Montador while practicing with the Blackhawks
December 21, 1979|
Vancouver, BC, CAN
|Died||February 15, 2015
Mississauga, ON, CAN
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||211 lb (96 kg; 15 st 1 lb)|
|Played for||Calgary Flames
KHL Medveščak Zagreb
Steve "The Matador" Montador (December 21, 1979 – February 15, 2015) was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played 571 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks before ending his career in 2014 as a member of Medveščak Zagreb of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). An undrafted player, Montador signed with Calgary as a free agent in 2000 and began his professional career with their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Saint John Flames, and was a member of their 2001 Calder Cup championship team.
Junior and American Hockey League
Montador played minor ice hockey with the Mississauga Reps of the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL). He began his junior hockey career in 1995–96 with the St. Michael's Buzzers of the junior A Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League (OPJHL). He moved up to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) the following season and, through a four-year major junior career with the North Bay Centennials, Erie Otters and Peterborough Petes, scored 174 points and 429 penalty minutes in 251 games. In his final junior season, 1999–2000, Montador was the Petes' leading scorer among defencemen with 56 points.
Despite his play in the OHL, Montador went unselected in the National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft, and ended his junior career as a free agent. He was signed by the Calgary Flames to a professional tryout offer and joined Calgary's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Saint John Flames, where he made his professional debut on April 13, 2000, in a playoff game against the Lowell Lock Monsters. Montador earned a contract from the Flames and was assigned to Saint John for the 2000–01 season. He recorded 1 goal and 6 assists for Saint John in 58 regular season games, and added 8 assists in 19 playoff games. Montador and the Flames reached the league championship series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and won the city's first Calder Cup championship with a 4–2 series win.
National Hockey League
Montador spent the majority of the 2001–02 season with Saint John where he scored 9 goals and 25 points in 67 games. He earned his first recall to Calgary early in the season and made his NHL debut on November 23, 2001 – and recorded his first point with an assist – against the Buffalo Sabres. Montador's first NHL goal came on January 8, 2002, against goaltender Garth Snow in a 5–2 victory over the New York Islanders, and he also played with Team Canada at the 2001 Spengler Cup. He appeared in 11 games for Calgary and recorded three points. In 2002–03, Montador again began the year with Saint John where, during one early-season contest, he tied an AHL record for shots in a game with 14. He was recalled to Calgary days later to replace defenceman Bob Boughner, who suffered a broken thumb. Montador remained with the Flames for the remainder of the season; he recorded a goal and an assist in 50 games.
Staying with the Flames for the entire 2003–04 NHL season, Montador was often the Flames' extra defenceman and appeared in just 26 regular season contests, during which he scored a goal and two assists. Injuries to defencemen Toni Lydman and Denis Gauthier created an opportunity for Montador to enter the lineup as a regular for most of the Flames' 2004 Stanley Cup playoff run. Montador and fellow extra defenceman Mike Commodore were nicknamed "the Doors" and both became key contributors to the Flames' post-season success. Montador became a playoff hero for the team after he scored the overtime winning goal in game one of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks. The Flames reached the Stanley Cup Final, but were defeated in seven games by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Montador was one of many NHL players to play in Europe, playing for French outfit Mulhouse. Early in the 2005–06 season on December 2, 2005, Montador was traded by the Flames along with Dustin Johner to the Florida Panthers for Kristian Huselius.
Noted for his gritty defensive style, Montador's best season came in 2007–08, when he had a career best of eight goals in 73 games with Florida.
On March 4, 2009, Montador was traded by the Ducks at the trade deadline to the Boston Bruins for Petteri Nokelainen. Montador played in 11 post-season games helping the Bruins reach the conference semi-finals.
On July 1, 2009, Montador signed a 2-year, $3.1M free agent deal with the Buffalo Sabres. He had his best season statistically playing for Buffalo in 2010-2011 with 5 goals and 21 assists for 26 points.
His rights were traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for a seventh round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on June 29, 2011. The next day he was signed to a four-year contract with the Blackhawks. The signing was hailed by one local blog site claiming Montador's stay-at-home style will be a compliment to the generally more offensive minded defencemen currently on the roster.
