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Born September 28, 1962 (1962-09-28) (age 47),
Spruce Grove, ALTA, CAN
Height
Weight
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
184 lb (83 kg; 13 st 2 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Right
Pro clubs Edmonton Oilers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Buffalo Sabres
Los Angeles Kings
St. Louis Blues
Calgary Flames
Ntl. team  Canada
NHL Draft 8th overall, 1981
Edmonton Oilers
Playing career 1981 – 2000
Hall of Fame, 2003

Grant S. Fuhr (born September 28, 1962), is a former goaltender in the National Hockey League and currently the goaltending coach for the Phoenix Coyotes. In 2003, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Born of biracial parents, Fuhr was adopted as a baby and raised in Spruce Grove, Alberta.[1][2] Fuhr's father was an insurance salesman who was fond of both golf and hockey. He allowed his son to turn the family basement into a makeshift rink and bought the boy a pair of skates when he was four. Grant skated constantly, developing coordination far beyond the norm for one of his tender age. In school he excelled at other sports as well, but hockey remained his favorite. In 1979, when he was 16, he turned down a chance to play catcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates' baseball farm team because "hockey was in." Needless to say, this fascination with sports left little time for formal studies. Fuhr dropped out of high school at 16 and joined the Victoria Cougars of Canada's Western Hockey League. Wiley described the young athlete as "5 ft. 9 in., with strong legs, good eyes, and hands that defied description. He was…different."

Fuhr was also black, and he was attempting to make the majors in a sport that is still almost exclusively white. Bob White, a coach in Montreal, told Sports Illustrated that Fuhr might have been steered away from hockey had he grown up in eastern Canada. "If Fuhr had been born in Quebec, he might not have made it to the NHL," White said. "You can be recruited with a [goalie] mask on, like Grant Fuhr. He was lucky he was out west.… And it's good he wears the mask." If this harsh judgment speaks to inherent racism in hockey's ranks, it also speaks to Fuhr's outstanding ability, mask or no mask. As a teenager, Fuhr showed such obvious potential that he was made a member of the Edmonton Oilers as a number one draft choice before his eighteenth birthday.

Contents

Career

In 1979, at the age of seventeen, Fuhr joined the Victoria Cougars of the WHL. After two stellar seasons in Victoria, which included the league championship and a trip to the Memorial Cup in 1981, Fuhr was drafted 8th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the Oilers for ten seasons, where he teamed up with Andy Moog for several of them to form one of the most formidable goaltending tandems in history, and won five Stanley Cups. He was the team's starting goaltender on the first four teams, but was injured and did not play in the 1990 playoffs, when the Oilers won for the fifth time. Fuhr played in the National Hockey League All-Star Game in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, and 1989. In 1987, he played in goal for the NHL All-Stars in both games of the Rendez-Vous '87 series against the Soviet National Team. In 1987-88, Fuhr backstopped Canada to a victory at the Canada Cup, playing in all nine games, then played in 75 regular season and 19 playoff games. He won his only Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender that year and finished second in voting for the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP, behind Mario Lemieux and ahead of teammate Wayne Gretzky. He battled shoulder injuries and substance abuse problems at the tail end of his career with Edmonton, and was suspended by the NHL for 59 games of the 1990–91 season.[3][4]

In 1991, Fuhr was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a seven-player deal. After a season and a half in Toronto, he was again traded, this time to the Buffalo Sabres, during the 1992-93 season. In Buffalo, he played a role in the Sabres' dramatic first-round playoff victory over the Boston Bruins, helped instill a winning attitude in the organization, and mentored the young Dominik Hasek. Fuhr then had a successful 1993–94 season with the Sabres, sharing time in goal with Hasek and winning the William M. Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals scored against in the league with him. However, when Fuhr went down with multiple injuries, Hasek stepped into the starting role, and played well enough to hold onto the job.

