Edward John Belfour
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 characteristic face mask earned him the sobriquet "Eddie the Eagle", and some of his quirks and off-ice antics earned him the nickname "Crazy Eddie".
Career in the NHL[edit | edit source]
NHL beginnings[edit | edit source]
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, 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. 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. Also, in the 1993 Norris Division semifinal, Chicago, despite having won the division handily, were swept by the Blues, who won the series on an overtime goal. Belfour, who said he had been interfered with on the goal, would cause thousands of dollars' worth of damage to the visitors' dressing room at the Arena, breaking a coffeemaker, hot tub and television among other objects, leading Belfour demanding a trade, Belfour was traded to Dallas Stars in the off-season.
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.
Dallas success[edit | edit source]
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 his rival Patrick Roy. 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 triple 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 did getting along with backup goaltenders, was not pressured by Marty Turco. He and Turco's remained with Dallas Stars.
Eagle mask[edit | edit source]
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".
Off the ice[edit | edit source]
Belfour is an accomplished tri-athlete in his spare time, collects and rebuilds classic cars, and holds a private pilot's licence.
On October 20, 2000, Belfour plead guilty to a misdeamenor charge in which Belfour was subdued by police after a woman he was with became frightened by an intoxicated Belfour in a Metro Dallas hotel room. While under arrest and being transported to the local division, he allegedly offered Dallas police officers one billion dollars for his release without charges. He apologized to the Dallas Stars organization and police officers involved and was charged $3000 for resisting arrest.
Belfour was arrested on April 9, 2007 outside of a South Florida nightclub with Panthers teammate Ville Peltonen 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.
International play[edit | edit source]
|Men's ice hockey|
|Competitor for Canada|
|Gold||2002 Salt Lake City||Ice hockey|
|Canada Cup / World Cup|
|Gold||1991 Canada Cup||Ice hockey|
Played for Canada in:
- 1991 Canada Cup Championship (backup goaltender)
- 2002 Olympic Gold Medal (Team Canada)
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. On a somewhat humorous note, the gold medal he was given broke off of the strap much to his surprise.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
Regular Season[edit | edit source]
|1986–87||University of North Dakota||NCAA||33||29||4||0||—||2049||81||3||2.43||.915|
|1996–97||San Jose Sharks||NHL||13||3||9||0||—||757||43||1||3.41||.884|
|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|
Playoffs[edit | edit source]
|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|
Awards & Achievements[edit | edit source]
- Terry Sawchuk Memorial Trophy MJHL Top Goaltender (1985 & 1986)
- MJHL All-Star Team (1985 & 1986)
- NHL William M. Jennings Trophy (1991, 1993, 1995, 1999)
- NHL Calder Memorial Trophy (1991)
- NHL Vezina Trophy (1991, 1993)
- NHL All-Rookie Team (1991)
- Manitoba's Male Athlete of the Year for 1991
- NHL First All-Star Team (1992, 1993)
- NHL All-Star Game (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003 [injured])
- NHL Second All-Star Team (1995)
- Stanley Cup champion (1999)
- “Honoured Member” of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
- University of North Dakota Hockey Hall of Fame
- Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Belfour played against the Panthers in their first game ever on October 6, 1993. He went on to play with the Panthers in their 1000th game on January 16, 2007. Belfour also tied Terry Sawchuk's 447 career wins with a 2-1 win against Florida.
- On October 5, 2005, the 2005–06 season opener, Belfour and Ottawa's Dominik Hašek were the goaltenders in the National Hockey League's first shootout under the new overtime rules. When the Senators and Leafs were tied after a five-minute overtime, Belfour allowed a goal to captain Daniel Alfredsson before stopping Martin Havlat. Unfortunately for Belfour, Dany Heatley won the contest on the third shot of the shootout, two to none in a best of three.
- Early in his career, Belfour wore jersey number 30. After leaving the Blackhawks, Belfour would wear number 20 for the rest of his playing career and Stars, Belfour's first goaltending coach in the National Hockey League.