The day Grant Fuhr became the first black NHL All-Star Game MVP
The Campbell Conference lost the 1986 game, but Fuhr was so good he won the award anyway
Sometimes saving a goal came down to Edmonton Oiler Grant Fuhr using his face mask. He stopped the Prince of Wales Conference All-Stars in a variety of ways, actually.
Fuhr laid out to block their shots. He put the kibosh on Philadelphia’s Tim Kerr on a three-on-two break and stopped Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux on the rebound attempt. The Oilers goalie also made light work of three-time NHL Player of the Year Mike Bossy’s shots on goal.
Wales put 15 shots on goal, and Fuhr blocked every one of them during his 31 minutes of action en route to the 1986 NHL All-Star Game’s MVP award. The NHL’s only black goalie at the time became the first black All-Star MVP on Feb. 4, 1986.
The Campbell Conference All-Star started in net for the second year in a row. Fuhr came into the game with the second-largest number of points on All-Star ballots, right behind his Oilers teammate Wayne Gretzky.
The Hartford Civic Center crowd gave the 32-year-old two-time Stanley Cup champion a standing ovation, while All-Stars from both teams surrounded Fuhr in a circle, giving him compliments and pats on the back.
“We’re excited for Grant,” Gretzky told United Press International. “He’s a great hockey player.”
Fuhr’s Oilers teammate and backup Andy Moog allowed all four goals that enabled the Wales team to beat the Campbell team 4-3 in overtime. Fuhr won MVP and a $20,000 car despite his team’s loss.
“Usually, they give it to the guy on the winning team,” Fuhr told UPI.
“It’s nice to get the car, but I’d rather get the win. I can’t take credit, though, because the guys played so well in front of me.”
Fuhr, the lone black NHL player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, finished his career with five Stanley Cup titles and seven All-Star Game selections. (Canadian Angela James was one of the first two women and the second black player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.)
During the 2017 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Fuhr was named one of the 100 greatest NHL players. He also watched Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers become the second black player to win All-Star MVP.