Friday, January 25, 2008

Val Fonteyne

Isn't it weird how the NHL recognizes the most penalized players? Tiger Williams is a legend because partially because he is the all time leader in PIM. Every year the Official Guide and Record Book points out the season leaders in PIM.

Yet the NHL doesn't recognize who committed the fewest fouls. Sure they give out the Lady Byng for gentlemanly play, but often that doesn't go to the least penalized player of the season.

Case in point - hockey's Mr. Clean Val Fonteyne never won the Lady Byng despite 5 full NHL seasons (3 consecutively) where he had 0 penalty minutes!! He only spent 26 minutes in the penalty box in 13 years in the league. That's 26 minutes in 820 NHL regular season contests! Amazing! Los Angeles Kings Randy Holt once received 67 minutes in penalties during one after-the-whistle brawl!

In one stretch Valere played in 185 consecutive matches without committing a foul. He followed that up with a 157 game stretch! And as you might of guessed, Val never got into a fight; all of his fouls were the harmless tripping and holding variety.

Val was a tiny but speedy left winger who specialized in defensive play and especially penalty killing. On many nights he was unnoticeable to the fans, but his teammates and opponents sure appreciated his thankless play. He received little fanfare during his career, just the way the shy winger liked it.

Val was best known as a Detroit Red Wing and Pittsburgh Penguin, though he also spent time with the New York Rangers and the WHA's Edmonton Oilers. He really enjoyed finishing his career in Edmonton, not far from his hometown of Wetaskiwin.

In the summer of 1974, Fonteyne (a Belgian name) decided to quit playing hockey and took a job driving a delivery truck for the Wetaskiwin post office. He remained there until he retired in 1994.

"It was just an ordinary job, but it was fine by me." said Val. "The post office was stable and provided a reasonable living.

Now retired, Val enjoys fishing and gardening.


Anonymous said...

During the early 60's while a Red Wing Val was kept busy as a penalty killer due to Howie Young's antics

Axxellein said...

..Incredible stats!!

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