At the young age of 4, he received his first pair of skates from his adoptive parents Betty and Robert Fuhr. His father encouraged him in sports and allowed him to make a makeshift arena in the basement of their home. Growing up he idolized NHL Player Glenn Hall and announced at the age of 7 he would be playing in the NHL.
Grant Fuhr played hockey on an outdoor ice rink, which coincidentally was just in front of his school at Spruce Grove Composite High, allowing him endless hours of practice.
During his school years, he would walk to his family home after school with his hockey buddies, where they would sit for hours, making molds of each other’s faces out of Paper Mache. The kids would bake their molds, paint them with all sorts of designs and then use them as a goalie mask. Of course, the masks would not protect them behind the speed of a puck, but as kids, they would go outside to play street hockey, with a ball for hours on end.
While today we recognize Grant Fuhr’ talents in professional hockey, what was not known, was his profound talent in both baseball and hockey. As a young boy, he would throw on his hockey pads and play goalie with the neighbouring kids, but as soon as summer hit, he was out the door playing baseball.
Grant Fuhr continued to play both Hockey and Baseball, until the time came, that scouts from both sports were becoming increasingly persistent and made serious offers to acquire him. He made his choice to push forward as a goaltender in hockey and history was about to change forever.
At 17, he joined the Victoria Cougars of Canada’s Western Hockey League. He was described as the young athlete of “5 ft. 9 in., with strong legs, good eyes, and hands that defied description. He was…different.”
Grant Fuhr never played in the minors, his style was different than those before him. It was said he could anticipate the game and had instincts, reflexes and strategic moves like no others, he was a natural.
In 1981, he was drafted 8th overall in the NHL first round draft pick to the Edmonton Oilers, where he would continue to play until 1991. He then played with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1991-1992, Buffalo Sabres 1992-1994, Los Angeles Kings 1994-1995, St. Louis Blues 1995-1999 and ended his playing career with the Calgary Flames 1999-2000.
Grant Fuhr was honored to have played in the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup, where he turned away shot after shot and came home with the Gold. In 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1989 he was selected into the NHL’s All-Star Games. He was also selected for the Vezina Trophy for NHL’s outstanding goaltender in 1988 and the William M. Jennings Trophy, NHL, in 1994.
Grant earned his 400th Career win on October 22nd, 1999 and shortly after announced his retirement prior to the 2000-2001 NHL season.
After all was said and done, Grant Fuhr won a total of 5 Stanley Cups in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990. Wayne Gretzky has said on many occasions that he believes Fuhr is the greatest goaltender in NHL history.
October 6th, 2001 his Jersey #31 was retired by the Edmonton Oilers. On November 2nd, 2003, Grant Fuhr became the first African American NHL Player to be inducted into the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame. He was also inducted in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Today Grant Fuhr continues to stay involved in the NHL and spends a great deal of his time doing speaking and golf engagements.