Pro Hockey Hall of Famer Tells How He Endured and Dominated



Pro Hockey Hall of Famer Tells How He Endured and Dominated

[00:00:00] Hey, sports, fitness and hockey fans, have I got an interview today for you? I’ve been trying to get this guy on for the last couple of months. He was one of my favorite players that I’ve watched growing up. He played goal tender. He has some of the records that probably will never be broken in hockey. A 79 games played 76 games in a row five times.

[00:00:17] Stanley Cup Champ Ven a trophy winner, six time All-Star. He managed to play 20 years in the N H L. Chiropractic and Physical Medicine, in my opinion, played a big part in keeping him healthy to be able to do that. And I’m gonna bring him to you right after this. Let’s do this game on sports, fitness and health fans with another episode of the Sport and Good Posture digital Radio experience.

[00:00:39] Gear up for Coach Frank’s advice from the sidelines as he helps you crush your game no matter what sports, health or fitness game you play. Hey, this is Coach Frank. I’m sporting good posture. What are you sporting? Hey coach, what do you got for us today? Welcome back to another episode of. Boarding good posture.

[00:00:58] This is Coach Frank [00:01:00] here and an I have amazing guest today on our podcast. He’s been an N H L player for many years. I was able to watch him as a kid growing up in New York. I was a huge hockey fan. I used to watch it with my dad all the time. Some of my best memories I had was watching hockey with my dad.

[00:01:16] We were big Ranger fans growing up in 94 when the Rangers won the cup. That was one of the most memorable times I had, but this player I had always watched from a distance and I always admired what he did. I admired his skills, but also the, the way he accelerated the game and expanded it to many different aspects.

[00:01:36] Of other people’s lives. So I want to bring him here to you today, and it’s my pleasure to do this interview and we’ll get to all that more right after this message. Where do you carry your stress? Whether you carry it in your shoulders, hold it in your neck, or feel it in your back. It’s usually not chronic, but it’s always annoying.

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[00:02:49] Now my guest today claimed Edmonton as his home for the first decade of his career that saw him earn six N H L All-Star Game nods while winning five Stanley Cup [00:03:00] championships. He was named a hockey hall of famer in 2003. This gold tender was announced as one of the hundred greatest players in N H L history.

[00:03:08] On the league centennial season three years ago, this Vesna Trophy winner also holds several records, including most career points by a gold tender, most assists in a single season with 14 and most games played in a single season with 79. He’s also the first black player to be inducted into the N H L Hall of Fame and the first black player to win a Stanley Cup.

[00:03:32] He’s arguably the greatest goal tender in N H L history, according to Wayne Gretzky. Please welcome to Sporting Good Posture, grant Furor. How you doing today? Grant? I’m very well, thank you. I was born in 81. That was the first season that you were drafted into, uh, into Edmonton and I watched hockey a little bit as a kid, and then more like as I got in into the nineties, I watched it more.

[00:03:58] I always knew your [00:04:00] name. You were always one of the greatest players I had. I had watched on TV and, and, uh, You also made some amazing runs with the Oilers in the eighties, and then, you know, in the nineties you, you still were playing, but you had that dip in, in the career there for a little bit, and then you came back strong at the end.

[00:04:18] I mean, it was just like a Hollywood kind of script that you had as your career. And you even had a major knee injury at one point where I, I saw that you had trained with Jackie Joyner, kk and her and her husband. To kind of revamp and, and get ready for the following season. So I just kind of wanted to ask you in general, you played for so long.

[00:04:37] How did you kind of maintain your health for all those years and, and, and rehab through some of these major injuries you had? Uh, you know what? I was pretty fortunate to have good trainers. I think that was the biggest thing is as a professional athlete, you wanna become good friends with your trainer because he is going to be the one that makes your career extend.

[00:04:54] So, no, I got really lucky. I got to know Bobby Kersey and Jackie and I trained [00:05:00] with them when I was in St. Louis. Before that, I had great trainers in Edmonton. I had great trainers in Toronto. So Buffalo, everywhere I’ve been, I had great trainers. And a lot of it was listening to them and doing what they told you that you’d have to do to keep your body running.

