NHL: Geoff Courtnall
Victoria’s own Geoff Courtnall is a man who needs no introduction to Canucks fans.
Born: August 18, 1962, in Victoria, BC, CANADA.
He played for (AHL) Hershey, and Moncton, and (NHL) Boston, Edmonton, Washington, St. Louis, and Vancouver. His career spanned 17 seasons from 83-2000.
Perhaps you’ve heard of 1994? It was just like last spring except we didn’t have Facebook to upload riot pictures on.
Despite putting up 92 and 114 point seasons with the Victoria Cougars in the WHL, a young Geoff Courtnall was passed over in his draft year and signed with the Boston Bruins in the summer of 1983.
Geoff would spend parts of 5 seasons with the Bruins before being traded in 1988 with Bill Ranford to the Edmonton Oilers for Andy Moog.
The Oilers won the cup that year, but Courtnall managed just three assists in the 19 playoff games.
He was traded in the summer to Washington for Greg Adams (foreshadowing!).
Eventually, Courtnall landed on the Blues in 1991 and gave Pat Quinn the opportunity to pull off one of the most important deals in Canucks franchise history.
Courtnall, Cliff Ronning, Sergio Momesso and Robert Dirk for Garth Butcher and Dan Quinn. Without this deal 1994 simply doesn’t happen.
Courtnall played his best career years as a Canuck but more importantly he was a straight up playoff warrior.
He put up 61 points in 65 playoff games for Vancouver, 19 of those in 1994. He had a couple of big moments during that run including the the game 5 OT winner against Calgary that sparked the trio of overtime comebacks that still might be the Canucks’ greatest claim to fame against the Flames.
In Game 6 of the Finals, with the Canucks up 3-1, Courtnall had a beautiful chance late in the third only for the puck to hit something by the net allowing the Rangers to take it back up ice and get a Messier goal to claw back.
Luckily, this was the first season the NHL implemented video review and it was quickly determined the puck had hit the back crossbar and bounced out.
A 3-2 nailbiter was now a 4-1 slamdunk.
At least during this time Geoff was able to play a handful of games with his brother Russ in a Canucks uniform.
Courtnall, like many on that team, tapered off after that run and eventually was traded back to St Louis in the summer of 1995. He played with the Blues for five seasons until concussion issues forced his retirement.
With the death of Rick Rypien, Courtnall has been back in the news and speaking publically about his family’s battle with depression for the first time.
Courtnall’s father took his own life in 1978 at the age of 45 and Courtnall now admits to a lifelong drinking problem and is dealing with his own issues of depression. The concussions certainly didn’t help matters.
Now 18 months sober, Courtnall hosts the Courtnall Classic Golf Tournament with his brother Russ to raise money and awareness for mental health issues.
Did you also know Geoff’s son, Justin, was drafted 210th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning?