Joe Nieuwendyk is the youngest of four children. His parents immigrated from Holland in 1959 and moved to Whitby in 1966, and in the fall of that year, Joe was born at the Oshawa General Hospital. He attended St. John’s the Evangelist school and Henry Street High School.
Growing up in Whitby, he played for both the Whitby Minor Hockey Association and the Whitby Minor Lacrosse Association. In the 1980’s, Joe played for the Whitby Warriors Junior A lacrosse team and won 2 Minto Cups and was named the MVP both times. He was drafted to play for the Pickering Panthers Hockey team and played there one year before receiving a hockey scholarship from Cornell University in Ithaca New York. While attending Cornell University, he was twice named All-American for his play with the university hockey team and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 1987 as the most outstanding US collegiate hockey player. Named as an All American in 1986 and 1987. Joe is in the Sports Hall of Fame at Cornell.
Drafted in the second round by the Calgary Flames in the 1985 entry draft (27th overall) his first full season with the team was in 1987-88 when he scored 51 goals and 92 points becoming the second player to score 50 goals in their rookie season. He was awarded the Calder Trophy as that year’s NHL’s top rookie. In his second season he again scored 51 goals and the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup.
In 1991 he was named captain of the Flames. Joe was traded to the Dallas Stars in December of 1995. While with the Stars he scored 6 game-winning goals in the playoffs to lead the Stars to victory over Buffalo in the Stanley Cup finals. Joe won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership qualities on and off the ice in 1995 and the Conn Smyth Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs in 1999.
Joe was traded to the New Jersey Devils during the 2001-02 season where he reached several milestones: 500 goals, 500 assists and 1000 points and his third Stanley Cup.
He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2003-04 season then moved on to the Florida Panthers where he tallied 56 points in 65 games. Internationally Joe represented Canada at the 1986 World Junior Championships, the 1990 World Championships, and is a two-time member of Canada’s Winter Olympic team (1998-2002).
Chronic back problems forced Joe to retire from playing hockey but not before he recorded 564 goals, 562 assists and a total of 1126 points with two 50 goal seasons, two 40 goal seasons, and four 30 goal seasons in his 20 year NHL career. The four-time NHL All-Star is currently the Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Florida Panthers of the NHL.
Joe lives in Parkland Florida with his wife Tina and their three children: Kaycee, Tyra, and Jackson.