“Eddie The Eagle”
Ed Belfour (born April 21, 1965) is considered as one of the greatest goaltenders in ice hockey. He is a Stanley Cup winner and was part of the teams that won Canada Cup in 1991 and Olympic gold medal in 2002. His other achievements include several William M. Jennings and Vezina Trophies, plus six All-star games and two All-star team selections. His 484 wins still make him firmly all-time top five goalkeeper in NHL.
Belfour started his professional career in the IHL league, presenting Saginaw Hawks. His good performances made him a target for Chicago Blackhawks, which signed him in 1987. The first season in NHL was not a success, so Belfour played season 1989-90 in Canadian National Team – the season consisted of 33 international games. In the end of the season, Belfour played in Stanley Cup playoffs with the Blackhawks.
In season 1990-91, Belfour was undisputedly the first-choice keeper of the Blackhawks, playing astounding 74 regular season games. Next season, Blackhawks made it to the Stanley Cup finals, but was destroyed by Pittsburgh Penguins in four matches. For several seasons, the statistics of Ed Belfour were magnificent, and he was highly important part of the Blackhawks team.
In mid-90’s, Belfour had fierce competition with Jeff Hackett over the first keeper status. Eventually, Hackett took the place and Belfour was traded to San Jose Sharks during 1996-97 season. Belfour played only thirteen games for the Sharks and the team did not make it to the post-season that year. However, next season Belfour started his five-year period in Dallas Stars, which proved to be a successful one.
All his time in Dallas, Belfour was a solid first-choice keeper, playing appr. 60 regular season matches per season. Stars made it to the play-offs four times in a row – the highlight was naturally the Stanley Cup victory in 1999. Next year they were again in the finals but lost to New Jersey Devils that time. During the last two seasons in Dallas, the statistics of Belfour declined and at the same time, Marty Turco made a good impression. So, in 2002, the contract of Ed Belfour was not extended, but Stars chose Turco instead.
Being a free agent, Belfour signed to Toronto Maple Leafs before season 2002-03. His first two seasons in Maple Leafs were good, despite the back injuries that forced him to miss the All Star game of that year. Belfour did not play during the lockout season of 2004-05 and his last season with the Leafs was not too spectacular.
Belfour’s final season in NHL with the Florida Panthers was a decent one. After that, he made a surprise move to finish his career in Swedish second level league HockeyAllsvenskan. That interesting season in Leksands IF included some good performances and statistics – finishing the career of a great goalkeeper.
As mentioned before, Belfour played one season in Canadian Hockey Team. Later, he was selected as a backup goaltender to the teams that won Canada Cup 1991 and Olympic Games 2002, but he didn’t play any games in those tournaments.
Ed Belfour’s nickname is “Eddie The Eagle”, as he always used masks and helmet that had an eagle printed on it.