Monday, January 9, 2017

Gary Kurt: All-Star Goalie For The Syracuse Blazers

gary kurt new york raiders o-pee-chee hockey card
Gary Kurt played in the North American Hockey League for just the league's inaugural 1973-74 season. He lost to Bobby Orr and the Oshawa Generals in the 1965-66 OHL finals. He won the Harry Hap Holmes Memorial Award in the 1970-71 AHL for the lowest goals against. He played a short time in the NHL and a longer time in the World Hockey Association. Gary Kurt's was a not well known but fairly successful career in hockey.

Gary Kurt – NAHL

Gary Kurt played 24 games between the pipes for the Syracuse Blazers in 1973-74. His 2.94 goals against average and two shutouts earned him First Team All-Star honours. However, Gary did not play for Syracuse in the NAHL post season.

Syracuse finished first overall and were crowned playoff champions with a win over the Long Island Cougars in the finals. The Blazers playoff goaltending was split between Russ Gillow (9 games) and Ted Ouimet (six games).

Kurt ended up that 1973-74 season with 30 games in the World Hockey Association. He played for the nomadic New York Golden Blades, aka Jersey Knights.

Gary Kurt – Junior and Minor Pro

Gary Kurt played four years of major junior hockey with the Kitchener Rangers between 1963-64 and 1966-67. In 1965-66, he played in just nine regular season games for the Rangers and the team finished seventh in the eight team league.

When it came to the 1965-66 playoffs, Kurt was in net for all 17 post season games for Kitchener. The Rangers upset the third place Niagara Falls Flyers in the quarter-finals and upset the sixth place Toronto Marlboros in the semi-finals. When it came to the final series, Bobby Orr and the Oshawa Generals proved too much. Kitchener was led by Walt Tkaczuk, Tim Ecclestone and Don Luce.

From 1967-68 to 1971-72, Kurt played in the Central Hockey League and AHL. In 1970-71 with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League, Gary posted a 2.76 GAA and a shutout over 42 games. He earned the Harry Holmes Memorial Award as the goalie for the team with the least goals against.

Parker MacDonald and John Muckler split head coaching duties for the Barons that year. Along with the top goalie honours, Gary Kurt was named a Second Team All-Star goalie.

Gary Kurt – Major League

Gary Kurt made his way to the National Hockey League in 1971-72 after his standout season in the AHL. He would play his only 16 games in the league that year, all with the California Golden Seals. Backing up Gilles Meloche, Kurt recorded a decent 2.94 goals against average, along with two shutouts.

Kurt played in the World Hockey Association between 1972-73 and 1976-77 with the New York Raiders/New York Golden Blades/Jersey Knights and the Phoenix Roadrunners. He was picked up by the Phoenix Roadrunners at the 1974 WHA Expansion Draft and didn't go all the way to San Diego with the once again relocated Knights franchise.

Over his WHA career, Kurt played in 176 games and recorded a 4.17 GAA with three shutouts. His best season came in 1974-75 when he appeared in 47 games for the Roadrunners. With Jack Norris backing him up, Gary put up a 3.29 GAA and two of his three career shutouts.

Gary Kurt - Hockey Cards

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