[00:05:15] So as far as you know, I’m a chiropractor and, and, uh, I know now there’s a lot of chiropractors that work with these teens, but was that as present back in the eighties and nineties? At that time, I liked to play golf and it was big for my golf game. So I get a regular chiropractor even when I’m backing up until now, I still go see him.

[00:05:33] Yeah, I saw that, that you’ve, you were always into golf, and then as you, you know, after you retired here, you’ve gotten a lot more into golf now. And unfortunately getting old things have a tendency to tighten up. So I’ll go see him to try and get my back, put back in alignment cuz I have a tendency to throw things outta kilter once in a while.

[00:05:51] But no, it’s just overall, it makes the body feel good. Had a local guy that was really good so I would see him once a month [00:06:00] just to get the body put back in alignment and it just gave me an overwhelm feeling of being loose and comfortable. And then as a goal tender, was there any specific training that you, that you did that that really helped with like reflexes and, and flexibility and things like that?

[00:06:19] Because you were always known for just some of your fast reflexes, you know, faster than most guys out there. Was there something that you did differently? Is it to kind of enhance those. I mean, I’d probably spend an hour to an hour and a half a day stretching, usually morning and night. So now as I’ve gotten older, it’s kind of changed a little where I’ll stretch a little bit in the morning, but I still stretch at night just to try and keep the body mobile.

[00:06:44] Going back to when you were drafted, so you, you actually grew up very close to Edmonton. Was Edmonton like your home team when you were growing up as a kid watching hockey? It was, I mean, I grew up about 10 miles outside Edmonton, so I saw ’em when they first [00:07:00] came into the W H A and was a fan of them back then.

[00:07:02] So I feel pretty fortunate that I was able to actually play for ’em. Cool. That’s every kid’s dream to play for their home team at some point in their career. And you, you were able to start their play. You played 10 years for them. You had won five Stanley Cups with them. You won the Vena, you played with some amazing players.

[00:07:20] Wayne Gretzky, mark Messier, two of my favorite players. Did I watch growing up? Cause I was a Ranger fan when I lived in New York. What was it like playing with those guys? I mean that, that must have been amazing. You know what, I was pretty lucky. I get to play with probably half a dozen of the best players in the world at that time.

[00:07:36] So anytime you get a chance, To play with the guys like Wayne Mark, Paul Coffey, Yari Curry, Clint Anderson, I mean Kevin Lowe. I think there’s what, six of us in the Hall of Fame? Yeah. It’s a pretty good group of guys. Not to mention it was like a big family, so everybody was really close and I think that was a lot of the fun.

[00:07:55] You were the ones that unseed the Islanders finally to win the, uh, the [00:08:00] Stanley Cup after they had made their run, and then you guys went on your own run after that. Yeah, I mean we basically learned from the islanders, they were kind of the kings of the hill at that time, and they beat us in what, 83, I think four straights.

[00:08:14] So we, we learned a lot from that and figured out that we just had to be that much better. And in 84 we finally figured that out and went on our own little run. You went and played for Edmonton, and then after that you were traded in the early nineties. I went to Toronto, then Toronto to Buffalo, Buffalo to la, and then LA into St.

[00:08:35] Louis. At the height of your game when they had traded you, you know you went to St. Louis and you had a great run. You had some of the best numbers in your whole career. Were you hurt at that point? Is that what was going on? A little bit? Was the body being beat a little beat up and being traded, I think throws you off a little bit and it took a few years to kind of get the confidence back.

[00:08:55] I think that was the biggest thing, is your confidence disappears a little and. St. Louis. I got my [00:09:00] confidence back and it just showed, it makes a big difference. Was Keenan, Mike, Keenan, the coach at that point? He was. I did play for Mike there. I played for Mike, and then when they fired Mike, I played for Joel Gwen, bill.

