Friday

Steve Weeks

For a guy who never really considered a career in professional hockey, Steve Weeks did alright for himself.

When Weeks was a kid in the mid-1970s, he opted to go to Northern Michigan University on a hockey scholarship as opposed to joining the junior Toronto Marlies. For Weeks it made perfect sense. He didn't expect to make the Marlies squad and it was a chance to get a good education on a scholarship. Weeks jumped at the chance.

Weeks played alright for three years at NMU, but in his 4th year he blossomed into an NHL prospect. With a 29-6-1 record and a 2.95 GAA, Weeks backstopped his school right to the NCAA finals only to lose the final game to North Dakota.

Weeks was actually drafted by the New York Rangers a couple of years earlier. They selected the Scarborough Ontario native 176th overall in the 1978 Entry Draft. Weeks development into a genuine prospect must have also surprised and pleased the Rangers.

His first season of professional hockey was in 1980-81. He had a less than spectacular year in the minors with New Haven - a 14-17-3 record and a 4.04 GAA. However the Rangers called up the youngster to back up starter Steve Baker for the rest of the season. Weeks participated in one game, a 2-1 loss to city rivals New York Islanders.

The next season found Weeks as the Rangers starting goalie, much to everyone's surprise. Wayne Thomas retired, Doug Soetaert was traded away and starter Steve Baker suffered a severe groin injury that kept him out much of the season. Weeks played well, sporting a 23-16-9 record and a 3.77 GAA. He also record his first NHL shutout.

Despite Weeks' solid play, the Rangers looked to improve their goaltending situation. They ended up bringing in Glen Hanlon as their starter. Weeks backed up Hanlon for the next two years, but it was clear Weeks wasn't in the Rangers long term plans as they were grooming a young John Vanbiesbrouck as their goalie of the future. Weeks was given away to the Hartford Whalers in the summer of 1984.

Weeks' role in Hartford didn't change much. He played second fiddle to Greg Millen and later Mike Liut

Weeks' stop in Hartford ended on March 8, 1988 when he was traded to Vancouver for an aging Richard Brodeur. By this time Weeks was getting older as well, and there was little doubt what his role would be - backup. He worked well with a young Kirk McLean. Not only was Weeks the backup goalie, but he was basically "Captain Kirk's" coach as well. McLean went on to become one of the top goalies in the early 1990s.

Weeks' career was coming to a close by 1991. He spent all but one game in the minor leagues. Vancouver traded him to Buffalo who only wanted him as a third stringer for their playoff drive. They let him go by season's end. He would go on to toil with the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators over the next couple of years. Ironically Weeks pro career came to an end with the Senators farm team in New Haven - the same place where he started his pro career.

Weeks finished his career with a respectable 111-119-33 record with 5 shutouts and a 3.74 GAA

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