edit]

After being forced to retire prematurely, Kluzak enrolled at Harvard University, graduating in 1994 with a degree in Economics, and spent two years as the Chief of Staff for the state lottery. He then returned to Harvard, earning an MBA in 1998. Since then, he has worked for Goldman Sachs.

Kluzak also worked as a color commentator on Bruins telecasts from 1995–96 through 2003–04. He now works for NESN as a studio analyst.

Awards[edit]

  • World Junior Championships: 1982 (gold medal)
  • World Junior Championships Best Defenceman: 1982[1]
  • World Junior Championships All-Star First Team: 1982
  • WHL All-Star Second Team: 1981–82
  • Canadian Amateur Junior Male Athlete of Year: 1982
  • Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: 1989–90

References[edit]

  1. ^ Collins gem Hockey Facts and Stats 2009-10, p.514, Andrew Podnieks, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, Canada, ISBN 978-1-55468-621-6

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dale Hawerchuk
NHL first overall draft pick
1982
Succeeded by
Brian Lawton
Preceded by
Normand Leveille
Boston Bruins first round draft pick
1982
Succeeded by
Nevin Markwart
Preceded by
Tim Kerr
Bill Masterton Trophy Winner
1990
Succeeded by
Dave Taylor