John Garrett (hockey)

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This article is about the hockey player. For other uses, see John Garrett.
John Garrett

John Murdoch Garrett (born June 17, 1951 in Trenton, Ontario, Canada) is a retired ice hockey goaltender and television sports commentator who played for the Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association from the team's debut in 1976 to September 1978.

Garrett emerged as a star for the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey Association in 1969, winning the Dave Pinkney Trophy as the number one goalie for the team allowing the fewest goals. In 1970 he was a backup goalie for the Montreal Junior Canadiens and went 6-0-0 in six Memorial Cup tournament starts. He was drafted 38th overall by the St Louis Blues in the third round of the 1971 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He played for the affiliate Kansas City Blues of the Central Hockey League that season, recording three shutouts. The Blues sent him to the Chicago Blackhawks on February 8, 1972 to complete a trade. He started the season with the Portland Buccaroos of the Western Hockey League, but was loaned to the Richmond Robins of the American Hockey League for the second half of the season.

In 1973 Garrett became a free agent and signed a World Hockey Association contract with the Minnesota Fighting Saints. He remained with them for three seasons, representing Minnesota in the 1974 WHA All-Star Game, before the club folded. On March 1 1976 he signed with the Toronto Toros, also in the WHA. That team relocated to Birmingham on June 30 1976 to play in the newly-completed BJCC Coliseum as the "Birmingham Bulls".

Garrett led the WHA with four shutouts for the 1976-77 Bulls and he was named to the WHA's All-Star Team. During that season he allowed Gordie Howe's 1,000th career goal at the BJCC on December 7, 1977. He played a league-leading 58 games for the Bulls in the 1977-78 season, and again representing Birmingham in the 1978 All-Star Game. The league folded in 1979 with Garrett ranked second all-time in shutouts (14), third in games played by a goaltender (323), and fifth in career wins (148).

Before the end of the season, Birmingham traded Garrett to the New England Whalers, which was invited to join the National Hockey League for the 1979-80 season as the Hartford Whalers. Chicago made a move to reclaim its rights to Garrett, but Hartford exercised a clause in its expansion contract to name him a "priority selection". He started the next two seasons as the Whaler's number one goaltender before he was traded on January 12, 1982 to the Quebec Nordiques. A year later he was traded again, to the Vancouver Canucks. It was with that team that Garrett recorded his only career NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on March 2, 1983.

As the Canucks' number one goaltender, he was sent to replace the injured Richard Brodeur at the 1983 NHL All-Star Game, played in Uniondale, New York. He entered the game in the second period and made a number of crucial saves for the Campbell Conference side. He was expected to be named the MVP of the game, but Wayne Gretzky scored twice in the final five minutes, giving him four goals for the game, to snatch the prize away. Garrett played his final NHL game on December 23, 1984 against the Calgary Flames. He remained on the Canucks roster the next year, but did not play. He retired in 1986 and began a broadcasting career as color commentator for CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada".

Garrett's commentary was well-received and he broadcast eight consecutive conference finals on CBC, and also worked on the CBC's national broadcast of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. In 1999 he left for a job as a studio analyst with CTV Sportsnet, contributing commentary for national broadcasts on the parent network and for Calgary Flames games on Sportsnet West. In 2002 Garrett became a commentator for the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet Pacific while still covering the Flames on Sportsnet West.

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