Olaf Kolzig, better known as Olie the Goalie, spent his career defending the net for the Washington Capitals. Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa (yes, I’m surprised he’s African too), Kolzig moved to Canada in his teens and excelled as a goaltender. He was drafted 19th overall in the 1989 draft by the Caps and served as their net minder for 20 years.
Although Kolzig was never able to get the Caps a cup, he reached many individual accomplishments as a player. He represented Germany in the Olympics several times (yes, he had German citizenship too), he was a two-time NHL all-star, and won the Veniza Trophy (best goalie) in 2000. He also holds just about every possible record for a Caps’ goaltender and was even voted one of ten Washingtonians of the year in 2000 for his incredible performance in goal.
Off the ice Olie the Goalie is known for his extensive charity work. His son, Carson, is diagnosed with autism and Olaf started “Athletes Against Autism” as well as the “Carson Kolzig Foundation” to raise awareness and encourage more research on the subject.
One strange incident that occurred during Olaf’s career was that he got in a fight, which is very rare for a goalie. To make it even more interesting, Kolzig initially began fighting a skater on the Bruins, rather than their goalie. However, when Kolzig and the skater are separated, the Bruins’ goalie, Byron Dafoe, grabbed Kolzig and those two began going at it. Most of you are probably thinking either who is Byron Dafoe or why should I care. Well, it just so happens that Dafoe was the best man at Kolzig’s wedding the summer before. So much for that.
Olaf Kolzig: Great goalie, better guy. Number 37 in your program, number one in your heart.
There is no doubt that the goaltender is the single most influential player on any hockey team and rivals that of a quarterback in football for how much impact the position has on the game. Although having good goaltending does not guarantee success, not having it is a recipe for failure.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a prime example of this over a seven year stretch in which...
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