With Hasek now ensconced in the Sabres' net, Fuhr was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings, again playing with Gretzky. Out of shape and possibly past his prime, his career saw a resurgence when he signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues before the 1995–96 campaign. He played 79 games that season, 76 consecutively, both St. Louis franchise records. The 1996 playoff run for Fuhr ended prematurely as Maple Leafs forward Nick Kypreos ran into him in the crease in the first round, causing him to tear several knee ligaments. Jon Casey had to play the rest of the playoffs. They beat Toronto in the first round, but lost to Detroit in the next. Even though over the next three years he became one of the three winningest goaltenders in Blues history (along with Mike Liut and Curtis Joseph), he never fully recovered from injury. After the Blues signed Roman Turek as their new number one goaltender in 1999, Fuhr was traded to the Calgary Flames. He spent one season there being a mentor for Calgary's young goalies, including Fred Brathwaite, and on October 22, 1999, he earned his 400th career win versus the Florida Panthers. Before the 2000–01 season, he announced his retirement.[3][5]

In 1990 Fuhr came forward about his drug use after spending two weeks in a counseling center in Florida. He admitted that he used "a substance"—he did not say cocaine—for some seven years, or most of the period that the Oilers rested at the top of the NHL. Details of Fuhr's drug use were supplied by the player's ex-wife, Corrine, who told the press in Edmonton that she often found cocaine hidden in his clothing and that she fielded numerous threatening telephone calls from drug dealers who had not been paid. These embarrassing details no doubt contributed to the one-year suspension handed down in September 1990 by NHL president John Ziegler, who called Fuhr's conduct "dishonorable and against the welfare of the league." Once Fuhr was re-instated, fans of opposing teams taunted him at games with bags of sugar.[6]

In May 1993, while still a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Fuhr was denied membership in the neighbouring Transit Valley Country Club. At the time, rumours floated that the denial was based on race, as several of Fuhr's white teammates had been granted membership.[7] Club officials denied they rejected Fuhr based on his race; rather, his application contained “incorrect and incomplete” information. Various acts of vandalism at the club occurred after news of Fuhr's rejection surfaced, including an incident where vandals burned a swastika onto one of the greens.[8] In light of the negative publicity, the club reversed its position and offered Fuhr not only a membership, but an apology as well. Grant rejected the membership and joined nearby Lancaster Country Club. The club also temporarily suspended its membership committee and had an anti-bias policy written into its by-laws.

Fuhr was hired to be the Phoenix Coyotes goaltending coach on July 22, 2004. Fuhr maintains this position at present. He held a similar post with the Calgary Flames in the 2000–2001 and 2001–2002 seasons.[9]

Hall of Fame induction

Grant Fuhr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 2, 2003.[3] In the press at the time, it was frequently noted that Fuhr was the first black person inducted into the hall. Fuhr himself found the insistence on his race surprising for two reasons. Firstly, Fuhr never experienced any racism during his formative years in Spruce Grove, Alberta, or within the NHL.[7] Secondly, Fuhr was adopted and raised by a white Canadian family.

Arguably, the focus on race took away from a ceremony remembering one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of hockey. Wayne Gretzky has said on many occasions that he believes Fuhr is the greatest goaltender in NHL history. This is mentioned in an interview with Wayne Gretzky conducted by John Davidson as part of the 2003 DVD "Ultimate Gretzky".[10]

Fuhr was also inducted Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

International play

Fuhr was named to the 1984 Canada Cup team but saw limited action during the tournament. Grant was again selected to represent Canada for the 1987 Canada Cup. It was here that he cemented his reputation as one of the best goaltenders in the game. Playing against a tough Soviet Union squad, Fuhr turned away shot after shot during the three-game final.[11] He also played for Canada at the 1989 IIHF World Championships.

