Val Fonteyne earned the titles of “Mr. Clean” and the “most gentlemanly player” in NHL history. On November 30, 1968, he played his 185th straight game without any penalties. After his minor two-minute penalty on December 1, Fonteyne went another 157 consecutive games without a penalty. His only other penalty during his NHL career was on February 4, 1970. These streaks made up the “longest stretches of fair play in NHL history.”

During his 823 regular-season NHL games, Fonteyne only had 13 penalties totaling 26 minutes. He was never assessed a major penalty in all 14 seasons with the NHL and 2 seasons with the WHA. Playing with the Detroit Red Wings from 1959 to 1963, Fonteyne served five of those penalties. He was then claimed by the New York Rangers in the Intra-League Draft and had three penalties in a season and a half. Detroit reclaimed him on waivers on February 8, 1965, and Fonteyne earned two penalties in the same month. However, he then became the only NHL player to have three consecutive seasons without a single penalty. During that time, in 1967, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected Fonteyne during the Expansion Draft. Fonteyne only had two minor penalties during his time with the Penguins, and then he had another two penalty-free season to end his NHL career. He went on to play two seasons in the WHA after being drafted by Alberta, and he only had one minor penalty each season.

Since Fonteyne was such a gentlemanly player, it’s surprising that he never received the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. This annual award is meant for “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” While Fonteyne had the first qualification in spades, he lacked the latter. His play focused on power play and penalty kill strategy, so in his entire career, he only scored 75 goals and 154 assists for 229 points. Still, in recognition of his efforts on behalf of his teams and his clean play, Fonteyne was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum in 2011.

In her personal history, Kyle Hurst hated her toe picks and wanted to skate on a hockey team like her brother. With age comes wisdom, and realizing how poorly she skates, she now much prefers watching the professionals. Writing about history for her day job, Kyle enjoys combining her two loves by writing hockey history. She still hates toe picks.


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