During his first campaign with the Blackhawks in 2011–12, Montador suffered a season-ending concussion on March 27, 2012. His post-concussion symptoms continued through the 2012 NHL lockout and the start of the shortened 2012–13 season. After resuming practice on February 22, 2013, and upon clearance to return, he was placed on waivers by the Blackhawks in order to regain match fitness with affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL.
With little NHL interest, on August 11, 2013, Montador signed a one-year deal in Croatia with the newest KHL member, KHL Medveščak Zagreb.
According to the Peel Regional Police, a friend of Montador's awoke to find him dead in his home in Mississauga, Ontario, about 2 am on February 15, 2015. She called police, and he was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:30. Foul play is not suspected and no cause of death was stated, pending an autopsy.
In April 2015, Daniel Carcillo released an interview with The Players' Tribune reflecting on his friendship with Montador. He cites Montador as a positive influence who helped him overcome his substance abuse problems. Carcillo also detailed that he witnessed Montador's mental state slowly deteriorate before his unexpected death in 2015. Carcillo has since called for the NHL community to establish a formal exit-procedure for players suffering from post-concussion syndrome.
|1996–97||North Bay Centennials||OHL||63||7||28||35||129||—||—||—||—||—|
|1997–98||North Bay Centennials||OHL||37||5||16||21||54||—||—||—||—||—|
|1999–00||Saint John Flames||AHL||—||—||—||—||—||2||0||0||0||0|
|2000–01||Saint John Flames||AHL||58||1||6||7||95||19||0||8||8||13|
|2001–02||Saint John Flames||AHL||67||9||16||25||107||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||Saint John Flames||AHL||11||1||7||8||20||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013–14||KHL Medveščak Zagreb||KHL||11||0||3||3||33||—||—||—||—||—|
- Career statistics: "Steve Montador player card". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
- Lefebvre, Jean (2004-05-11). "Montador emerges from the shadows". Calgary Herald. p. C3.
- "Steve Montador player card". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
- Hanlon, Peter; O'Brien, Sean, eds. (2005). 2005–06 Calgary Flames Media Guide. Calgary Flames Hockey Club. pp. 52–53.
- Cruickshank, Scott (2002-12-07). "Montador gets last laugh". Calgary Herald. p. E5.
- Kennedy, Aaron (2001-05-29). "It's celebration time for Flames". New Brunswick Telegraph Journal.
- Kimberley, Todd (2002-01-15). "Montador leaves lasting impression". Calgary Herald. p. D1.
- Kimberley, Todd (2002-11-15). "Montador takes his shots at AHL record". Calgary Herald. p. F6.
- "Defensive Flames: Commodore, Montador fuel Stanley Cup dream". Windsor Star. 2004-05-18. p. D1.
- "Fedotenko scores both Tampa goals". ESPN. 2004-06-07. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
- "Ducks ink Steve Montador to one-year deal". Anaheim Ducks. 2008-07-11. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
- "Bruins add Montador from Ducks for Nokelainen". NHL. 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
- "Sabres sign Montador to two-year deal". TSN. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
- "Blackhawks sign Steve Montador to fill defensive void". Sun Times. 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
- "Chicago Blackhawks acquiring Steve Montador is a step in the right direction". bleacherreport.com. 2011-07-02. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- "Montador returns to practice". ESPN. 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
- "Blackhawks to use buyouts on Montador and Olesz". Chicago Blackhawks. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- "Conqueror of Calder and Stanley finalist Montador signed" (in Croatian). KHL Medveščak Zagreb. 2013-08-11. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Former NHL player Steve Montador found dead at his Mississauga home.
- Jhaveri, Hemal (2015-04-22). "Daniel Carcillo opens up about Steve Montador's death: 'I was inconsolable.'". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
- "Daniel Carcillo - Why the NHL community Needs to Look out for Its Own: Players' POV". The Players' Tribune (YouTube). 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2015-04-22.