Thursday, December 14, 2006

Joe Nieuwendyk Retires

NHL veteran player Joe Nieuwendyk retired from professional hockey due to various health problems. In a lengthy successful career, he has won it all and did it with style and grace, always letting his classy play do his talking for him. Below is a short history of his career taken from Legends of Hockey.

Born in Oshawa, Ontario, and raised in Whitby, Joe Nieuwendyk played college hockey at Cornell University in New York state. A cousin of NHLer Jeff Beukeboom, he spent three years on the Ivy League school's team and was twice named to the ECAC's First All-Star Team, in 1986 and 1987. He was also selected as an All-American in both years. In 1985, after his freshman year, the Calgary Flames were sufficiently impressed to draft him in the second round, 27th overall. In his first full season as a Flame, 1987-88, the young center scored 51 goals and 92 points, becoming only the second NHL player after Mike Bossy to score 50 goals in his rookie season. His totals also included eye-popping 31 power-play goals and 8 game-winners, and he was rewarded with the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. Nieuwendyk's second season with the Flames was just as impressive as his first. He was the leader of a team that won the Stanley Cup, again scoring 51 goals. In 1991 he was named captain of the Flames. When knee problems prevented Nieuwendyk from playing early in the 1995-96 season, the Flames found few takers on the trade market. Finally, in December 1995, the Dallas Stars acquired Nieuwendyk for Corey Millen and Jarome Iginla.

Besides being an exceptional hockey player, Nieuwendyk was also considered to be the best lacrosse player in Canada, and at one point he even played on a team that won the Minto Cup, the country's top award in that sport. Known as an aggressive player in front of the net as well as a good passer, Nieuwendyk's style of play has caused him a number of health problems, he missed most of the 1998 playoff due to a knee injury. However, in 1999, his health and luck returned as Nieuwendyk scored 6 game-winning goals in the playoffs to lead the Stars to victory over Buffalo in the Stanley Cup finals. The Oshawa native went on to play parts of two more season's with the Stars before he was traded to the New Jersey Devils. Since his arrival in New Jersey, Nieuwendyk has reached numerous milestones including the 500 goals, 500 assists and 1,000 points. In 2003, Nieuwendyk earned his third career Stanley Cup ring despite missing the Final due to injury and then later that summer signed as a free-agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he would suit up for one season before opting to move on to the Florida Panthers in the summer of 2005. On the international stage, Nieuwendyk represented Canada at the 1986 World Junior Championships, at the 1990 World Championships, and is a two-time member of Canada's Winter Olympic team (1998-2002).

Song for the day - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - JEFF HEALEY


  • At 3:58 PM, Blogger jewelgurl said…

    On top of all his hockey sucesses Joe is a genuine nice guy. I had the good fortune of attending highschool with both him and Gary Roberts at Henry Street Highscool in Whitby.


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