Carman's Ed Belfour in Hockey Hall of Fame

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:09 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The Eagle’s next landing spot is the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Eddie Belfour got the call on Tuesday informing him he’ll join Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour and Mark Howe in the class of 2011 induction ceremony that takes place on Nov. 14 in Toronto.

“I want to thank all my teammates that I’ve played with over the years,” Belfour said during Tuesday’s conference call. “Obviously, without them I couldn’t have success. All the great coaches I had over the years, my mom and dad, all my friends that backed me and helped me be a better player and better person.

“This is a great honour to be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame and it’s even more of an honour to be picked right away. I was just flabbergasted when I heard about it.”

Belfour is one of the best goalies of all time, ranking third in victories behind Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur with 484, but his intense nature occasionally rubbed people the wrong way.

One of his greatest achievements came in 1999 when he led the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup over the Buffalo Sabres, posting a tidy 1.67 goals against average along the way, with three shutouts.

Belfour, an undrafted free agent, appeared in 963 games and posted 76 career shutouts during a career that included time with the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and the Stars. He won the Vezina Trophy twice along with the Calder Trophy in 1991.

During the conference call, Nieuwendyk gave Belfour a sincere compliment

“Eddie took his job really serious and he prepared himself that way each and every night to play net for us,” said Nieuwendyk. “He was one of the (best) big-game goaltenders I’ve ever been able to play with.”

Belfour’s journey began back in the small town of Carman, which is about 40 minutes west of Winnipeg.

He willed his way onto the Carman Cougars high school team in Grade 9 and that was merely the start of things to come.

“He was a six-sport athlete in high school — he played almost every sport there was in the school — and he always wanted to be the best there was and the best conditioned there was, so he could never say that he let himself down,” said Ernie Sutherland, who was the high school coach and eventually coached Belfour in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Winkler Flyers. “He worked on techniques (as a goalie) that no one else had used. A lot of people said he didn’t have a style, but I was never concerned with that because he stopped pucks.

“It didn’t matter how he did it. He just did it. The fact he believed in himself was his greatest asset. He worked his way onto the high school team and the rest is kind of history.”

Belfour’s time with the Flyers is something he looks back fondly on.

“I started in the early 80s (1983-84) and that was a team I wanted to play for,” said Belfour, who spent three years with the Flyers before joining the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux for one season. “I could live at home and obviously had a good support system with my mom and dad and all my friends. We didn’t win a championship in Winkler, but we did have some success.

“I really did have a lot of fun there. I’m still involved with the organization. I enjoy going to the training camps and helping out the young kids in trying to help them develop. It’s a great organization and we try to give kids from the local area opportunities like I had.”


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