Meet one of the Greatest Goalies of All Time

Grant Fuhr was the main man between the pipes during the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the 1980’s. On a team that featured legends such as Gretzky, Messier, and Kurri; Fuhr was the netminder that earned a reputation for being one of the most clutch goalies of his era. Indeed, Gretzky refers to Fuhr as the greatest goalie in NHL history. A five-time Stanley Cup Champion, Fuhr’s legendary career was capped off by his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.

Drafted 8th overall by the Oilers in the 1981 NHL Draft, Fuhr wasted little time making his mark and establishing himself with the team. In his rookie season (1981-82), he played in 48 games, winning 28 to set a new franchise record for wins by a goalie in a season and pacing the club to first place in the Campbell Conference. Along the way, he won 23 consecutive games, still an NHL record for a rookie goalie. Going into the playoffs, the Oilers had high expectations but ultimately bowed out in the first round thanks to a shocking upset by the Los Angeles Kings.

That was just the beginning for Fuhr and the Oilers as a preeminent force in the NHL. He represented the team at the 1982 All Star Game, his first of 7 appearances at the League’s annual celebration of its best players. Along with Andy Moog, Fuhr was part of a goalie tandem that saw a decade of dominance in Edmonton—the pair led the team to first-place finishes in the Smythe Division and Campbell Conference every year from 1981-82 to the 1986-87 season. Regular season supremacy spurred on by the most potent offensive force in NHL history was an rite of passage for the Oilers. Fuhr himself was a contributor to that attack, as he set an NHL record for assists by a goalie in a season, notching 14 helpers in the 1983-84 campaign.

Fuhr was the man for the Oilers dynasty that won four Cups in five years from 1984 to 1988. He had surpassed Moog as the true #1 goalie in those years, and playoff success entrenched that status. In 1984, as the Oilers won their first Cup in franchise history, Fuhr played all but two games that spring, including all five games in the Finals, where the Oilers crushed the Islanders and usurped their place at the top of the mountain.

Were it not for an errant pass by Steve Smith in Game 7 of the Campbell Finals in 1986 that caromed off of Fuhr’s leg an into the back of the net, the team likely would have won five straight championships to equal the mark of the late 1950’s Canadiens. In 1987-88, Fuhr played in 75 games in the regular season, winning 40 of them in his most dominant calendar year. The summer previous, he played every game for Canada at the Canada Cup, backstopping one of the greatest assembled squads in history to gold. His NHL regular season campaign merited the only Vezina Trophy win of his storied career. In the playoffs, Fuhr lost only two games from start-to-finish, including a sweep of the Boston Bruins in the Finals.

Injuries and off-ice problems plagued the final years of Fuhr’s tenure in Edmonton. He missed the Oilers’ final championship run in 1990 due to injury, and a lengthy suspension in 1990-91 reduced his impact with the team. He was traded to Toronto that summer, where he stayed for a season and a half, before moving on to Buffalo to mentor a young Dominik Hasek. In 1995-96, he joined the Blues (and Gretzky joined him at the deadline) where he revitalized himself, playing an NHL record 79 games including 76 consecutive contests. Though he never regained the form and success of the Oilers years, Fuhr retired in 2000 having won 400 NHL games, five Stanley Cups, and earning a place in the pantheon of the all-time Greats of Hockey.

written by Richard McAdam

Bobby Hull joins us to celebrate National Hockey Card Day

Bobby Hull, known as “The Golden Jet,” is one of the greatest players in the history of hockey.

In a storied career that lasted more than two decades, Hull tormented goaltenders with his booming slapshot and frustrated opposing defenders with his dazzling speed and stickhandling skills. His immense talents helped make him professional hockey’s first “million dollar man” when he joined the fledgling WHA’s Winnipeg Jets, and he instantly became the rival league’s greatest star. His epic career was capped off in 1983 when he was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hull’s pro career began with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1957-58 season, where he scored 13 goals in his rookie season. It did not take long for him to emerge as an elite star—two seasons later he earned the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s highest scorer in 1959-60, registering 39 goals and 81 points. With his fearsome shot, rumoured to have been clocked at a velocity as high as 118mph and augmented by the so-called “banana blade” curved stick, Hull would have even greater goal scoring success in the years to come. He became the third man in NHL history to score 50 goals when he reached that plateau in 1961-62, and was the first to ever score more than 50 when he lit the lamp 54 times in 1965-66 click to find out more. Not only was Hull a great scorer, he was a key teammate on a strong Blackhawks squad that won the Stanley Cup in 1961 and nearly repeated as champions the following season before falling to the Maple Leafs in six games.

Though he was one of the NHL’s top stars for many years, Hull did not feel appreciated for his talents jyvmkw4. He exuded skill and was highly personable with fans, but the NHL at the time did not award the high contracts that one sees today. He joked that he would jump to the rival World Hockey Association if they offered him a million dollars—but it was no joke when the Winnipeg Jets offered him a ten-year deal that included that princely sum as a signing bonus. Hull quickly established himself as the WHA’s top man, and his offensive prowess reached even greater heights. For four consecutive seasons (1972-73 to 1975-76) he scored at least fifty goals, including a then-unprecedented 77 in the 1974-75 season. Hull led the Jets to three WHA Championships during his time with the team.

On the international stage, Hull dazzled with the 1976 Team Canada squad in the Canada Cup, registering five goals in just seven games. Because of his jump to the WHA, Hull was not a part of the more famous 1972 squad.

After injuries shortened his career once the WHA merged into the NHL, Hull retired in 1980 after just nine games played with the Hartford Whalers, where he was teammates with another legend, Gordie Howe. Despite spending several prime years in the WHA, when he retired Hull’s NHL numbers were good enough for 2nd (610) and 9th in points (1170) in League history, a testament to his scoring prowess. His famous #9 is retired by the Chicago Blackhawks and the Winnipeg Jets—after the original Jets relocated to Phoenix, the team allowed his son Brett to wear the famous number during his short tenure there in the 2005-06 season. Hull is still recognized as one of the greatest players in history, honouring him at the recent NHL All Star weekend celebration of the top 100 players in the NHL’s first 100 years.

Player’s Choice Sportscards is excited to announce that Bobby Hull will be celebrating National Hockey Card Day in Canada with us at the store from 1-3pm on February 18th. Small item autographs only $35 and larger items and specialty pieces $50. You can pre-purchase tickets at the store.

Written by: Richard McAdam