|Born|| February 2, 1967 |
Riga, Soviet Union
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight||190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)|
|Played for|| Soviet III|
Latvijas Berzs Riga
Kansas City Blades
San Jose Sharks
Lowell Lock Monsters
HK Riga 2000
EC Red Bull Salzburg
SK Rīga 20
Hk Dynamax Oil Nitra
|National team|| Template:Country data LAT &|
Template:Country data URS
|NHL Draft|| 196th overall, 1989|
Minnesota North Stars
Arturs Irbe (born on February 2, 1967) is a Latvian professional ice hockey coach and former goaltender.
Born during the Soviet era, Arturs played for various Soviet league teams and the Soviet Union national team before moving to North America in 1991.
In the NHL, he played for the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks and the Carolina Hurricanes.
In 2004, Arturs returned to Europe to play until he retired in 2007. He later returned to the NHL as goaltending coach for the Washington Capitals during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.
On June 11, 2011, Arturs left the team to spend more time with his family.
Playing Career in EuropeEdit
Arturs was drafted in the 10th round (196th overall) by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.
His first professional hockey team was Dinamo Riga of the Soviet Hockey League from 1987 to 1991.
After playing in only 2 games during the 1986–1987 season, Arturs got a chance to become Dinamo Riga's number one goaltender during the 1987–1988 season when their starting goaltender and Olympic champion, Vitali Samoilov went down with a long term injury.
In Arturs' only full professional season, he was outstanding in helping Dinamo Riga make it to the finals of the Soviet Hockey League where they eventually lost to perennial Soviet champions CSKA Moscow.
During this period, he also played for the Soviet Union in the World Championships in 1989 and 1990.
The Soviet team won those two championships and Arturs was honoured as the best goalkeeper of the 1990 tournament.
He refused to play for the Soviet Union in 1991 because Latvia had proclaimed independence from the Soviet Union on May 4, 1990 and the Soviet government attempted to use military force in January of 1991 to stop the independence of Latvia.
In the 1988–89 season, he travelled to North America with Dinamo Riga to play in a series of exhibition games against NHL teams.
The next season in 1989–90, Arturs was temporarily added to the CSKA Moscow team during an exhibition tour of North America.
Arturs' NHL career began in 1991. His first NHL team was the San Jose Sharks, he played with them from 1991–92 to 1995–96.
With him between the pipes, the newly established Sharks made their first playoff appearance in the 1993–94 season and upset the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings.
That season, he played an NHL record 4412 minutes between the pipes for the Sharks.
Arturs (affectionately known as Archie) was nicknamed "The Wall" and became a cult figure in San Jose, a status he enjoys there to this day.
Following an injury (his hand being mauled by his pet dog in the offseason) and a poor 1995–96 season, Arturs was released by the Sharks.
For the next two years, he was a backup goaltender for the Dallas Stars and the Vancouver Canucks (for whom he played significant stretches with ample success) until he became the starter for the Carolina Hurricanes in the 1998–99 season.
Arturs was picked to be a member of the "World" NHL All-Star team in the 1998–1999 NHL season where he became the first goalie to record an assist in an NHL All-Star game.
The highest point of Arturs' career with the Hurricanes was 2001–02 when he was instrumental in leading the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup finals where they fell to the Detroit Red Wings.
After a disappointing 2002-03 season, the Hurricanes looked to demote Arturs because they could not move him because of a no-trade clause in his contract.
On October 16, 2003, he was assigned to the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL.
After going 8-2-1 in 11 games with the Chiefs, Arturs was named as the starter for the Eastern Conference in the 2004 ECHL All-Star Game, however, he was unable to participate due to a wrist injury.
On March 19, 2003, he was recalled to the Carolina Hurricanes after goalie Kevin Weekes was placed on the IR due to season-ending hand surgery.
Returning to the NHLEdit
In June of 2004, Arturs was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but never played with them due to the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
After the end of the lockout, he never played in the NHL, but he chose to continue his hockey career in Europe.
Returning to EuropeEdit
During the 2004-05 season, Arturs played for HK Riga 2000 in Lativa and EC Red Bulls Saltzburg in Austria.
He signed with HK Dynamax Nitra playing in the Slovak Ice Hockey Extraliga, but left the team after his unsatisfactory results.
