Be A Player: Rewind | Joe Nieuwendyk
In this week’s episode, we learn that Joe Nieuwendyk didn’t always have his sights set on hockey. In fact, it wasn’t even his best sport!
3x STANLEY CUP CHAMPION (1989,1999, 2003)
4x NHL ALL-STAR (1988, '89, '89, '94)
CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY (1987-88)
KING CLANCY MEMORIAL TROPHY (1994-95)
CONN SMYTHE TROPHY (1998-99)
1,257 GP for 5 NHL teams (CGY, DAL, NJD, TOR, FLA)
1,126 NHL CAREER PTS (564 G, 562 A)
SECOND “FOREVER A FLAME” PROGRAM HONOUREE (2014)
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE (2011)
NAMED AMONG 100 GREATEST NHL PLAYERS
The year was 2004, the host was Brett Lindros, and the player was Joe Nieuwendyk.
As we learn in this week’s episode, Nieuwendyk didn’t always have his sights set on hockey. In fact, it wasn’t even his best sport.
Nieuwendyk’s career began with the club that drafted him – the Calgary Flames. As a sign of things to come, the Ontario-born scored his first NHL goal in his first game March 10, 1986 against Pete Peeters of the Washington Capitals. He only played in 9 games that season, but went on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy for his standout rookie campaign (51-41–92) in 1987-88.
Just two full seasons into his big-league career, and Nieuwendyk was already turning heads as he hauled in the hardware. The next year, he matched his previous season’s goal total by closing out the 1988-89 regular season with 51 tallies. Come the postseason, Nieuwendyk was a steady contributor and lit the lamp 10 times while tacking on four assists en route to helping the Flames hoist their first, and only Stanley Cup in franchise history.
It was just the beginning for "Nieuwy", who went on to win two more Stanley Cups with the Dallas Stars (1999) and New Jersey Devils (2003).
Nieuwendyk also had success at the hockey's highest international level. He scored a goal as part of Canada's gold medal-winning squad at Salt Lake City 2002, where he helped his nation take home the top Olympic prize for the first time in 50 years.
Then and Now
With 20 NHL seasons under his belt, Nieuwendyk announced his retirement Dec.15, 2006, citing persistent knee and back problems.
The centre would go on to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011, and as part of the NHL's centennial celebration in 2017, Nieuwendyk was named among the 100 Greatest NHL Players, as determined by the league.
He may have hung up his skates, but Nieuwendyk has remained a fixture in NHL circles. He previously served as the GM of the Stars from 2009-2013, and currently works as a pro scout and advisor for the Carolina Hurricanes.