In honor of the Blackhawks celebrating Ed Belfour Heritage Night on Sunday, it’s worth a moment to look back at the Hall of Fame career of one of the great netminders in Hawks history.
The following is an excerpt from 100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.
[The] unorthodox Belfour was suddenly the toast of the NHL. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy, the Vezina Trophy, and the William M. Jennings Trophy. Belfour was also nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy but lost to Brett Hull.
The following season the Blackhawks made a run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to be swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Even though Belfour had been so strong the year before, Hašek was pressing him for playing time; in only 20 games, Hašek played well enough to earn All-Rookie honors.
Because he was the starter and had played well enough to have a strong bargaining position, Belfour demanded respect from the organization. In August the Hawks traded Hašek to Buffalo.
Belfour continued to earn the respect of his peers, winning the Vezina Trophy for a second time after the 1992–93 season. He won the William M. Jennings Trophy for a third time in 1995, but at that point the relationship between the front office and Belfour was becoming contentious…
It didn’t help that Hašek was developing into an elite goalie in his own right for the Sabres.
The wheels fell off when Belfour and the Blackhawks got off to a slow start in 1996–97. While Hašek was on his way to the third of his six Vezina Trophies, the Blackhawks offered Belfour a contract extension that was turned down by the goalie. The standoff ended when he was traded to San Jose after 33 starts.