Mike Keenan was the first to call Ed Belfour 'The Eagle,' and it had nothing to do with his iconic masks

Mike Keenan was the first to call Ed Belfour ‘The Eagle,’ and it had nothing to do with his iconic masks

You can’t leave Ed Belfour out of the discussion when talking about legendary NHL goalies. He played for teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the San Jose Sharks before retiring in 2008.

Belfour won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011. He’s one of the five winningest goaltenders in NHL history and a true fan favorite.

TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 8: Ed Belfour #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during NHL game action on December 8, 1990 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)

Ed Belfour also has one of the coolest nicknames in NHL history. He was known as ”The Eagle” and always rocked some real iconic masks with cool-looking eagles on each side.

But according to Mike Keenan – head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks from 1988-1992 – that wasn’t the reason he got his nickname in the first place.

”Do you remember the ski jumper at the Calgary Olympics, Eddie Edwards, Eddie the Eagle, from Great Britain?” Keenan asked, per The Athletic.

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”Everyone was watching this guy and talking about him. I remember going in and saying to Eddie, ’See that guy. He’s not the only one in this world that’s flying. You’re flying too. From now on, you’re Eddie the Eagle.’

”When I said that, Eddie’s eyes lit up. He said, ’I love that Mike.’ And the nickname stuck.”

Source: Bildbyran

But his masks did help with cementing the nickname, of course. Speaking on NBC Sports Chicago’s Blackhawks Talk Podcast, he said he got the opportunity to get a custom mask through mask maker Greg Harrison after proving himself worthy in the NHL.

“I asked him if he could put a mean-looking bird on the mask and he put these cool-looking eagles on each side. Mike Keenan was the first [person] that called me “Eddie The Eagle.” So that was pretty cool and it just stuck with me. I don’t call myself “The Eagle” but I’m proud that my fans and my teammates call me “Eagle” and it’s really stuck and I’m proud of it,” he said.

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