[00:09:11] You know, I look back and there was, I think there was seven guys on that team that also played for Edmonton. They had won the cup. You had Messier, you had McTavish and, and Glenn Anderson and Tein. There was a bunch of those guys. So, It was pretty cool to see the kind of connection with the Oilers going and playing with, with the Rangers a few years later, winning another cup, and then also the connection with Mike Keenan and you, you know, you playing with him in St.

[00:09:39] Louis. Oh, we all had a connection with Mike through the Canada Cup. We played for him in the Canada Cup in 87, so we were all familiar with each other, which made it a lot easier as well. You also set a record. I think it was in 95 where you played 79 games started 76 in a [00:10:00] row, which is unheard of for goalies Now.

[00:10:02] Goalies now basically play maybe 50, maybe 60 games at most. So, and you played 76 in a row. How was that like and, and what were you doing to stay healthy during that season? I. You know, a lot of it was just maintenance. I mean, I get to spend some time with Bobby Kersey, a world class trainer. So a lot of it was maintenance, a lot of it was stretching, and I’ve always been fairly strong mentally.

[00:10:24] And I think that was the biggest thing, is that playing a lot is more of a mental task than it is a physical task. If you think you’re tired, then you’re gonna be tired. If you think you’re fresh, then you’re gonna be fresh and. Bobby really helped me with that is one, if I needed a day off, just to give the mind a break, I took a day off to give the mind a break, and Mike was good about that.

[00:10:43] So a lot of it was just keeping the body and the mind aligned. I mean, that was amazing, just thinking about somebody playing that many games. And then, I think it was an 88, you played 75 games I think it was, which was an unheard [00:11:00] of amount of games. Then you went on to the playoffs. And you were always known as just the guy to have in the playoffs.

[00:11:06] You had a, a tremendous playoff record. You know, you helped him win. I know you started the first four, I think you were hurt in 90 where you, you didn’t play in that final, but you had an unreal playoff record. And even I was reading Rain. Wayne Gretzky said that he, he said that you were the greatest goalie he is seen of all time, which was pretty amazing compliment.

[00:11:28] Kind of nice to have him in your court. Yeah. I think in 87 I played a hundred and what, 103 or 104 games total that year between exhibition, regular season playoffs and Canada Cup. So that was probably the biggest workload I had. But then again, my first year in St. Louis played 79 there and a few playoff games and a few exhibition games.

[00:11:50] So we were pretty high up in total then as well. The other thing I was looking at, The goalies now seem to be, they try to get these guys that are over six [00:12:00] feet tall and, and you know, the pads are a lot bigger. And you talked about that in one of your interviews. You said that the pads that you had weighed so much more than they do now.

[00:12:10] Can you talk a little bit about that? Yeah. I mean, pads now weigh maybe five or six pounds, whereas pads back then when they got wet were 22 to 23 pounds. Wow. So we lugged around a lot more weight. To have your reflexes that fast with that kind of weight hanging on your, you know, your legs and your body and your arms and everything is pretty amazing.

[00:12:32] You know, I watched when you played your five 10, I think you were like in your 180 something pounds when you played, but you played so much bigger than that. When I watched, you would cover so much space in the net and you’d be able to get to pucks that you wouldn’t think that somebody would get to. You covered so much area, was that just kind of instinct?

[00:12:52] Some of it is practice, some of it’s the optical illusion of looking big, so sometimes you challenge, sometimes you sit [00:13:00] back and you always gave guys different looks so that when they would look at you, you look bigger than you actually are. Sometimes you would come out and challenge the place. Sometimes you’d stay back.

[00:13:09] It was interesting to see that because. I see a lot of goalies now. They kind of, they almost play the same. They don’t change it up as much as you did, and I do think that was, you know, really ingenious on your part to do something like that cuz it really messed with them about kind of what you might do and what they had to do to try to score on you.