Regular Season StatisticsEdit
|1983–84||Latvijas Berzs Riga||Soviet III||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1984–85||Latvijas Berzs Riga||Soviet III||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1985–86||ShVSM Riga||Soviet III||9||—||—||—||—||20||—||—||—||—|
|1986–87||ShVSM Riga||Soviet III||47||—||—||—||2,643||134||—||—||3.04||—|
|1987–88||ShVSM Riga||Soviet III||5||—||—||—||—||11||—||—||3.31||—|
|1991–92||Kansas City Blades||IHL||32||24||7||1||1,955||80||—||0||2.46||.911|
|1991–92||San Jose Sharks||NHL||13||2||6||3||645||48||—||0||4.47||.868|
|1992–93||Kansas City Blades||IHL||6||3||3||0||364||20||—||0||3.30||.876|
|1992–93||San Jose Sharks||NHL||36||7||26||0||2,074||142||365||1||4.11||.886|
|1993–94||San Jose Sharks||NHL||74||30||28||16||4,412||209||1,250||3||2.84||.899|
|1994–95||San Jose Sharks||NHL||38||14||19||3||2,043||111||2,064||4||3.26||.895|
|1995–96||Kansas City Blades||IHL||4||1||2||1||226||16||1,056||0||4.24||.843|
|1995–96||San Jose Sharks||NHL||22||4||12||4||1,112||85||607||0||4.59||.860|
|2002–03||Lowell Lock Monsters||AHL||7||3||3||1||427||21||229||0||2.95||.908|
|2004–05||HK Riga 2000||Belarus Extraliga||29||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||2.04||—|
|2005–06||HK Rīga 2000||Belarus Extraliga||18||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||1.95||—|
|2005–06||EC Red Bull Salzburg||EBHL||17||9||6||1||1,012||35||—||0||2.08||.914|
|2006–07||SK Rīga 20||Latvia||4||0||4||0||240||21||—||0||5.25||—|
|2006–07||HK Ardo Nitra||Slovak Extraliga||6||1||2||3||249||22||—||0||5.31||.814|
Playoff Statistics Edit
|1991–92||Kansas City Blades||IHL||15||12||3||914||44||0||2.89|
|1993–94||San Jose Sharks||NHL||14||7||7||806||50||0||3.72||.875|
|1994–95||San Jose Sharks||NHL||6||2||4||369||32||0||5.20||.848|
|2005–06||EC Red Bull Salzburg||EBHL||11||—||—||—||—||—||2.53||.897|
Super Series Statistics Edit
The Super Series were exhibition games between an NHL team and Soviet teams (usually a club from the Soviet Championship League). Arturs competed in two such series.
|Super Series totals||11||5||5||1||725||41||1||2.88|
Awards & AchievementsEdit
International Hockey AwardsEdit
- EJC Best Goaltender (1985)
- WC Best Goaltender (1990)
- IIHF Hall of Fame (2009)
Soviet Union Hockey AwardsEdit
- Rookie of the Year (1988)
- Turner Cup (1992)
- IHL First All-Star Team (1992)
- James Norris Memorial Trophy (IHL) (1992) (Shared with Wade Flaherty)
- NHL All-Star Game (1994 and 1999)
San Jose Sharks AwardsEdit
- Player of the Year (1994)
San Jose Hockey AwardsEdit
- San Jose Sports Hall of Fame (2010)
- ECHL All-Star Game (2004) (DNP, wrist injury)
|Competitor for Template:Country data Soviet Union Soviet Union|
|Men's ice hockey|
|Gold||1989 Sweden||Ice hockey|
|Gold||1990 Switzerland||Ice hockey|
Arturs is notable on the ice for his helmet and padding. He has worn them almost continuously since his NHL debut for the Sharks which are creased and scuffed with puck marks and stains.
He has earned the nickname "Michelin Man" as a result.
In the early 2000s, Arturs placed an ad in the "Ottawa Pennysaver" seeking any local resident with the famed "Jofa" goalie mask.
- June 17, 1989: Drafted by Minnesota in the 10th round (196th overall)
- May 30, 1991: San Jose in National Hockey League dispersal draft
- July 22, 1996: Signed as a free agent by Dallas
- August 5, 1997: Signed as a free agent by Vancouver
- September 10, 1998: Signed as a free agent by Carolina
- February 8, 2003: Placed on waivers by Hurricanes
- June 16, 2004: Traded by Hurricanes to Columbus Blue Jackets for future considerations
- December 5, 2005: Signed as free agent by Salzburg
In 2008, Arturs signed a three year deal with Dinamo Riga and worked as the goaltending coach for the club.
In August of 2009, he cut ties with Riga and decided to go back to North America to be the goaltending coach of the NHL Washington Capitals after former goaltending coach Dave Prior stepped down due to family reasons.
Arturs is also a member of board of directors of the Kids First Fund, a non-profit organization based in the United States that raises money for projects assisting abused and abandoned children in Latvia.
At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, he was Latvia's flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies.