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Name: Mario Gosselin (Gos-lain)
Born: Thetford Mines, Quebec, June 15, 1963
Nickname: "Goose"
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Uniform #: #33 (Nordiques), #31 (Kings &Whalers)
Catches: Left

Shawinigan Cataracts QMJHL 1980-1983

The quick-handed, acrobatic Gosselin first drew attention as an underage junior when he starred with Shawinigan of the QMJHL. In 1981-82, as a 17 year-old, Gosselin played in 60 regular season games, then took the Cataracts through 14 playoff games. He was awarded a spot on the QMJHL Second all-star Team. The Quebec Nordiques acquired Mario in the June draft of 1982, taking him on their 3rd pick (after David Shaw and Paul Gillis) as the league's 55th overall choice. Rather than turn pro, he played out his final year of junior eligibility in Shawinigan and recorded 32 victories, 3 shutouts, and a goals-against average of 3.12 (considered to be very low in the offensively oriented Quebec league). His excellent play in 1983 earned him the Jacques Plante Trophy as the leagues top goalie.


Canadian National Team 1984

Once again faced with the chance to enter the National Hockey League, Gosselin opted instead to play for the Canadian National Team in the 1984 Olympics. But just one day prior to the opening game, he and three teammates were declared ineligible to compete by the Games' governing body, the International Olympic Committee. He was suddenly excluded from competition because he had previously signed a professional contract with the Quebec Nordiques. But after a day-long dispute, Gosselin was re-instated by the IOC, a decision that induced a huge sigh of relief from the netminder. Many people wrote off the Canadians before the Olympics even started due to their poor play in pre-Olympic contests. But Gosselin and Team Canada silenced many critics when they won their first four games in the tournament including wins over Finland and the defending champions Team U.S.A. It was then that he earned the nickname "Goose" when Canada coach Dave King told reporters "The Goose is loose!" and the name stuck. Despite losing to Russia's big red machine, Czechoslovakia, and Sweden in the medal round, Gosselin was a standout throughout the entire tournament.

Quebec Nordiques 1983-84

In his first NHL start, Gosselin recorded a shutout against the St. Louis Blues on February 26, 1984. It was a feat that only a handful of goalies had ever achieved and it ranks as one of his greatest hockey thrills. He then went on to win his 2nd start over the Red Wings before badly injuring a knee during a game against the Penguins that ended his season. However Mario was forced to suit up for action in the famous Game 6 brawl game of the Adams finals against Montreal when backup goalie Clint Malarchuk was ejected for fighting.

Quebec Nordiques 1984-85

Mario's breakthrough season! At just 22 years of age, he emerged as the Nordiques top goaltender outplaying veteran netminder Richard Sevigny and longtime number one man Daniel Bouchard. Gosselin appeared in 35 regular season games, recorded his 2nd NHL shutout March 13, 1985 .vs. Minnesota, and finished the season with a record of 19-10-3 and a GAA of 3.34. No Nordiques fan will forget Gosselin's exploits in the 1985 playoffs when he was selected among the three stars in seven of the seventeen games he started. The Nordiques first eliminated the Buffalo Sabres in the Adams Division semi-finals with Gosselin winning games one, two, and five. In game one, he made 30 saves and earned the second star in a 5-2 victory at the Colisee. Quebec then went on to face perennial provincial rivals, the Montreal Canadiens in a classic Adams Finals tilt. Before the series started, Gosselin boldly predicted: "This series will go a full seven games. But don't fret, the Goose will be ready in the seventh game and we'll win". As promised, it did go seven games and the Nordiques won game seven in overtime on a goal by Peter Stastny. It stands as the Nordiques biggest series victory in history and possibly Gosselin's greatest NHL achievement. Game 5 in Montreal was perhaps his best game of the series when he stopped 35 shots and earned the first star in a 5-1 victory. He continued his brilliance in the Conference finals against the Flyers but the Nordiques couldn't solve Pelle Lindbergh and lost the series in 6 games. Gosselin stole game 4 at the Spectrum making 31 saves in a 5-3 Nordiques victory. 1984-85 was Mario's finest season with the Nordiques. He gave the Quebec fans goaltending to love, first as an Olympic hero and then as a playoff star. Despite his sensational rookie season, Gosselin finished far behind Mario Lemieux who took the Calder Trophy as the leagues top rookie.


Quebec Nordiques 1985-86

Mario started the season with a bang going 6-0-1 but he was not a healthy man in 1985-86. Injuries and demotions to the minors plagued Gosselin's sophomore season. A bad knee, a bruised shoulder, and a broken finger kept him from being in top game shape but many fans in Quebec still criticized him for his off year. In 31 games he managed a 14-14-1 record with a GAA of 3.86. He notched his 3rd and 4th career shutouts in Toronto 10/12/85, and in Minnesota 3/24/86. With Clint Malarchuk assuming the #1 job in goal, the Nordiques finished the 85-86 season with 92 points and won the Adams Division Championship. But Malarchuk failed to perform in the playoffs as Quebec was swept in 3 games by the Whalers. On 2/4/86 Gosselin started in goal for the Wales Conference at the All Star Game in Hartford. He allowed 1 goal and made several huge saves leading the Wales Conference to victory.


