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Arturs Irbe
AIrbe.jpg
Born February 2, 1967 (1967-02-02) (age 52)
Riga, Soviet Union
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
Played for Soviet III
Latvijas Berzs Riga
ShVSM Riga
Soviet
Dynamo Riga
IHL
Kansas City Blades
NHL

San Jose Sharks
Dallas Stars
Vancouver Canucks
Carolina Hurricanes
AHL

Lowell Lock Monsters
ECHL

Johnstown Chiefs
Belarus Extraliga

HK Riga 2000
EBHL
EC Red Bull Salzburg
Latvia
SK Rīga 20
Slovak Extraliga
Hk Dynamax Oil Nitra
National team Template:Country data LAT &
Template:Country data URS
NHL Draft 196th overall, 1989
Minnesota North Stars
Playing career 1986–2008

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 CareerEdit

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.

NHL CareerEdit

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.

ECHL CareerEdit

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.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular Season StatisticsEdit

   
Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SV SO GAA SV%
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
1986–87 Dynamo Riga Soviet 2 27 1 0 2.22
1987–88 Dinamo Riga Soviet 34 1,870 86 4 2.76
1987–88 ShVSM Riga Soviet III 5 11 3.31
1988–89 Dinamo Riga Soviet 40 2,460 116 4 2.83
1989–90 Dinamo Riga Soviet 48 2,880 115 2 2.40
1990–91 Dinamo Riga Soviet 46 2,713 133 5 2.94
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
1996–97 Dallas Stars NHL 35 17 12 3 1,965 88 825 3 2.69 .893
1997–98 Vancouver Canucks NHL 41 14 11 6 1,999 91 982 2 2.73 .907
1998–99 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 62 27 20 12 3,643 135 1,753 6 2.22 .923
1999–2000 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 75 34 28 9 4,345 175 1,858 5 2.42 .906
2000–01 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 77 37 29 9 4,406 180 1,947 6 2.45 .908
2001–02 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 51 20 19 11 2,974 126 1,282 3 2.54 .902
2002–03 Lowell Lock Monsters AHL 7 3 3 1 427 21 229 0 2.95 .908
2002–03 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 34 7 24 2 1,884 100 816 0 3.18 .877
2003–04 Johnstown Chiefs ECHL 14 10 3 1 847 30 411 1 2.13 .927
2003–04 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 10 5 2 1 564 23 228 0 2.45 .899
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
NHL totals 568 218 236 79 32,066 1,513 15,033 33 2.83 .899

Playoff Statistics Edit

   
Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
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
1996–97 Dallas Stars NHL 1 0 0 12 0 0 0.00 1.000
1998–99 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 6 2 4 408 15 0 2.21 .917
2000–01 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 6 2 4 360 20 0 3.34 .900
2001–02 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 18 10 8 1,078 30 1 1.67 .938
2005–06 EC Red Bull Salzburg EBHL 11 2.53 .897
NHL totals 51 23 27 2,981 142 1 2.86 .902

International StatisticsEdit

Year Team Event GP W L T MIN GA SV SO GAA SV%
1985 Soviet Union EJC 5 300 5 1.00
1989 Soviet Union WC 3 0 1.71
1990 Soviet Union WC 6 4 0 1 315 5 0.95 .950
1996 Latvia WC-B 4 3 0 1 240 7 0 1.75
1997 Latvia WC 5 4 0 1 300 10 1 2.00
1998 Latvia WC 6 3 2 1 358 17 1 2.85
1999 Latvia WC 4 2 2 0 238 12 86 0 3.02 .860
2000 Latvia WC 5 3 1 1 420 17 163 0 2.43 .907
2001 Latvia WC 6 3 2 1 360 13 159 2 2.17 .924
2002 Latvia Oly 1 0 1 0 60 4 29 0 4.00 .862
2003 Latvia WC 3 2 1 0 180 9 82 0 3.00 .901
2004 Latvia WC 5 2 1 2 300 9 111 0 1.80 .925
2005 Latvia WC 6 2 3 1 124 7 117 2 1.48 .944
2006 Latvia Oly 3 0 2 1 148 14 0 5.68 .833
Olympic totals 4 0 3 1 208 18 0 4.84 .848

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.

Year Team Event GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1988–89 Dynamo Riga Super-S 7 2 4 1 425 23 0 3.25
1990 CSKA Moscow Super-S 4 3 1 0 300 18 1 2.50
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)

IHL AwardsEdit

  • Turner Cup (1992)
  • IHL First All-Star Team (1992)
  • James Norris Memorial Trophy (IHL) (1992) (Shared with Wade Flaherty)

NHL AwardsEdit

  • 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 AwardsEdit

  • ECHL All-Star Game (2004) (DNP, wrist injury)

International PlayEdit

Medal record
Competitor for Template:Country data Soviet Union Soviet Union
Men's ice hockey
World Championships
Gold 1989 Sweden Ice hockey
Gold 1990 Switzerland Ice hockey

EquipmentEdit

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.

Career TransactionsEdit

  • 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

Coaching CareerEdit

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.

Personal LifeEdit

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.