Monday, April 29, 2013
Absurd Goalie Monday: Gary Kurt
While the average goalie in the NHL seems to be getting bigger and bigger-- this week's AGM is probably one of the first "big men" between the pipes. Standing a 6'3 and 205lbs. right-handed catch goalie, he fooled many a shooter due to his reach, "backwards" gloves, and filling the net; but thanks to happenstance beyond his control-- he never could make a mark in the NHL, but luckily-- there was an alternative. This week, the profile of Gary Kurt.
Kurt started his journey to with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. Spending four years there, Kurt played in 57 games from 1963-64 until 1966-67 and ended with a 4.45 GAA, as no other record was available. After his junior time, Kurt played for the Central Pro League's Omaha Knights posting a 5-21-3 record in 34 games in 1967-68, while Kurt played in 25 games in the 1968-69 season (no record provided).
Moving onto the AHL in the 1969-70 season, Kurt landed with the Cleveland Barons; appearing in 40 games the first season (no record) and then 42 in the 1970-71, where Kurt would finish with a 24-12-3 record, then going 4-3 in seven playoff appearances. That performance garnered Kurt a Second Team All-Star nod and allowed him to win the Hap Holmes Trophy for fewest goals-against in the AHL.
Kurt finally got a jump in the 1971-72 season as the California Golden Seals took a chance and played Kurt in 16 games that season, where he finished with a 1-7-5 record for the lowly club. Conversely, Kurt also played in the AHL for the Baltimore Clippers, finishing with a 12-4-1 record in 17 appearances.
After that season, Kurt moved to the new WHA in order to get a better chance. To start in the 1972-73 season, Kurt played for the New York Raiders; appearing in 36 games and posting a 10-21-0 record. The 1973-74 season saw Kurt play with the New York/New Jersey Knights and played in 20 games compiling an 8-10-0 record. Also that season, Kurt played in the North American League for 24 games on an assignment.
The WHA Expansion brought the Phoenix Roadrunners into the fold, where they would select Kurt in the draft. During the 1974-75 season, Kurt played in 47 games for Phoenix and posted a 25-16-4 record and then a 1-2 record in four playoff games. In the 1975-76 season, Kurt played in 40 games with the Roadrunners and posted a 18-20-2 record, while during the 1976-77 season-- Kurt posted an 11-19-1 record in 33 appearances.
During the 1977-78 season, Kurt played only three games for the Central League's Oklahoma City Blazers (no record) before retiring from pro hockey. After a year hiatus, Kurt returned to play in the Ontario Senior League with the Cambridge Hornets for 19 games before giving up the game for good.
A big goalie ahead of his time, Kurt had to deal with being put on an expansion team in the NHL; which knee-capped his career there in the big league. Luckily for him, the WHA was able to pan out to give him a memorable identity for those who followed that rival league. Yet, many would have to wonder that if there wasn't a logjam elsewhere if he could have been a solid goalie-- especially for his size.