Tom Kurvers (Denis Brodeur Collection/Getty Images)
Tom Kurvers experienced a lot over his hockey career: the agony of defeat in college, winning the Stanley Cup with Montreal and a game where off-ice officials had to act as the referees. Even once his playing days were over he managed to make some memories at the rink.
Status: Former NHL defenseman from 1984-1995 for Montreal, Buffalo, New Jersey, Toronto, Vancouver, New York Islanders and Anaheim.
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 198 pounds
DOB: September 14, 1962 In: Minneapolis, MN
First Hockey Memory: "I was going to an outdoor hockey clinic and walking down there with my neighbor from across the street – who was participating – and he said, 'Why don't you come along?' That's my first memory. Eight years old."
Hockey Inspirations: "I would say the genesis was – same kid – neighborhood kids playing the game, and I had an older brother and some of his friends would play. I was able to play with the guys in the neighborhood right away. They were more into it than I was at the start. So they pushed me along and brought me into the fold."
Nicknames: "College: TK. Pro: Kurveball."
Greatest Sports Moment: "Winning the Stanley Cup, Montreal, '86."
Most Painful Moment: "Losing the national championship my senior year of college. In the fourth overtime, to Bowling Green [smiles]."
Most Memorable Goal: "Was more of a picture of a goal. It happened in the referee game in 1988 in New Jersey. We played Boston and there were all kinds of issues going on with (coach Jim) Schoenfeld and (referee Don) Koharski. I scored a goal from the slot on a good pass from Brendan Shanahan. And the memory is in my head because when I shot I was close to the net and I could see the people behind the net as the puck went in sort of raising up at the same time I was. I just remember it going in and seeing the crowd lifting. So that's the most memorable."
Favorite Uniforms: "I'd say Montreal because I wore it."
Favorite Rinks To Play: "Gosh...Montreal. Chicago. Those two places you had to be ready to play. Montreal -– every time you played in there, it had it's own mystique."
Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: "To be able to move...they're playing much faster today than we ever did. But you can skate much faster than you can run. I think some of the reason is what it feels like for a skier to go down a hill. Skating puts you into that feeling that you can't get running. It's not as painful. You can go a lot faster. And there's just something competitive and demanding about the game that once you start playing, it sort of takes over."
Funniest Players Encountered: "Oh, a lot of them. A lot of good laughs along the way. I'll pass on that [smiles]. Too many. There's a lot of guys, it's all fun. It's all fun and games. The game is really fun. The rest is hard."
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: "Chris Chelios, both for and against. I watched him. Scariest player would have been Wendel Clark. And he didn't even try to be scary. Fiercest...those guys were equal competitors. But Chelios was a different human being. Great teammate. There just was no one like him. (What about Clark?) I said this – I saw him at world juniors in Toronto – I should have been more scared of him when I was traded to Toronto. I never messed with him. I got to realize he was just frightening."
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "Plenty of them. In Jersey they were doing – I forget what year – they were doing this thing where they would give away a jersey of a former Devils player. And so I sent in for my press credential – I was scouting at the time – at the old rink. Just sitting in the lower bowl. And they said after the second period, ‘We're gonna do a little quick bit of you on the screen and we're gonna pick a seat and have you walk down the aisle and you give the jersey to that fan as a giveaway.’ So they had me pull up whatever section. I walked down to like row 12, seat 5 and that lucky fan gets the jersey. It was a very brief sort of thing that they wanted the TV camera on. Well, I walked down there with my jersey on. And there's no one in the row actually. I'm standing there with my jersey on. And I didn't know what to do. And I just gave it to the first guy that I saw. He's like, ‘What do I need this for?’ So that was rather embarrassing. I got back to the press box. It hadn't gone right. I'm sure someone heard about it later."
Strangest Game: "The game against Boston in the playoffs. When the (substitute) referees walked through our locker room with yellow practice jerseys on, to hit the ice. I think, ¬– because we saw it before Boston – we were astounded at what we watched walking through our locker room. Because they got their equipment from our locker room. So they walked through with helmets on and yellow jerseys, before they scraped up some referee jerseys that they wore. If you look back at the video, they were off-ice officials. They just put skates on and they did the best they could. And it was the strangest sight that I ever saw."
Closest Hockey Friends: "Mike Ramsey. Norm Maciver. And my college co-captain Bill Grillo."
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: "Oh gosh. I think Ted Harris came to a clinic we had when I started playing. Ted Harris was playing for the North Stars at the time."
Personality Qualities Most Admired: "I try to spend my time and give time back to the people that lift you. People that leave a good mark on everybody around them. Not any particular qualities. Some people just have a way of making you feel good when you walk away."
Mark "Scoop" Malinowski's book "Facing Nadal: Symposium of a Champion" is now available at Amazon.