[00:13:28] I know you, you’ve coached goalies now, do you kind of. Teach that for them? Or is there a kind of a different style now that they’re teaching for goalies? Uh, you know, it’s a little bit of a different style, but I doesn’t matter how big you are, I still try and teach guys that you have to change things up.

[00:13:43] I mean, that’s part of a long career. Everybody looks at film now, so as long as you can change something every year, then they can never have a complete book on you. Yeah. So it’s always about the optical illusion of doing different things. You had a ton of assists as a goalie, which is rare as well. [00:14:00] What made you go into that offensive mindset as a goalie?

[00:14:06] It’s a matter of putting rebounds in the right places. I mean, in Edmonton we’re an offensive team, so if I can get rebounds into places where guys are turning to, it helps them out. It helps our defense out, and that’s all it was, was just getting pucks on the right places. So did you get more of your assists when you were on Edmonton, you think?

[00:14:23] Like when you had Messier and Gretzky and all those guys? Or did you just throughout your whole career have have those kind of assists? Oh, no, most of it was in Edmonton. Yeah. I mean, we were offense based, so a lot of it was kicking pucks into the right places where guys could take off and go offensively.

[00:14:39] You know, I was watching over the last month some of the old games with Edmonton and, and man, like, you guys just, you look like a modern hockey team with that speed you had, you know, back then it was more bruising and checking everything. You guys, you know, you were offensive mind and you had some of the best players that ever played.

[00:14:57] You kind of were like the prototype team for [00:15:00] the teams now. I feel like it was something that Glen’s either wanted to do they, I think it was based off the old Winnipeg Jets teams. Yeah. That had Bobby Hall and Anders Hedberg off Nielsen, where they played it offensive style and it was an exciting style and they kind of carried that over in Dinton and it’s a style that nobody else played.

[00:15:18] So we enjoyed playing it and our team was built for it. I gotta tell you, it was amazing to watch. I was young when he played in Edmonton, but I watched some of the games and I watched more as I got into the nineties. I loved hockey growing up. It was, it was one of my favorite things. I would watch him with my dad.

[00:15:33] It was kind of our, our thing. He loved the rangers. He grew up watching them win. You know, in 1940 and then went again until 94. So that was something special I was sharing with him. When, when I was growing up. Were you close with your family, like watching hockey and stuff growing up? Like was that what they encouraged you to do?

[00:15:51] Man, I got to watch a lot with my dad. I watched a bit with my grandpas, so hockey was always the first love. I mean, I’ve got teachers that’ll tell you that, [00:16:00] that that was kind of my only love. So it’s something that I still enjoy. I mean, I still watch hockey three or four nights a week. You know, you retire.

[00:16:08] Anything? Have you been coaching more, I know you coached with the Coyotes. Are, have you coached other NHL teams in between like over the last 20 years? Uh, you know what, I started with Calgary when I retired. I spent, what I spent, I spent three years there coaching and then went to Phoenix, coached there for half a dozen years and then took some time off to play a little bit of golf and relax a little.

[00:16:28] And all of a sudden I get talked into coaching in three ice. So we’re back into the hockey world again and enjoying it. Yeah, so tell me a little bit more about that. When, when did they come up with that idea? Was that just recently or was it been in the works for a few years? I think it’s been in the works for a few years, and then Mr.

[00:16:45] Patrick reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in coaching in it, and I was looking forward to getting back into the game again. So it gave me an opportunity to coach a little bit and to enjoy the game again. What do you think about the setup with the three on three compared to, you know, [00:17:00] like regular hockey style?

[00:17:02] I love it cause it’s exciting and everybody loves overtime. Yeah. Which is three on three. So we’ve just kind of taken that and turned it into a league and it’s two eight minute periods, so the pace is always gonna be fast. It gets competitive. I know we’re going to Vegas this weekend for the finals and guys are playing for a fairly large chunk of money.

[00:17:20] So it’s gonna be competitive and guys are gonna be a little feisty about it. How many games total did you play this year? Uh, we played nine weekends in nine different cities. So as far as like practicing, do you guys have to coordinate practices? Do you just kind of fly in a couple days before and practice, or how does that work with that?

