CALGARY, AB – The Calgary Flames will be honouring Joe Nieuwendyk for the contributions he has made to the organization as a player and a person on Friday, March 7th when a Forever a Flame banner for Nieuwendyk will be hoisted and remain on permanent display at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“Joe was a very special member of the Flames family with his amazing on ice achievements and the dignity and class he exhibited every day,” said Calgary Flames President & CEO Ken King.
Nieuwendyk joins former honoured teammates Lanny McDonald, Mike Vernon and Al MacInnis when he receives his Forever a Flame honour during a ceremony to take place prior to the Flames versus the New York Islanders game at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Nieuwendyk will be accompanied by his family and members of the Flames alumni in a pre-game ceremony.
“I am truly honoured to receive this recognition and join with my former teammates and friends as well as all Flames fans, to celebrate the outstanding history and traditions established by the Flames organization,” said Nieuwendyk. “I spent nine memorable seasons with Calgary and I am extremely proud as a member of the Flames family to have my name and number recognized by the organization.”
After being drafted by Calgary with their 2nd round selection (27th overall) in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, Joe spent the first nine seasons of a 21 year NHL career with the Flames. He played 577 games with Calgary recording 314 goals, 302 assists for 616 points. In another 66 post season games, he notched 32 goals and 28 assists for 60 points.
In his first full season in 1987–88, Nieuwendyk’s 51 goal performance placed him in his first of four NHL All-Star Games, he was named to the All-Rookie Team and was voted the winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. He also led the NHL in power play goals in 1987–88 with 31 and finished in the top ten on four other occasions during his career. The following campaign, 1988–89, he recorded another 51 goal season which marked the 100th of his career in his 144th career game. At the time, he was the third fastest player to reach the milestone, behind only Mike Bossy (129 games) and Maurice Richard (134 games). He became the third player in league history to score 50 goals in each of his first two seasons (Bossy and Wayne Gretzky). He would also set a Flames franchise record on January 11, 1989, when he scored five goals in one game against the Winnipeg Jets. In the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Joe scored 10 goals and four assists to help the Flames win the Stanley Cup. In the Cup clinching game against the Montreal Canadiens, Nieuwendyk was also a part of another important moment in Flames history, as he set up Lanny McDonald's final NHL goal.
Nieuwendyk was named the 11th captain in the Flames franchise history at the beginning of the 1989-90 season and would wear the captain’s jersey for the following four years. Over the course of those four seasons, he continued to be a top point producer and leader for the Flames. Then on December 19, 1995, he was the main cog in one of the most important trades in Flames history as he was moved to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Jarome Iginla and Corey Millen.
Joe will also be remembered for his contributions off the ice to the Calgary community and was recognized by the NHL following the 1994-95 season by being selected as the winner of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. This award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.
Nieuwendyk would go onto play 1,257 games in his NHL career, scoring 559 goals and 1,126 points with Calgary, the Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers. He is one of only ten players in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup with three different teams, winning titles with Calgary in 1989, Dallas in 1999 and New Jersey in 2003. He was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 1999 as most valuable player of the post-season. A two-time Olympian, Nieuwendyk won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2002 winter games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
Nieuwendyk retired as a player in 2006. He then began a new career in management, acting first as a consultant to the general manager with the Panthers before moving onto the Maple Leafs where he was an assistant to the general manager. Nieuwendyk was the General Manager of the Dallas Stars between 2009 and 2013.
This event will also mark the Calgary Flames annual “Retro Night” as we celebrate the history and tradition of the Calgary Flames. Forever a Flame continues to acknowledge former Flames players that will always be a part of the Flames family.