Professional hockey player
Born on May 16, 1977, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; son of Claude (a bus driver) and Gisele Giguere; married Kristen Fawthrop, 2003.
Office— Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Attn: Jean–Sebastien Giguere, 2965 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92806.
Began playing hockey at the age of five, 1982; first–round draft pick in the National Hockey League by the Hartford Whalers, 1995; traded to Calgary Flames, 1998; traded to Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 2000; lead the Mighty Ducks to the Stanley Cup Finals, 2003.
Conn Smythe Trophy, National Hockey League, 2003.
Though he seemed to emerge out of nowhere, Jean–Sebastien Giguere dominated the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2003. The goalie for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, he led his team to the finals, defeating some of the best teams in the National Hockey League (NHL), before losing in game seven to the New Jersey Devils. For his run, Giguere won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the playoffs.
Born on May 16, 1977, in Montreal, Canada, Giguere is the son of Claude and Gisele Giguere. His father was a prison guard turned school bus driver, while
Giguere began playing hockey when he was five. He played goalie because his oldest brother, Stephane, did. Of all his siblings, however, Giguere made it the farthest as a player, though Stephane did play minor league hockey. Giguere's promise began to show when he played junior hockey in Canada; when he was 17 years old, he was considered a world–class goalie on the junior level.
In 1995, based on his potential, Giguere was drafted in the first round of the NHL draft by the Hartford Whalers. His National Hockey League career was relatively undistinguished. Giguere played for the Hartford Whalers in the 1996–97 season, then was traded to the Calgary Flames. From 1998 to 2000, he played for the Flames, but spent much of his time in the minors.
What had made Giguere great as a goalie was his simplicity and patience. By the time he landed in Calgary, he slumped more often and lost his technique. He became a more complicated player, one who reacted to the situations he faced instead of controlling them. Calgary gave up on Giguere and traded him to Anaheim in 2000 for a second–round draft pick.
Over several seasons with Anaheim, Giguere returned to his original form. One reason his career was revitalized was the Ducks' goaltending consultant, Francois Allaire. He helped Giguere make his game simple again. Allaire had taught Giguere when he was a 12–year–old boy living in Quebec; even at an early age, Giguere had had a strong work ethic, but lost his confidence as a professional by playing for bad teams and because he was often sent to the minors. Allaire re–taught Giguere how to be a goalie again, by becoming more conservative in play, not handling the puck much, and controlling rebounds.
Giguere's changes, however, did not click until the middle of the 2002–03 season. He ended that season strongly after playing well in the second half of the regular season. Until this time, the Mighty Ducks were not a great team, and had never made it past the second round of the playoffs. Seeded seventh in the Western Conference, Anaheim proceeded to destroy the West.
After sweeping the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings in the first round in four games, Anaheim eliminated the number–one seed in the West, the Dallas Stars, in six games. Anaheim then faced another upstart team, the Minnesota Wild, defeating them to win the Western Conference title. It was Giguere who often carried his team, playing many minutes of confident shut–out hockey. Of Giguere's zone in the playoffs, ESPN analyst Bill Clement told Eric Adelson of ESPN the Magazine, "He's found a way not to let his mind control him. It's just incredible. He never beats himself."
In the Stanley Cup Finals, Giguere and the Ducks faced the New Jersey Devils in the finals, a team with more experience winning (having won two Stanley Cups in the previous eight years). Anaheim and Giguere pushed the Devils to seven games, before finally losing, and for his outstanding play, Giguere was named the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs. He finished the playoffs with an astounding 1.62 goals–against average, as well as the longest playoff scoreless streak (168 minutes and 27 seconds).
Despite this defeat, Giguere re–signed with the Ducks for a contract worth $20 million over five years. The lineup of the Ducks changed between the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, with popular left wing Paul Kariya leaving for the Colorado Avalanche and superstar center Sergei Fedorov joining the team. Speaking of the changes, Giguere remarked to Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service reporter Steve Bisheff, "It was huge. It just shows you that the team and the organization, they're in this to win. It's great to see that. It shows other players around the league that you have to respect the Ducks."
Associated Press, June 11, 2003.
ESPN the Magazine, June 11, 2003.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, May 30, 2003; June 3, 2003; June 9, 2003; September 10, 2003.
Sports Illustrated, May 12, 2003.
Time International, June 2, 2003, p. 42.
— A. Petruso