[00:17:40] No, we fly in the day before and then we just basically play games and fly back out on Sunday. Oh. So it’s a quick turnaround. It’s, it’s a quick turnaround cover. A few air miles, but at the same time, the guys love it and they’re all enjoying it. I think it’s a great idea. And I was just reading too, that [00:18:00] they were talking about expanding this into, you know, Europe and other parts of the world.

[00:18:03] They’re even talking about making it part of the Olympics. Well, I think it’s gonna catch on. I mean, I think it’s gonna get better and better. I think you’re gonna get more and more people that are interested in the game. So I think that part’s gonna be a lot of fun. Anything that they can do to expand hockey and the reach of hockey throughout the world I think is gonna be great.

[00:18:22] And just getting more kids to get involved with it. And I think too, hockey’s already a fast game, but when you make it faster, like with the three on three setup and and the high scoring, I think that really will attract a lot more people. Oh definitely. And I mean the people that don’t like body contact and such are gonna love three on three cause there’s not a lot of body contact.

[00:18:40] So it’s just high pace offensive hockey. The overtime is really cool. Now how they’ve changed that and, and the three on three setup is just so wide open. It’s just really interesting to see that. So I wish you a lot of luck in that. I wanted to ask you what you think about the upcoming season with the N H L and do you follow some of the like [00:19:00] current goalies, like kin and some of these guys that are out there now?

[00:19:03] I do. I’m still a fan of the game, so I still am watch. Enjoy watching the guys. I still follow Edmonton pretty closely, so it’s gonna be a lot of fun. It’s gonna be hard for somebody to knock Colorado off. They’re a pretty good hockey club. I think Colorado has a great shot at going back to the uh, Stanley Cup, and I do think the Rangers maybe take that next step forward with their team and the goalie that they have and make it into the finals next year.

[00:19:25] I think that, I think that’s my preseason early pick here for the finals next year. Oh, definitely. I mean, they added what they had Georgie F this year. I think they’ve upgraded that position and they were already good. So it’s gonna be an exciting year. Yeah. I live in Nashville now, so I’ve kind of. Flat song that the Preds too.

[00:19:43] So I, I’ve been watching them and Sorrows had a great year and the Preds have, have gotten some good pieces, added this off season. So I think that they’ll, they’ll make a step forward this year too. So I think it’ll be an exciting season. Definitely. I mean, we were just in Nashville like couple weekends ago, [00:20:00] so Yeah, it’s, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.

[00:20:02] So before we go, I wanted to ask you, you had a biography that you did back in 2015 called Grand Fear of the Story of a hockey legend. Is that available just like on Amazon or, or any place that sells books? Yeah, I believe it’s on Amazon. Do you have Instagram or Facebook or anything where people can follow you on social media and.

[00:20:24] I am on Instagram, I’m on Twitter. What am I? I’m at Grant Fear 31 on Instagram. I’m at Grant Fear on Twitter, so they can find me there. Well, listen, again, thank you so much for doing this today. I’ve admired you and, and many people do. You know, some of your accomplishments are just, have been amazing. You know, you were the first black player to win a Stanley Cup and, and be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I think you really helped break a lot of barriers for players to, to make that step forward.

[00:20:50] I think you’ve done so much for the game over the years and now giving back with coaching, so I just want to thank you for being able to watch you play and now watch you expand the game of [00:21:00] hockey as the years have gone on here. Thank you, Frank. It was enjoyable doing the interview. I hope you enjoyed the episode today.

[00:21:07] As much as I did, this really was a personal thing for me. Interviewing one of the hockey greats that I, that I grew up watching and admiring. It really brought back some memories of watching hockey with my dad when the Rangers won the cup and I got to watch all the games with him and just remembering the, the great times we had and.

