By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh
Yves Belanger was born on September 30th, 1952 in Baie Comeau, Quebec, Canada. He began playing juniors as a 17-year-old in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for the Sherbrooke Castors from 1969 until 1972. During his junior hockey days, the 5’11, 170-pound goalie recorded 61 wins and three shutouts in 142 appearances.
Yves entered the NHL Amateur Draft numerous times but unfortunately went undrafted. However, that did not deter his determination to live his dream of playing in the National Hockey League (NHL).
Yves signed his first professional contract with the Syracuse Blazers (EHL) for the 1972-1973 campaign and made 38 appearances following the draft. After his first year of professional hockey under his belt, Yves made the leap to the American Hockey League (AHL) in 1973, signed a deal with the Jacksonville Barons (AHL), and finished with 17 wins in 54 starts that season. During the 1974 off-season, Yves finally notched his first contract with an NHL team, the St.Louis Blues.
At the start of the 1974-1975 season, the goaltender was assigned to their minor-pro hockey team, the Denver Spurs (CHL), and after 36 games received his call-up to the National Hockey League for his first start. Yves finished the season with six wins and a .908% save percentage in 11 appearances with the Blues.
During his sophomore year in the NHL, Yves was re-assigned to their minor-pro affiliate, this time with the Providence Reds (AHL), but was promoted again in 1976. He finished the campaign with 11 wins and a .884% save percentage in 31 games. Unfortunately, his time with the St.Louis Blues would quickly end the following season after playing three more games with the team.
On December 12th, 1977, Yves Belanger was traded by the St. Louis Blues, including their 2nd round draft pick in 1979 (Mike Perovich), Bob MacMillan, and Dick Redmond to the Atlanta Flames in exchange for players Curt Bennett, Barry Gibbs, and Phil Myre.
Yves finished the season with seven wins and a .873% save percentage, suited up for the Atlanta Flames for the 1978-1979 season, and later disagreed on contract renewal. Because of that, he was set to hit the free-agent market. After sitting idle most of the 1979 pre-season, on October 8th, Yves signed a one-year deal with the Boston Bruins to serve as a back-up goalie.
That season, the goaltender split his time between the Bruins and their minor-pro affiliate, the Binghamton Dusters (AHL). He recorded two wins with the Bruins before his contract expired in 1980 and later re-joined the free-agent market again. However, after not finding any NHL offers, Yves decided to head overseas to play for the Cap Pele Caps in the NBIHA.
Yves continued to play for the Cap Pele Caps (NBIHA) from 1981 until 1983. After returning to his hometown, he decided to hang up the skates for a few years but later signed with the Charlottetown Islanders (NBSHL) for the 1986-1987 season. He officially retired from the hockey world in the summer of 1987 at the age of 35.
Yves was one of the rare goalies during his time to break into the NHL as an undrafted goalie and maintain a healthy professional playing career. During his six-year tenure in the NHL, Yves suited up for 78 games and recorded 29 wins with a .879% save percentage. From all of us at Black N’ Gold, happy birthday Yves Belanger!
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