Quebec Nordiques 1986-87

Nordiques head coach Michel Bergeron and the Goose didn't always see eye to eye. It was no secret that Bergeron had much more confidence in Clint Malarchuk. After Gosselin started the season with a solid 4-1-1 record, he played poorly in a loss to Pittsburgh on November 15. He suddenly found himself on the bench for nearly 2 months before Bergeron started him again. For most of the season Mario saw sporadic action but he nonetheless maintained an above .500 win-loss ratio (13-11-1) on a team that finished 31-39-10. He also finished the season with a career best 3.18 GAA. In the final game of the regular season at Boston, Gosselin was sensational and left Bergeron no choice but to start him in game 1 of the playoffs against the Whalers. The Goose was brilliant again, stopping 38 of 41 shots in a heartbreaking 3-2 o/t loss in front of a noisy crowd at the Hartford Civic Center. Everyone expected to see him in goal for game 2 but Bergeron opted to start Malarchuk because he believed that Gosselin was "too frail" and couldn't handle playing two games in two nights. After losing 5-4 in game 2 with Malarchuk in goal, Bergeron went back to Mario for the third game in Quebec . A determined Gosselin proclaimed to Quebec newspapers for fans to "bet their farms" on the Nordiques in game 3. He then went on to stop 57 of 59 shots in games 3 and 4 giving Quebec the momentum to upset the Whalers in 6 games. The Nordiques went on to play seven games before losing to Montreal in a controversial Division Final with Gosselin in goal for six of the seven games. In Game 2 he made 29 saves in a 2-1 Nordiques victory and earned the first star. When the 1986-87 season ended, Gosselin was back in the saddle again as the Nordiques #1 goaltender. He had once again proven that he could win big games in the playoffs and was clearly the fans' choice when the going got tough. The "Goose" was loose again!



Quebec Nordiques 1987-88

During the offseason, the Nordiques made two very publicized trades. The first involved Clint Malarchuk and Dale Hunter going to the Capitals in exchange for Alan Haworth, Gaetan Duchesne, and a draft pick (Joe Sakic). And in the second, coach Michel Bergeron was "dealt" to the Rangers for cash and a draft pick. Both trades combined to make Gosselin a very happy man. With Malarchuk gone, he had finally inherited the number one job in goal for the Nordiques. But the 1987-88 season was a disappointing one for "Goose" as the Nordiques finished 5th in the Adams Division (32-43-5) and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 7 years. Mario tallied a record of 20-28-4 and a 3.78 GAA in 54 games. The Nordiques dismal season could not be blamed on Gosselin as he hardly received the kind of defensive support necessary to win hockey games. He was bombarded on a nightly basis and ended up tiring as the season went on. Bright spots during in 1987-88 included a 5-0 shutout at Minnesota (12/12/87) and a blanking of Gretzky and the Oilers 5-0 (10/27/87) broadcast on ESPN's Tuesday night hockey.



Quebec Nordiques 1988-89

After Mario struggled with the heavy workload in 87-88, Nordiques General Manager Maurice Filion acquired veteran netminder Bob Mason from the Blackhawks to split the goaltending work in half during the regular season. But then strangely, Filion traded away two of their best defensemen Normand Rochefort and Terry Carkner. Gosselin was aboard a sinking ship in 1988-89 as virtually every player on the team suffered through a subpar campaign. The Nordiques finished dead last in the NHL compiling their worst record in club history 27-46-7, a trend that would continue over the next three years. The Goose missed the first month of the season with an injury. He played a few games with Halifax (AHL) before joining Quebec in mid November. For Gosselin and the rest of the Nordique netminders, goaltending seemed more like playing in front of a firing squad. He was pelted with pucks facing an average of 34 shots per game. This might explain why his goals-against average was 4.24. Before the 88-89 season his lifetime average was 3.53. There were a few bright spots, he topped the Habs twice, stopped 46 shots in a win over the Rangers (3/18/89), and stopped 40 shots in a defeat of the Stanley Cup Champion Calgary Flames on 01/21/89. Soon after the season ended, the Nordiques handed Mario his outright release. The team apparently decided that the right man in goal could turn their fortunes from bleak to peak in a single step. Unfortunately, they didn't provide him with much in the way of moral or defensive support and Gosselin wasn't going to be the one-man savior. But it didn't take long for the phone to start ringing. In early June '89 he received a call from his childhood hockey idol and Los Angeles Kings GM Rogie Vachon.



