Irbe went on to play 3 seasons in Europe before hanging up those glorious scuffed pads. He signed on to serve as Dinamo Riga’s goaltending coach but left after a year to take the same role with the Washington Capitals. He moved on to serve as the goaltending coach for the Buffalo Sabres.
It was with the Sabres that Irbe came closest to returning to NHL ice. During the first period of a game in November of 2014, Buffalo lost goaltender Michal Neuvirth to injury. Head coach Ted Nolan turned to Irbe, who suited up and served as the backup for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a chance to see any action.
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To this day, Arturs Irbe is a beloved icon in Hurricanes’ history. He earned that status by his on-ice play and he earned it with his personality. This is, after all, a man who placed an ad looking for people who owned the Jofa helmet/mask combo that he famously wore throughout his career. The same guy who carried a repair kit to mend his cherished pads.
They say that goalies are a different breed. Arturs Irbe is a species all to himself.
Arturs Irbe Carolina Hurricanes Rankings (1997-Current):
- Wins: 130 – 2nd all-time
- Shots against: 7884 – 2nd all-time
- Saves: 7145 – 2nd all-time
- Save percentage: .906 – 4th all-time
- Goals against average: 2.49 – 2nd all-time
- Shutouts: 20 – 2nd all-time
- Minutes: 17,816 – 2nd all-time
What are some of your favorite Arturs Irbe memories? Who would you like to see featured next?