Manny (Emmanuel) Fernandez (born August 27, 1974) is a former goalkeeper who played his NHL career in Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins. His professional playing career lasted from 1994 to 2009. The Canadian goalkeeper was born in Ontario, but he grew up in Quebec. His youth team before the professional career was Laval Titan. Fernandez was known for his good self confidence but sometimes he had issues with consistency.
Fernandez was drafted by Quebec Nordiques in 1992. While still playing for Laval Titan, he was drafted to Dallas Stars, where he played his first NHL game in season 1994-95. However, most of the season he had to play in IHL league with Kalamazoo Wings. It was the same story the following year: Fernandez had only a handful of games under his belt in NHL, while most of the season he played in IHL – this time representing Michigan K-Wings.
The following years repeated the same pattern – Fernandez played mainly in IHL (in Michigan and Houston Aeros) and by the end of season 1998-99, he had played only nine NHL games. In 1999-2000 Fernandez got his chance to show his skills, as he played a full season as back-up goalie for Ed Belfour. In that season, Fernandez played 24 regular season games and one play-off game.
After season 1999-2000, Manny Fernandez was drafted to Minnesota Wild. In his first season with the Wild (2000-01), Fernandez had 42 games with better stats than fellow goalkeeper Jamie McLennan. Next year, Fernandez split the games with Dwayne Roloson and due to his mediocre results, Fernandez had to settle for back-up goalkeeper status for season 2002-03. This season, Fernandez would play as many as nine play-off games.
Fernandez played the lockout season 2004-05 in Swedish SHL, representing Luleå HF. After 19 games in Sweden, the next season brought the first-choice goalkeeper status for Fernandez in Minnesota Wild. He played most games in any regular season in 2005-06, the total number being 58. Next year, Fernandez split the time with Niklas Bäckström. After the season, Bäckström and Fernandez were awarded with William M. Jennings Trophy.
After this, Fernandez was traded to Boston Bruins. In his two seasons with the Bruins, Fernandez played only 32 games and had no post-season activity with the team. He got injured quite soon after arriving to Boston and had a surgery in late 2007. For season 2008-09, Fernandez was a backup goalie for Tim Thomas. Thomas and Fernandez were awarded with William M. Jennings Trophy, which was second trophy for Fernandez. Unfortunately, Bruins was about to sign young Tuukka Rask, so Fernandez was not in their plans anymore.
After season 2008-09, Fernandez became a free agent. He did not get contract to any NHL team and decided not to move overseas. Fernandez did not announce his retirement officially, but never played again after season 2008-09.
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Fernandez had limited international experience with the Canadian U20 team. He took part in Junior World Championship games in 1994. It is often said that Fernandez had a big potential, which actually never got fulfilled. Nevertheless, he played a decent career that anyone could be proud of.