Tom Barrasso

Last updated
Tom Barrasso
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2023
Tom Barrasso.jpg
Barrasso (right) in 2008
Born (1965-03-31) March 31, 1965 (age 58)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Right
Played for Buffalo Sabres
Pittsburgh Penguins
Ottawa Senators
Carolina Hurricanes
Toronto Maple Leafs
St. Louis Blues
National teamFlag of the United States.svg  United States
NHL Draft 5th overall, 1983
Buffalo Sabres
Playing career 19832002

Thomas Patrick Barrasso (born March 31, 1965) is an American professional ice hockey coach and former professional ice hockey goaltender. He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 18 seasons. He began his time in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, who selected him fifth overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft out of high school. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1988, where he would best be remembered and spend the majority of his career. He spent parts of 12 seasons with the Penguins, and was a Stanley Cup champion in 1991 and 1992. After being traded to the Ottawa Senators in March 2000 and sitting out the 2000–01 season, his final two seasons were split playing for the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and St. Louis Blues. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009 and has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2023. [1]


After retiring as a player, Barrasso served on the coaching staff of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. In 2012, Barrasso was hired by Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) as a member of its coaching staff. In 2016 he joined Asiago Hockey of the Alps Hockey League as their head coach, winning the 2017–18 league championship. In October 2018, Barrasso was hired as head coach of the EIHL's Sheffield Steelers.

Playing career

Early career

Barrasso grew up in the town of Stow, Massachusetts, playing ice hockey on an outdoor rink. He started playing goaltender at the age of five years and by the time he was a teenager, was playing in net for Acton-Boxborough with fellow NHL players Bob Sweeney and Jeff Norton, as well as fellow goalie Kelly Dyer, to whom he refused to speak. Barrasso was considered one of the most promising American goaltending prospects of all time. He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres with the fifth overall pick in 1983. Skipping a college career, he went straight from high school to the NHL. At the time of his debut with the Sabres on October 5, 1983, less than six months after graduating from high school, Barrasso was the youngest goaltender to play and win a game in the NHL since Harry Lumley nearly forty years prior. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy and Vezina Trophy in his first season, becoming the third player to win both awards in the same year.

Pittsburgh Penguins

On November 12, 1988, the Sabres traded Barrasso, with a third round draft pick in the 1990 draft (Joe Dziedzic) to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Doug Bodger and Darrin Shannon.

Barrasso won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1991 and 1992. It was his play in these Cup runs that established him as a "money goalie". In the following years, Barrasso almost entirely missed two seasons, the 1994–95 NHL season and the 1996–97 NHL season with injuries but came back with good performances in the next years. In 1997, he became the first American goaltender to record 300 NHL wins. A fiercely proud competitor, in his later seasons in Pittsburgh he developed a strained relationship with the local media, who he felt were disrespectful of him and his family. This probably factors into why his #35 was not retired by the Penguins (current starting goaltender Tristan Jarry currently wears #35), as only Mario Lemieux's, Michel Brière's, and Jaromír Jágr's jerseys are retired.

Last years

In March 2000, Barrasso was traded to the Ottawa Senators for Ron Tugnutt and Janne Laukkanen in a deal that was seen as a risk for both teams. [2] He was uneven in Ottawa, going 3–4 in seven starts and losing the first two games of Ottawa's first round series with rivals Toronto before bouncing back and winning the next two games to even the series. After evening the series, Barrasso caused a furor during the CBC's broadcast when he said during an on-air interview on April 20 that he "really couldn't give a shit what you people have to say". [3] Barrasso would apologize the next day for using vulgar language, although he stood by his sentiments in the interview, stating the year had been very stressful for him. [3] The Senators would go on to lose the next two games and the series to the Maple Leafs in six games.

