Canadian hockey player
Ed Belfour has earned a reputation throughout his career for his hot temper. His ability to be rattled at the drop of a hat was common knowledge and was used against him by opposing teams. Although he has recently subdued his temperament, many people still believe he has many demons to overcome. He is not just a goalie with a temper though. There is much more to the man behind the mask. He is "Technically strong. Extremely quick.… Aggressive and very acrobatic," and "has an undeniable belief in himself," according to D. T. Norris writing on his goalie homepage. What is often over-looked is his compassionate side, having worked with organizations benefiting children.
Belfour was born in Manitoba, where hockey is a mainstay in life. He received his first pair of hockey skates at the age of five. It was at that point that he began to spend every possible moment at the skating rink. On his official Web site he explained how he became goalie simply due to the cold conditions on the ice. Apparently the temperatures would sometimes dip to quite frigid levels and while the linesmen were warming up in the dressing room, the goalie was stuck in position for the entire game and would leave the ice nearly frozen. He was the back up for the goalie and as the main goalie tired of being constantly cold, Belfour got more and more attempts at playing the position. Soon he became the main goalie and loved playing every second of the game, regardless of the conditions. Belfour's coach was glad to have him in a position that was less interactive, because even early on Belfour had quite a temper and was a penalty waiting to happen when he was a center.
In high school it was required that students try out for hockey. There were three people vying for the two positions of goaltender on the varsity team and he was the one who was cut. This was a devastating blow to Belfour and he commented, "I was so disappointed I almost decided to quit, but instead I played a year of JV. That decision changed my life." The coach of the hockey team left the school, so the principal of the high school stepped in as coach. He knew of Belfour's frustration with not making the varsity team, and would allow him to play games with the varsity team here and there. It was at one of those games he was able to vindicate himself, showing his true ability. He was not dressed for the game, but was asked to suit up for the third period, where he truly shined. Belfour recalled, "I had a very strong game, helping us spoil the sweep and extend the series." He knew his hard work had paid off. It was this experience that showed everyone that Belfour was willing to work hard to make things happen.
Belfour worked hard honing his goaltending skills, and intended to use these skills to create a career in hockey. Unfortunately he was not drafted for any junior hockey leagues in Canada, so he chose to accept an offer he received for a full scholarship to the University of North Dakota. Although he was quite successful throughout his college career, he was not drafted by the National Hockey League upon graduation. A year later he was signed as a free agent by the Chicago Blackhawks. His first year was unremarkable and he decided to spend a year with the Canadian Hockey League to fine-tune his skills, with the approval of the Blackhawks. He improved during that year and upon returning to the Blackhawks he was able to win their confidence. During the regular season Belfour showed the mental acuity needed to be a goalie, but all of that would unravel in the playoffs. "Teams also learned that this intensity could be played upon to get Belfour off his game," according to a writer for Biography Resource Center On line. It was not until Belfour met the great Russian goalie, Vladislav Tretiak, at a Hawks training
camp that he began to change his performance. Vlady, as Belfour calls him, became his friend as well as his mentor, and has made an impact on who Belfour is to this day. Although Belfour was improving, his time with the Hawks was to be short.
He was traded to the San Jose Sharks shortly before he was to become a free agent, but ended up signing with the Dallas Stars. This move angered many Shark fans, but it was a prudent career decision for him. Larry Wigge with the Sporting News stated, "Now it looks like he has joined a group that was made for him." During his tenure with the Dallas Stars he was able to overcome his mental rigidity during high stakes games. He proved this when he led the Stars to winning the Stanley Cup in the 1998-99 season. Wigge went on to say, "Belfour silenced his critics last year by winning his first Stanley Cup, staying focused and poised on the job, something he couldn't do in Chicago." Belfour says of himself, "I've learned not to be as maniacal as I used to be. When you are focused and in control, that's when you play your best." Doug Weight said in the same article, "He's definitely been a hot-tempered guy, one you could try to take him off his game. Keep running him. Keep trash-talking, and we still hope he might snap like he used to."
