It is a bit by chance that forward Roberto Luongo hit the ice as a replacement goaltender during the heralded Pee-Wee tournament several decades ago. It was a role that he had been thinking about for a long time. In his first official outing, he recorded a shutout and he was on his way.
At 16 years of age, Luongo was selected with the second overall selection in the 1995 QMJHL Entry Draft by the Val-d’Or Foreurs. He would take part in 23 of the team’s 70 games during his rookie year.
In 1996-97, he was awarded the Michael Bossy trophy as the QMJHL’s top professional prospect. In the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, the 6’03” goaltender would be chosen fourth overall by the New York Islanders.
Amongst his junior career highlights is certainly the seven shutouts he recorded during the 1997-98 regular season, tying record-holder Nick Sanza. He would hold the record for most career victories in the playoffs with 38 for sixteen years from 1999 to 2015.
During the 1998 playoffs, he would lead, along with Steve Bégin and Jean-Pierre Dumont, the Foreurs to their first-ever President Cup title. The following spring, he would capture his second championship, but this time with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
Twice he played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship (1998 & 1999). Luongo would be named the tournament’s top goaltender in 1999 as Team Canada captured silver.
In the National Hockey League, he would play 11 of his 19 seasons with the Florida Panthers. In 2006-07, Luongo would begin his stint with the Vancouver Canucks. That season, he would record 47 wins while posting an outstanding 2.28 goals-against-average and becoming a finalist for the Hart and Vezina trophies. Exceptionally, in 2008, he would be the first goaltender in 60 years to be named captain, a role he played for two seasons. In 2011, he would carry Vancouver to a deciding game seven in the Stanley Cup final versus the eventual champion Boston Bruins. The goaltender would make five NHL All-Star game appearances while twice being named a Second-Team All-Star (2003-04 and 2006-07).
His brilliant career places him amongst the all-time greatest goaltenders in NHL history: 2nd all-time in games played (1044), 3rd all-time in wins (489) and 9th all-time in shutouts (77) while his career save percentage of .919 is just short of recordholder Dominik Hasek at .922.
On the international stage with Team Canada, he would back-up fellow Montreal native Martin Brodeur at the 2006 Olympics. Then, as the starting goaltender for Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, he would capture a gold medal. He also wore the famed maple leaf for a few World Championships.
His #1 was retired by both the Foreurs and the Titan.
Roberto Luongo entered the QMJHL Hall of Fame as a player on April 8th, 2020.
|Saison régulière / Regular Season|
|Séries éliminatoires / Playoffs|