|Born:||September 4, 1963||Draft:||1981 Rangers #72 Overall|
|Known For:||Nicknamed “the Beezer”||Shoots:||Left|
|National Team:||United States||Current Team:||Retired|
John Vanbiesbrouck (born September 4, 1963), nicknamed “the Beezer” and “VBK”, is an American professional ice hockey executive and former player. As a goaltender, he was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007. Vanbiesbrouck played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. He began his career playing major junior hockey for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Following a successful season with the Greyhounds, he was drafted by the New York Rangers in the fourth round, 72nd overall, in the 1981 NHL Draft. After his junior career ended, he played for the Rangers minor league affiliate, the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League. Despite the team’s near collapses due to financial concerns, Vanbiesbrouck led the Oilers to a league championship and shared the league’s MVP honors.
Vanbiesbrouck began playing full-time with the Rangers in the 1984–85 season. He won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender and was named a First Team NHL All-Star the following season. After playing in parts of 11 seasons with the Rangers, he was selected in the 1993 NHL Expansion Draft by the Florida Panthers. In Florida, Vanbiesbrouck was a three-time All-Star and led the Panthers to their first—and only—Stanley Cup Finals appearance, in 1996. While in Florida, he recorded his 300th career victory, becoming the 15th goaltender and only the second American goalie in NHL history to do so. During his career, Vanbiesbrouck compiled a record of 374 wins, 346 losses, 119 ties and 40 shutouts, making him, at the time, the winningest American-born goaltender, and also at the time, tying Frank Brimsek for most career shutouts by an American-born goaltender. Both records have since been broken by Ryan Miller of the Anaheim Ducks and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings respectively.
Internationally, Vanbiesbrouck has represented the United States on several occasions. He played in the 1982 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships as well as four IIHF World Championships. He was named to the Second All-Star team at the 1985 World Ice Hockey Championships. He also played in two Canada Cup tournaments, registering the lowest goals against average (GAA) in 1987 and was a back-up goaltender during the Americans’ second-place finish in 1991. He represented Team USA for the final time in 1998, serving as the back-up on the Olympic ice hockey team.
Following his playing career, he took over as the head coach and general manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. However, after using a racial slur referencing team captain Trevor Daley, he resigned. Vanbiesbrouck worked as a broadcaster and in hockey-related businesses. In 2013, Vanbiesbrouck was named the general manager of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the Tier I junior United States Hockey League (USHL). In 2018, he was hired by USA Hockey as the assistant executive director of hockey operations and would be involved with selecting players for the US national teams.
John Vanbiesbrouck Statistics
- Revisiting the Florida Panthers’ 1996 Stanley Cup Final Run
- Florida Panthers Rats: How the Tradition Came to Be
- 5 Forgotten New York Islanders
- Best NHL Players Not in the Hockey Hall of Fame
- Top 4 New York Rangers In Franchise History
- Jersey (#1) was retired by the Soo Greyhounds
- Inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007
- 3x NHL All-Star Game (1994, 1996, 1997)
- NHL Second All-Star Team (1994)
- Canada Cup Runner-Up (1992)
- NHL First All-Star Team (1986)
- Vezina Trophy (1986)
- CHL (USA) Most Valuable Player (1984)
- OHL Lowest Team GAA (Dave Pinkney Trophy) (1982)
- OHL Best Rookie GAA (Dinty Moore Trophy) (1981)