Still hot off the ice
Although it has seemed he has conquered his temperament on the ice, it appears that it has resurfaced in his personal life. While intoxicated, he started a fight with a security guard at a hotel in Dallas, who maced him. The police were called to the scene and Belfour was arrested for disorderly conduct as well as for resisting arrest. He was even said to have bribed a police officer to not arrest him. He became the talk of the town, as well as the hockey arena. The incident was made jest at the playoff game in Edmonton. Belfour's reputation as a hothead continued, and it was quite clear he did not want to accept the responsibility for his actions. An article in the Houston Chronicle stated Belfour had "a bad back, a worse temper and a knack for doing the wrong thing at the wrong time (and blaming everybody but himself)." His anger got the best of him in January of 2001 when he was asked to play goal in practice and sit on the bench for that night's game in favor of rookie back-up Marty Turco. "Belfour blew up, left the team, and returned to Dallas," according to a writer for Biography Resource Center Online. Many believe that he was given the boot when his contract was up due to this event. "Crazy Eddie's" temper had finally gotten the best of him.
|1965||Born in Manitoba|
|1970||Receives first pair of hockey skates|
|1972||Begins playing goalie part time|
|1977||Begins playing goalie position full time|
|1980||Fails to make varsity team|
|1981||Gets his big chance in a varsity game leading team to victory|
|1982||Joins Winkler Flyers of Manitoba Junior Hockey League|
|1986||Named to NCAA All-American West second team|
|1986||Named to NCAA All-tournament Team|
|1987||Signs as free agent with Chicago Blackhawks|
|1987||Turns pro with Saginaw Hawks (International Hockey League)|
|1988||Named to IHL All-Star first team|
|1988||Plays in first National Hockey League game|
|1990||Sets the Chicago Blackhawk's record for wins in a single season.|
|1993||Becomes fifth goaltender to record two 40-win seasons|
|1997||Traded from Blackhawks to San Jose Sharks|
|1997||Signs with Dallas Stars|
|1997||Set Dallas Stars record for shut outs|
|1999||Beats personal best unbeaten game streak|
|1999||Wins Stanley Cup|
|2000||Arrested for public intoxication as well as several other charges|
|2000||Ties NHL record and sets new franchise record for shutouts in one playoff year|
|2000||Becomes one of four goalies to post ten 40-game seasons with a goals against average under 3.00 in each year|
|2000||Makes first on Dallas Stars' all-time list for goals against average with 1.99|
|2000||Appears in third Stanley Cup final series.|
|2001||Records Stars longest shut out streak|
|2001||Becomes one of three goalies in NHL history to post eleven 40-game seasons with a goals against average under 3.00 in each game|
|2001||Finishes season first among active NHL goaltenders in career shut outs|
|2001||Finishes season with 343 career wins|
|2001||Ties for first for Stars' all-time list for shut outs|
|2001||Sets franchise record for minutes played|
|2002||Destroys $5000 worth of equipment in visitors locker room after being pulled in first period game|
|2002||Walks out on team heading back to Dallas when he is benched in favor of rookie Marty Turco|
|2002||Traded to Toronto Mapleleafs|
|2002||Plays against Stars for first time since traded|
Awards and Accomplishments
|1986||Named top goaltender in Manitoba Junior Hockey League|
|1986||Named to Manitoba Junior Hockey League All-Star First Team|
|1987||First-Team Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Star Goaltender|
|1987||Named to National Collegiate Athletic Association All-America West second team|
|1987||Member of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I champion University of North Dakota|
|1987||Named to National Collegiate Athletic Association All-Tournament team|
|1987||Named International Hockey League Player of the Month, December|
|1988||Led International Hockey League Goaltenders in Minutes Played (3446)|
|1988||Named to International Hockey League All-Star first-team|
|1988||Shared (with John Cullen) Garry F. Longman Memorial Trophy (International Hockey League Top Rookie)|
|1991||Led National Hockey League Goaltenders in Games Played (74), Wins (43), Minutes Played (4127), Goals Against Average (2.47), Save Percentage (0.910)|
|1991||Named to National Hockey League All-Rookie team|
|1991||Named Rookie of the Year by Sporting News|
|1991||Named to Sporting News All-Star first team|
|1991||Calder Memorial Trophy|
|1991||Trico Goaltender Award|
|1991||Member, National Hockey League/Upper Deck All-Rookie Team|
