We’re taking a look at NHL Ice Hockey players that have made a huge impact on the game in Canadian clubs. We turn to Roberto Luongo.
With a record-breaking career with both the Carolina Panthers and Vancouver Canucks and NHL rule-breaker, goaltender Roberto Luongo, will be inducted on Monday in the Player Category.
He’ll also be joining fellow Canucks veterans, the Swedish twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin at the Hockey Hall of Fame event on Monday.
Who is Roberto?
Roberto was born in April 1979 in Montreal Canada and was playing hockey as a forward until the age of 11 when he decided to move back to the goals as a goaltender.
As a junior, he played with the Val D’Or Foreurs team in the Quebec Major Hockey League where he won the Mike Bossy Trophy in 1997, being recognised as an important prospect to go on to amazing things.
Just before the turn of the millennium, Luongo turned professional with the American Hockey League team ‘Lowell Lock Monsters’, affiliated with the New York Islanders. So prolific were his abilities that in November 1999, he earned his start as goaltender for the Florida Panthers in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
This is when the great things started to really happen. His first record was set in the 2000/01 season when he recorded 5 shutouts (He broke the record again to 9). Then his next came in 2003/04, recording the most saves and facing the most shots in a single season. He was managing a whopping .931 save percentage with 50 starts.
Luongo was traded to the Canucks shortly before the 2006/07 season. He’d played 47 games with an impressive save percentage of .921 and a goals against average of 2.29 in the first season alone. His efforts helped the team finish first in the Northwest Division on 105 points, a franchise record of its own.
His notoriety continued when he was named Canucks’ 12th team captain in 2008/09, something that hadn’t happened in the NHL since 1947/48.
Luongo resigned as captain just before the 2010/11 season where he’d amassed some impressive franchise records for a goaltender; 38 wins, 2.11 goals against, .928 saves percentage.
During his Canucks tenure he was recognised as the franchise’s all-time lead goaltender in wins and shutouts.
Back to the Panthers
After 7 years with the Canucks, Luongo was traded back to the Panthers. His records continued to break, becoming the NHL’s all-time franchise leader for the number of games played, wins achieved and shutouts.
He became the second most played NHL goalie in the franchise, playing his 1030th career game.
Luongo competed in a number of international Ice Hockey tournaments, representing Canada. As a youngster, he competed in the 1998 and 1999 IIHF Ice Hockey World Junior Championships. He won Silver and was recognised as the Best Goaltender.
Fast forward and he’s representing Canada 4 times at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships (2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005). He helped the team win gold in 2003 and 2004 and then Silver in 2005.
Oh and his saving skills helped team Canada to win the Ice Hockey World Cup in 2004.
He’s also been part of the Olympic team in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympics, winning gold in the latter two years.
In the Summer of 2014, Luongo announced his retirement and out of respect, Panthers also went on to retire his number.
By the time of his announcement to Hockey Hall of Fame this year, he had amassed 489 wins, the 9th all-time for NHL shutouts (77).
What’s he doing now?
Since February 2021, he was appointed as a Assistant General Manager for Hockey Canada and the team creation for the 2022 Winter Olympics which happened earlier this year.
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