|6 ft 04 in (1.93 m)
210 lb (95 kg)
|Born||March 4 1964
Climax, SK, CAN
|NHL Draft||1st overall, 1982
|Pro Career||1982 – 1991|
Gord Kluzak grew up on a wheat farm in Saskatchewan, and attended high school in Wilcox, Saskatchewan at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame.
Kluzak played junior hockey for two seasons with the WHL's Billings Bighorns, where he was paired on defence with future NHLer Bob Rouse. He missed half of the 1981–82 season and entire 1982 playoffs after he tore ligaments in his left knee in a game against the Medicine Hat Tigers on Feb. 9, 1982. This injury would be the first of many knee problems for Kluzak.
The injury did not hurt his draft placing however, as he was rated as the No. 3 overall prospect and the No. 2 WHL prospect for the 1982 NHL draft by The Hockey News.
Harry Sinden, the Boston Bruins general manager was sold on the young defenceman and made him the 1st overall pick that year in the NHL Entry Draft. Sinden passed up on Kitchener Rangers star Brian Bellows, who was the popular choice amongst Bruin fans, and Gary Nylund of the Portland Winter Hawks, who many, including The Hockey News, felt was the better defenceman. Sinden made a deal with the Minnesota North Stars, who had the second pick that year, where he agreed to let them have Bellows with the No. 2 pick in exchange for two players: Brad Palmer and Dave Donnelly.
Minnesota did end up picking Bellows, who went on to become a star in the NHL and finished his career with 485 goals and 1022 points. Nylund was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs and ended his career with 608 games under his belt. Other notable NHL players drafted after Kluzak include Scott Stevens (5th), Phil Housley (6th), Dave Andreychuk (16th), Tomas Sandstrom (36th), Pat Verbeek (43rd), and Doug Gilmour (134th).
Kluzak on the other hand was out of hockey at the age of 27 - felled by knee injuries. He managed to avoid knee injuries for his first two NHL seasons. However on Oct. 7, 1984, Kluzak tore ligaments in his left knee when he collided in mid-ice with Devils defenceman Dave Lewis. This required major reconstructive surgery and forced Kluzak to miss the entire 1984–85 regular season and 1985 playoffs. He would re-injure the knee again in September 1986 and miss another season.
After that Kluzak's career stalled due to chronic knee problems that resulted in 11 surgeries, and he would play in only 13 more games, his last being on Nov. 5, 1990, against the New York Rangers. He announced his retirement on Nov. 12, 1990.
Gord Kluzak holds the distinction of playing in the fewest games (299) of any first overall draft pick in NHL history (of players taken first overall before the 2000 NHL Entry Draft).
In 1982 Kluzak was chosen to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships. Prior to 1982, Canada had sent the defending Memorial Cup champions to represent the country at the world juniors. However because of the lack of success, 1982 became the first year that the top players in the country were sent.
Led by Kluzak and Kingston Canadians goaltender Mike Moffat, the Canadians outscored the opposition 45–14, including a 7–0 rout of the Soviet Union, en route to the country's first gold medal at the event.
In perhaps one of the most memorable moments in tournament history, Kluzak and his teammates stood at the blue line and sang the Canadian national anthem. Apparently, the organizers in Rochester, Minnesota had not expected Canada to win and did not have a recording of "O Canada".
Kluzak graduated from Harvard University in 1994 with a degree in Economics, and spent two years as the Chief of Staff for the state lottery. He then returned to Harvard, earning an MBA in 1998. Since then, he has worked for Goldman Sachs.
Gord also worked as a color commentator on Bruins telecasts from 1995–96 through 2003–04. He now works for NESN as a studio analyst.
|NHL First Overall Draft Pick
|Bill Masterton Trophy Winner