|1991, 1993||Named to National Hockey League All-Star first team|
|1991, 1993||Vezina Trophy|
|1991, 1993||William M. Jennings Trophy|
|1992||Tied for National Hockey League lead in goaltender Shutouts (5)|
|1992||Led National Hockey League goaltenders in Playoff Goals Against Average (2.47)|
|1992||Shared National Hockey League single-season playoff record for most consecutive wins by a goaltender (11)|
|1992-93, 1996, 1998-99||Played in National Hockey League All-Star Game|
|1993||Leads league, games played (71), shutouts (7)|
|1993||Named to Sporting News All-Star second team|
|1993||Rated #12 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey"|
|1994||Ties for league lead, shutouts (7)|
|1995||Rated #10 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey"|
|1995||Named to National Hockey League All-Star second team|
|1995||Rated #11 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey"|
|1997||Named National Hockey League Player of the Week, December 1|
|1998||Named to The Hockey News' mid-season Second All-Star Team|
|1999||Member of Stanley Cup-champion Dallas Stars|
|2002||Member of gold medal-winning Canadian Olympic Team|
Belfour does have a soft side, when it comes to children. He has been avidly involved in the Make-a-Wish program for years now, a tradition he started when playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. When he is with children he becomes a completely different person. When in Dallas he worked with the North Dallas chapter of Make-a-Wish. During the play-offs one year he bought a section of seats and donated them to the Make-a-Wish foundation for each game. He called it the "Eagle's Nest." It was such a hit with the children, he continued the tradition into succeeding years. Jenny Wolfe, Director of Development for the North Texas chapter stated, "We are extremely grateful to Ed Belfour for his constant support of the children of Make-a-Wish."
Belfour also wanted to contribute to those who are interested in becoming hockey players, by setting up the "Ed Belfour High Performance Award" for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The criteria for the award was Hockey involvement including Statistics, achievements, and team participation; Academic achievements including grade point average, awards and classes; Community involvement including volunteer work, job and non-school related activities; and finally other school involvement including school sports, committee and clubs. Of course, the winning player must strive to be the best in the Manitoba Junior Hockey league. Because of Ed's generous spirit he was nominated USA Weekend's "Most Caring Athlete Award."
|CHI: Chicago Blackhawks; DAL: Dallas Stars; SJ: San Jose Sharks.|
An Eagle with a Big Heart
Belfour is now playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. A writer for the Chronicle states "Eddie is no longer Ed-eeeee. The numbers say Ed Belfour hasn't been for quite some time." The Maple Leafs were glad to welcome him to their team nonetheless. Belfour said, "I am more motivated than ever to prove to those people and all the doubters how wrong they are." There is still a lot of pride in Belfour. But in Belfour's heart there is still room for love and compassion as proven by his work with charities. Belfour has learned through the years that he is not the only player on the team. He is much more aware that he is an instrument—a part of the whole orchestra. In the article for the Houston Chronicle he said about his play with the Maple Leafs, "I have to step up and do more and I have to do a lot better job when the game is on the line." It is clear that Belfour has learned many lessons in his years.
Biography Resource Center OnLine. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001.
Blackstone, Kevin. "Belfour deserving of ex-hero's welcome." Dallas Morning News (November 9, 2002): 1B
"Goalie Belfour goes full circle." Houston Chronicle (November 10, 2002): 7B
Koshan, Terry. "No sour grapes/Belfour isn't bothered by Don Cherry's remarks." Ottawa Sun (November 15, 2002): 74
Verdi, Bob. "Belfour never masks his feelings." Sporting News (January 24, 1994): 9
Wigge, Larry. "On-ice restraint has Stars' Belfour playing like a saint." Sporting News (June 5, 2000): 28
Associated Press. FOXSports http://foxsports.lycos.com/content/view?contentID=745392. (November 11, 2002).
Complete Ed Belfour. http://www.belfour.com/complete/influence.htm. (November 18, 2002).
Norris, Doug. The Goaltender Homepage. http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~norrisdt/bio/belfour.html. (November 18, 2002).
Sketch by Barbra J Smerz