Awards

Transactions

Career statistics

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1979–80 Victoria Cougars WHL 43 30 12 0 2488 130 3 3.14 .911
1980–81 Victoria Cougars WHL 59 48 9 1 3448 160 4 2.78 .908
1981–82 Edmonton Oilers NHL 48 28 5 14 2847 157 0 3.31 .899
1982–83 Edmonton Oilers NHL 32 13 12 5 1803 129 0 4.29 .868
1982–83 Moncton Alpines AHL 10 604 40 0 3.98
1983–84 Edmonton Oilers NHL 45 30 10 4 2625 171 1 3.91 .883
1984–85 Edmonton Oilers NHL 46 26 8 7 2559 165 1 3.87 .884
1985–86 Edmonton Oilers NHL 40 29 8 0 2184 143 0 3.93 .890
1986–87 Edmonton Oilers NHL 44 22 13 3 2388 137 0 3.44 .881
1987–88 Edmonton Oilers NHL 75 40 24 9 4304 246 4 3.43 .881
1988–89 Edmonton Oilers NHL 59 23 26 6 3341 213 1 3.83 .875
1989–90 Cape Breton Oilers AHL 2 2 120 6 0 3.00 .919
1989–90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 21 9 7 3 1081 70 1 3.89 .868
1990–91 Cape Breton Oilers AHL 4 2 2 0 240 17 0 4.25 .870
1990–91 Edmonton Oilers NHL 13 6 4 3 778 39 1 3.01 .897
1991–92 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 65 25 33 5 3774 230 2 3.66 .881
1992–93 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 29 13 9 4 1665 87 1 3.14 .895
1992–93 Buffalo Sabres NHL 29 11 15 2 1694 98 0 3.47 .891
1993–94 Rochester Americans AHL 5 3 0 2 310 10 0 1.94 .935
1993–94 Buffalo Sabres NHL 32 13 12 3 1726 106 2 3.68 .883
1994–95 Buffalo Sabres NHL 3 1 2 0 180 12 0 4.00 .859
1994–95 Los Angeles Kings NHL 14 1 7 3 698 47 0 4.04 .876
1995–96 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 30 28 16 4365 209 3 2.87 .903
1996–97 St. Louis Blues NHL 73 33 27 11 4261 193 3 2.72 .901
1997–98 St. Louis Blues NHL 58 29 21 6 3274 138 3 2.53 .883
1998–99 St. Louis Blues NHL 39 16 11 8 2193 89 2 2.44 .892
1999–00 Saint John Flames AHL 2 0 2 0 99 10 0 6.05 .839
1999–00 Calgary Flames NHL 23 5 13 2 1205 77 0 3.83 .856
NHL totals 868 403 295 114 48,924 2,756 25 3.38

Also

Fuhr is a regular competitor at the American Century Championship, the annual competition to determine the best golfers among American sports and entertainment celebrities.[12] The tournament, televised by NBC in July, is played at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, NV. [13]

See also

References

External links

Preceded by
Ron Hextall
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
1988
Succeeded by
Patrick Roy

Simple English

Born September 28, 1962 (1962-09-28) (age 48),
Spruce Grove, AB, CAN
Height
Weight
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
184 lb (83 kg; 13 st 2 lb)
Position Goaltender
Shoots Right
Pro clubs Edmonton Oilers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Buffalo Sabres
Los Angeles Kings
St. Louis Blues
Calgary Flames
NHL Draft Rnd 1, 8th overall, 1981
Edmonton Oilers
Playing career 1981 – 2000
Hall of Fame, 2003

Grant S. Fuhr (born September 28, 1962), is a former goaltender in the National Hockey League. In 2003, he was added into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Born of biracial parents, Fuhr was adopted as a baby and raised in Spruce Grove, Alberta.[1][2]

Awards

References

  1. Sports of The Times; Hockey's Minority Players Moving Past Trailblazer Stage, George Vescey, New York Times, August 23, 2001
  2. Grant Fuhr, Edmonton Oilers Legends Blog

Other websites








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