John Vanbiesbrouck was one of the ice hockey goal tender stars, or rather goalies, in the National Hockey League [NHL] during the 1981 to 2002 years. As a youngster, he was a precocious ice hockey player, growing up in Detroit, Michigan where he was born on September 4, 1963. Apparently, because of his rather small build, 5 feet 8 inches and 175 pounds, he was overlooked as a future professional prospect. But his father realized that John had potential. So his father took him to the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League [OHL]. His father convinced the OHL team to give John a tryout, and John was accepted as a player for the 1980-1981 hockey season, shortly after his seventeenth birthday.
Following a successful season with the OHL Greyhounds in Sault Ste Marie, Vanbiesbrouck was drafted by the New York Rangers in the fourth round of the NHL draft, 72nd overall. During the first season as a pro in 1981-1982, he played for one of the Rangers farm teams. But during the hockey season, he was called up to be the goalie for a Rangers game. So as an eighteen year old he played in his first National Hockey League game, and he won the game for the Rangers.
Vanbiesbrouck became a regular NHL player at age 20 during the 1983-1984 season. During that season he only tended goal for three games but ended up with 3.33 goals against average [GAA], a very acceptable performance. In the 1984-1985 hockey season he became a full time NHL goalie tending goal in 42 games.
Van Biesbrouck would play a total of ten seasons for the New York Rangers. At the end of the 1992-1993 hockey season he was traded to the Florida Panthers where he remained until the end of the 1997-1998 hockey season. He was then traded to the Philadelphia Flyers where he only stayed until the end of the 1999-2000 hockey season. He then spent one hockey season with the New York Islanders, and then switched to the New Jersey Devils, where he remained until his retirement at the end of the 2001-2002 hockey season.
At the end of his professional career in the National Hockey League Vanbiesbrouck had played in 882 games, won 374 games, lost 346 games and tied 119 games. His goal against average [GAA] score was 2.98, a very laudable score. In the 1985-1986 hockey season he won the Vezina Trophy, the major goalie award handed out each year to the best professional hockey goalie in the NHL. He also was honored twice for being selected to be on the NHL First All Star Team, in 1985-1986 and in 1993-1994. However, he played in the 1994, 1996 and 1997 NHL All Star games.
In addition to the above honors Vanbiesbrouck probably received the most valuable honor or award when he was selected to be inducted in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. The induction occurred in 2007.
Vanbiesbrouck’s tenure with the New York Rangers was the longest of his various other tenures. As a result Vanbiesbrouck is closely tied to the Rangers, possibly for holding two franchise records. He holds the franchise record for the most assists  in a single season by a goal tender and he holds the most career assists by a goal tender . But in addition he also holds two other NHL all-time records consisting of the most victories among American born goal tenders , and the most shutouts among American born goal tenders . The latter record is shared with fellow goal tender Frank Brimsek.
Vanbiesbrouck has been selected for inclusion into the Prominent Dutch American listing although technically he is not a Dutch American but a Belgian American. However, his father was a Belgian immigrant with a Dutch name and came from the Dutch speaking Flanders area in northern Belgium, adjacent to the Netherlands. In addition, the people from Flanders have a close association with their northern neighbors. So based on the above we honor John Vanbiesbrouck as a prominent Dutch American.
Vanbiesbrouck was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father was Robert Vanbiesbrouck and his mother was an immigrant from Italy, named Sara. John is married to Rosalinde, and the couple has four children, all sons, named Ian, Ben, Nicholas and Daniel.
John Vanbiesbrouck, http://www.hockey-reference.com/players
John Vanbiesbrouck, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Vanbiesbrouck
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