The world at large is slowly starting to wake from its self-imposed slumber. Nations, states, cities, and towns everywhere are beginning their attempts at resuming life – whatever that may look like in a pre-vaccine COVID-19 world. For sports leagues around the globe, plans are already in place or currently being hammered out to resume competition. While details are still being discussed, negotiations are still being had, and logistical challenges are being addressed, we at The Turf are continuing our “Filling the Void” series. Since mid-March, we’ve been looking back on remarkable, historic, inspiring and noteworthy sports stories of days gone by.
In June of 1981 the National Hockey League held its Entry Draft. The 8th name called on that day by the Edmonton Oilers in June was Grant Fuhr, a teenage goalkeeper from Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. He made the team out of training camp that season, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A Decade of Greatness
Almost immediately, then head coach Glen Sather began to recognize Fuhr’s talent between the pipes. After sharing time with Andy Moog in his first few seasons, Fuhr received the starting job and would never look back. He was the defensive stalwart to complement the likes of offensive powerhouses Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Mark Messier as they dominated the NHL for much of the 1980s. During that time between 1980 and 1989, the Oilers would win 4 Stanley Cups.
Today: 1984 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1 – New York Islanders vs. Edmonton Oilers
The National Hockey League in the 1980s was a tale of two franchises – the NY Islanders and the Edmonton Oilers. Interestingly, both of these franchises were founded in the early 1970s, but the Oilers didn’t join the NHL until the 1979 merger with the World Hockey Association.
Changing of the Guard
Coming into this series, the Islanders were seeking their 5th consecutive Stanley Cup, having swept the Oilers the previous year. In this match, they were hoping to do the same. This game marked the Stanley Cup Finals debut for Fuhr. All he did was shut the Islanders out. It was the start of what would be a long and storied career for the Oilers goaltender. All told, Fuhr would play for six different teams before announcing his retirement on September 6, 2000.
November 2, 2003
On this day, Grant Fuhr became the first African-American player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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