After his playoff run with Ottawa, Barrasso's contract expired and he did not to re-sign with the Senators. He then spent the entire 2000–01 season out of hockey to be with his family, following the cancer diagnosis of his daughter and death of his father from cancer. [4] Following a favourable prognosis of his daughter's condition and regaining mental clarity following what Barasso described as a difficult year in his personal life, Barasso returned to hockey signing a one-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 17, 2001, for the 2001–02 season. [4] [5] Barasso also enjoyed some international success this season, winning a Silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics playing for Team USA. Barasso expressed interest in playing with the Hurricanes following a June 2001 dinner with former Pittsburgh teammate Ron Francis, who had since joined Carolina. [4]

Although Barasso had strong play in Carolina splitting the net with Artūrs Irbe, [4] on March 14, 2002, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Toronto's fourth round pick in the 2003 NHL draft. [6] He made his Toronto debut on March 21, in a 4–3 loss to the Washington Capitals. [7] Ultimately, Barrasso would only appear in four games with Toronto, and not make a single post-season appearance, before Toronto was eliminated in the third round of the playoffs to the Hurricanes. Barrasso was not signed to a new contract following the Maple Leafs' elimination, becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Unsigned to a new deal in the NHL offseason, Barrasso began the season a free agent before later signing a contract with the St. Louis Blues on November 4, 2002. [8] Barrasso would only appear in 6 contests with the Blues between November 12 and 29, recording 1 win, before mutually agreeing with the team to release him from his contract on December 28. [9] Unsigned for the rest of the season, Barrasso announced his retirement on June 19, 2003. [10] He signed a pro forma contract with Pittsburgh on the day he declared retirement so he could leave hockey as a Penguin. [11]

In 2023, Barrasso was named as an inductee to that year's Hockey Hall of Fame class, to be formally inducted in November, after first being eligible for inclusion to the Hall in 2006. [1] In the years following Barrasso's retirement, he had frequently been cited as a worthy candidate given his play and statistical accomplishments; however, Barrasso's confrontational and rude personality (particularity with members of the media) had been noted as explanations for why Barrasso was not named to the Hall of Fame for 17 years. [12] [13] [14] Barrasso's public perception of having a difficult personality had existed since his playing days. When traded from Pittsburgh to Ottawa, Senators management received backlash from fans for acquiring Barrasso, with criticism directed to his personality and conflicts with teammates prior to the trade. [13]

International play

Tom Barrasso
Medal record
Representing Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Men's ice hockey
Winter Olympics
Silver medal icon (S initial).svg 2002 Salt Lake City Ice hockey

Barrasso won an Olympic silver medal as part of the U.S. national men's ice hockey team at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He played in one game, an 8–1 victory over Belarus on February 18.

Barrasso had originally intended to play for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team in Sarajevo, but chose to begin his professional career instead and left the team in September 1983 to sign with the Sabres. He made his debut for Team USA at the 1984 Canada Cup, at the age of 19. He also played in the 1983 World Junior Championships, the 1986 World Ice Hockey Championships and the 1987 Canada Cup.

Coaching career

Barrasso was goaltending coach (2007–09) and later assistant coach (2009–11) of the Carolina Hurricanes. In the 2012–13 season he moved to KHL's Metallurg Magnitogorsk as assistant coach. [15] During the Summer of 2015 Slovan Bratislava hired Barrasso as goaltending coach, but on October 31 he left the team and moved to Italy's Valpellice as head coach. [16] The team won the Coppa Italia , but refused to join the newly founded Alps Hockey League. Barrasso, however, did not leave Italy: he moved to Asiago as head coach. [17] Barrasso was named as head coach of the Sheffield Steelers in the EIHL in October 2018. [18]

On 26 June 2021, Barrasso was named as head coach of HC Varese in the IHL [19]

Personal life

Barrasso and his wife Megan have three daughters, Ashley, Kelsey and Mallory. Barrasso founded the Ashley Barrasso Cancer Research Fund during the early 1990s after his oldest daughter survived a bout with neuroblastoma cancer. [20] Ashley was originally diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2, beating it through a bone marrow transplant at 4 before the cancer returned in June 2000. [4] At the time of its reappearance, the adolescent survival rate for her cancer was 20%. [4] In April 2000, doctors determined that Ashley would make a recovery. [4] Barrasso's father, Tom Barrasso Sr., was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor in April 1999 and died in January 2000. This combination of events caused Barrasso to lose interest in ice hockey and choose to not play in the 2000–01 season. [4] Barrasso has since appeared in charity events to raise money for cancer research. [4]


Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
1981–82 Acton-Boxborough Colonials High-MA 2310353271.86
1982–83Acton-Boxborough ColonialsHigh-MA232201103517100.99
1983–84 Buffalo Sabres NHL 4226123247511722.84.893302139803.45.864
1984–85 Buffalo SabresNHL54251810324814452.66.8875233002204.40.854
1984–85 Rochester Americans AHL 5311267611.35.936
1985–86 Buffalo SabresNHL6029245356121423.61.880
1986–87 Buffalo SabresNHL4617232250115223.65.874
1987–88 Buffalo SabresNHL5425188313317323.31.8964132241604.29.867
1988–89 Buffalo SabresNHL102705454504.95.842
1988–89 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL4418157240616204.04.88811746414003.80.897
1989–90 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL247123129410104.68.865
1990–91 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL4827163275416513.59.8962012711755112.60.919
1991–92 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL5725229332919613.53.8852116512335812.82.907
1992–93 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL6743145370218643.01.90112757223522.91.905
1993–94 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL4422155248213923.36.8936243561702.87.895
1994–95 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL2011125803.84.89320180806.00.805
1995–96 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL4929162279916023.43.90210455582612.80.923
1996–97 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL50502702605.78.860
1997–98 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL63311413354212272.07.9226243761702.71.901
1998–99 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL431916323069842.55.90113677873512.67.900
1999–2000 Pittsburgh PenguinsNHL185728704613.17.881
1999–2000 Ottawa Senators NHL73404182203.16.8796243721602.58.905
2001–02 Carolina Hurricanes NHL341312519088322.61.906
2001–02 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL42202191002.50.909
2002–03 St. Louis Blues NHL61402931613.28.879
NHL totals7773692778644,1802,385383.24.89211961546,95334963.01.902


1983 United States WJC 31401205.14
1984 United States CC 52212521303.10
1986 United States WC 52601804.15
1987 United StatesCC101060505.00
2002 United States OG 110060101.00
Junior totals31401205.14
Senior totals126323703.51

Awards and achievements


Career achievements

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  2. "Pens deal Barrasso for Tugnutt, Laukkanen". ESPN. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  3. 1 2 "Barrasso swears he's sorry". CBC Sports. CBC. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Sandra McKee (December 4, 2001). "A goaltender's duty extends beyond net" . The Baltimore Sun . Retrieved August 3, 2023.
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  10. "Goaltender Tom Barrasso retired after playing 19 NHL seasons". Tribune news services. Chicago Tribune. June 19, 2003. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  11. "BARRASSO SIGNS WITH PENGUINS, THEN RETIRES". Pittsburgh Penguins. June 18, 2003. Archived from the original on January 10, 2004. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  12. Mike Brophy (June 18, 2008). "Despite Being a Jerk, Tom Tarrasso Belongs in Hockey Hall of Fame". The Hockey News . Retrieved August 3, 2023.
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  14. Matt Larkin (June 21, 2023). "I wasn't sitting by the phone.' Hall of Fame inductees Barrasso, Vernon, Turgeon make 2023 the Class of the Forgotten". Daily Faceoff. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  15. "Tom Barrasso Team Staff History" . Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  16. "Valpellice: Thomas Patrick Barrasso è il nuovo head coach" (in Italian). 2015-11-01. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  17. "Asiago e Barrasso, matrimonio stellare" (in Italian). 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  18. "Sheffield Steelers confirm Tom Barrasso as new head coach". 2018-10-09. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  19. "L'ex portiere NHL Barrasso coach dei Mastini" (in Italian). 2021-09-04. Retrieved 2021-09-04.
  20. "Ashley Barrasso Cancer Research Fund | the Pittsburgh Foundation".
  21. Puck Prospectus - In the Crease Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
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  23. Eric Stephens, The Athletic Staff (February 24, 2023). "Kings goalie Jonathan Quick moves into third in wins for American-born goalies". The Athletic . Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  24. "NHL & WHA Career Playoff Leaders and Records for Wins".
  25. "NHL & WHA Career Leaders and Records for Saves".
  26. "NHL & WHA Career Leaders and Records for Wins".
Awards and achievements
Preceded by Buffalo Sabres first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Vezina Trophy
Succeeded by