Los Angeles Kings 1989-90

On June 12, 1989 Gosselin signed with the Los Angeles Kings. He jumped at the chance to play with Wayne Gretzky and a talented Kings lineup that boasted a solid defensive core. Also, the media was very quiet in L.A and would be a refreshing change from Quebec where hockey fans talked about the Nordiques just about every minute, 365 days a year. After a bout with the flu, Mario won his first start with the club 10/15/89 (5-4 OT) at Edmonton on the night Wayne Gretzky set the NHL career scoring mark. It ranks as one of his biggest NHL thrills to have been on the ice when all the excitement took place. In 26 games, Gosselin served as a capable backup to Kelly Hrudey finishing the season with a 7-11-1 record and a 3.87 GAA. Four of his seven victories were recorded versus Smythe Division clubs, including three against the Calgary Flames. On 12/21/89 Gosselin defeated his old teammates the Nordiques 6-1. He made 30 saves and did not allow a goal until the final minute of the game. Later in the season, he topped the Nordiques again 7-1 on 2/17/90. The Kings finished fourth in the Smythe Division with a record of 34-39-7. Mario only saw action in relief against the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers in the '90 playoffs. He took the loss in game 2, and relieved Hrudey in game 5 of the Flames series. Then in game 3 of the Smythe finals versus the Oilers, Gosselin replaced Ron Scott who was starting in place of the injured Kelly Hrudey. The Goose was superb through 30 minutes in a 5-4 loss. Many people were baffled with Tom Webster's decision to start Ron Scott over Gosselin. Scott had never started a post-season game while Mario was a proven playoff performer.




Phoenix Roadrunners IHL 1990-91

Despite putting up solid numbers with the Kings in 89-90, Mario headed into the 1990-91 training camp with the possibility of not making the club. He would have to battle newly acquired Daniel Berthiaume and the highly touted rookie Robb Stauber for the backup position. Gosselin failed to make the team and would spend the year with the Phoenix Roadrunners of the IHL. It was his first non-NHL season since 1982-83. He played in 46 games (4th most in IHL), won 24 games lost 15, and finished the season with a 3.86 GAA. The Goose was great between the pipes for all 11 Roadrunners playoff games carrying them into the second round of the playoffs.



Springfield Indians AHL 1991-92

Prior to training camp in 1991, the Hartford Whalers signed Gosselin as a free agent to a one-year contract. He would spend the season with the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League. The Indians finished first in their division and second overall with a record of 43-29-8. Goose was in goal for 28 of those wins and was among the league leaders in games played (47), goals-against-average (3.27), and save percentage (.894). In the 1992 Calder Cup Playoffs, Mario posted a respectable 3.39 GAA in six games. The Indians were eliminated in the second round by the Adirondack Red Wings.



Hartford Whalers / Springfield Indians 1992-93

At the age of 29, Mario Gosselin was about to embark on his ninth season in pro hockey. It had been nearly three years since he was last an NHL goalie and his journey back to the big time was about to get a whole lot tougher. Mario suffered a career threatening back injury in training camp that sidelined him indefinitely. Doctors told him he may never play the game again, but the Goose refused to pack it in. In December, after completing intense rehabilitation he was back between the pipes for the Springfield Indians. On New Years Eve, Gosselin was called up to the Whalers and made a relief appearance against the Canadiens on January 10. It was his first NHL appearance since April 22, 1990 against the Edmonton Oilers. But his return was short lived and soon found himself back in Springfield when number one man Sean Burke returned to the lineup. Over the next two months, Gosselin was in top form with the Indians going 8-7-7 with a 3.35 GAA. On March 4, the Whalers once again summoned the Goose when backup goaltender Frank Pietrangelo suffered a rib injury. As fate would have it, Sean Burke suffered back spasms on 3/13/93 before a game with the Sabres and Mario suddenly found himself as the Whalers number one goaltender. In his first NHL start since April 1, 1990, he turned away 36 of 39 shots in a 3-3 OT tie versus the Sabres. and was named the number one star of the game. It was the first of fifteen consecutive starts for the Goose that spanned from March 13 to April 13. In his second start at Tampa Bay, he stopped 42 of 45 shots in 4-3 OT victory over the Lightning. It was his first NHL win since February 17, 1990 when he beat the Nordiques. Mario went on to record four more victories that year (Minnesota 2-1, NY Rangers 5-4, Ottawa twice 7-3 & 6-1). Whalers fans took quite a liking to Mario and cheered "Goooose" whenever he made a great save. On 3/22/93, he stood on his head at the Boston Garden facing 50 Boston Bruins shots in a heartbreaking 5-4 defeat. Gosselin ended up playing a total of 16 games with the Whalers in 92-93 finishing with a record of 5-9-1 and a GAA of 3.94.


Hartford Whalers 1993-94

The Whalers were very pleased with Mario's efforts in 92-93 and rewarded him with a new contract in the offseason. But sadly, Gosselin's nagging knee problems would catch up with him and force him to retire after playing in just seven games that year. In ten NHL seasons, he finished his career with a 91-107-14 record and a 3.74 GAA. In 32 post-season appearances Gosselin was 16-15 with a GAA of 3.27.


Where is he now?

At the time of this writing I am not 100% sure what he is up to. However, I am sure that Mario and his wife Josee have two sons, Frances and Yanic. They reside or were residing in Phoenix, AZ with Mario doing radio and television analysis for the Phoenix Roadrunners of the IHL. But the Roadrunners folded after the '96-97 season and I believe Gosselin moved back to Quebec, or at least for the summer months. He has been conducting goaltending schools for youngsters over the last few years in Quebec and abroad. He is currently (2002) working with EHE hockey schools in Laprarie, Quebec with several seminars during July and August (Ages 7-16).