Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Zac Bierk Autograph Card

Maybe his name rings a bell to you, as he's the son of artist David Bierk, and brother to artists Jeff, Alex, Nick and Charles Bierk, as well as actress Dylan Bierk. Oh, and hair band Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, who has sung the national anthem at many of his games. Big family.

Hockey-wise, Zac Bierk had an average Juniors career with the OHL's Peterborough Petes, never registering a GAA below 3.00, with four shutouts in 142 games. He never played for Team Canada, but was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning (212th overall in 1995) as an over-aged player who went 12-15-5 with a 3.94 GAA. He did make it the the Memorial Cup Finals in his fifth Juniors season, though it was as the host city, so they were there as a courtesy.

His numbers weren't that much better in the IHL, but there was that one season, 2002-03 where he had amazing numbers in the NHL, going 4-9-1 (ok, those aren't impressive) with a 2.17 GAA, a .932 save percentage and a shutout with the Phoenix Coyotes, numbers rivaling Sean Burke's (12-6-2, 2.12, .930 and 2 shutouts in 22 games) and far better than Brian Boucher's (15-20-8, 3.02, .894 and zero shutouts in 45 games) with the same team, whose leading scorer was... Mike Johnson. Mind you, that was the Dead Puck Era.

He was diagnosed with Meniere's disease - an inner ear disorder which can cause symptoms similar to vertigo, including dizziness - late in 1998, which may have hindered his development as a goalie. And in life.

But it didn't stop him from entering the NHL record book, though, on January 8th, 2003, as both he and the Philadelphia Flyers' Michael Leighton each earned their first career shutouts in the same game, a 0-0 tie - and an NHL first.

Which is why I'm fond of this card, from Signature Rookies' 1995-96 Draft Day set (card #3, numbered 3740/4500):
It shows him wearing the Petes' classic white (home) uniform with the logo airbrushed out, of course, for copyright reasons. It should look like this:

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