[00:21:26] This kind of reminded me of how much I, I love hockey and I was talking to my producer, Frank earlier today and, and just, you know, throwing out some stats that I had remembered from Grant’s career and hoping that I can do more of this. This is really why I got into doing podcasts. I love health and I love sports, and one of the things I’ve always wanted to do is interview some of my favorite athletes that I watched throughout my career growing up and, and their careers playing hockey.

[00:21:51] And that’s hopefully the direction I’m going and, Athletes that we know of, that you’ve watched playing on TV and seen win championships. Those are the kind of [00:22:00] people I want on the show, and I really wanna pick their brain about what made them great and how they stayed healthy in their career to do that.

[00:22:06] It’s really cool to speak with them and, and kind of pick their brain about how they did it and some of the obstacles they had to overcome in, in their career. Also, just knowing as a kid that I would watch these guys on TV and, and just be in awe of how well they did. Playing a game that I love playing and, and still watching to this day, so, This is my legacy.

[00:22:28] Sports is what I love. It’s what I love growing up. It’s what I still love to this day. I love now that my kids are old enough to play in competitive sports. I love going down there and watching their games and, and helping them with practice. And it brings me back to when I was a kid and when I was playing sports and, and played into high school and going to the college, and now I get to live that through them and, and live it in my office where I have a lot of athletes coming in now where I can help them.

[00:22:53] Gain, you know, the athletic ability as far as staying healthy, that they need to be successful in sports. [00:23:00] And you know, if they get some injuries in there, I’d love to help them get better. You’re playing sports and you have some of these injuries and they’ve been lingering. They’ve probably been lingering since you were a kid.

[00:23:10] A lot of the things that I have, Now that I had as a kid, you know, have lingered, but I’ve been able to help control them and heal some of the old injuries I had because I’ve been able to get adjusted, do laser decompression, you know, nutrition, all the things that I’ve learned over the years. I help my own body to stay in shape to be able to do that.

[00:23:29] I still like to work out, I still like to play sports, and I’ve been playing more volleyball with my, with my oldest daughter, Gianna. So these are the kind of things that I love doing, and I wanna stay active for a long time. Love playing golf and, and you know, it takes a lot to do a golf swing. So you really have to be in, in good health and, and good flexibility to be able to do that continuously.

[00:23:50] So that’s why I take such pride in this because. I love sports and I want to continue to play in until the day I die. And I wanna help you be able to play. You know, I want you to be able to be [00:24:00] successful and play in, you know, after your retirement if you wanna play golf, if you wanna play tennis, I have a lot of people coming in now that, that play, those two sports and, and just other things.

[00:24:10] If you wanna play with your grandkids, these are the things that you, you want to have in your life. So you can do them and do them well. I always end the episodes with. The coach’s door is always open, and I really do mean that. I really want you to reach out to me, especially after this episode. If you listen to this, if you’re inspired about playing sports or if you’re inspired about your kids playing sports and you wanna stay healthy and you wanna be successful at doing that, please reach out to me.

[00:24:33] I’d love to help you on your journey to better health. I’d love to help you. On your journey to be a better player in whatever sport you’re playing, and even if you’re just going out and walking down the street or hiking or biking, whatever things that you wanna stay active with, I want to help you with that too.

[00:24:47] So please reach out to me on Instagram at Ideal Health and Wellness Center and on Facebook at Ideal Health and Wellness Center. Tell me what’s going on and I’ll tell you what I think. [00:25:00] Remember, the coach’s door is always open. This is Coach Frank. I’m sporting good posture. How about you? The Sporting Good Posture Podcast is a broadcast wellness production powered by Ideal Health Wellness Center, all content copyright 2021, all rights reserved.

[00:25:18] Executive producer Frank Sardella, coach Frank appears courtesy of Ideal Health Wellness Center in Franklin. For more information, visit sporting good and follow coach on Instagram at Sporting Good Posture. I’m gonna bring him to you right after these short messages from Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.

[00:25:37] They’re great. That was actually good. You, you got a good Tony the tiger. Maybe that’ll be your new tagline. There we go. I love it a little.