I don’t know Kirk Furey, but I can speculate that he heard a great amount from naysayers during the early days of his hockey career. Kirk should be an inspiration to those who don’t want to believe “C’mon, give it up!”, “Your time has passed, stop chasing unrealistic dreams.” or “Time to get a real job and live in reality.” Not too long ago, I heard a coach of a minor bantam team say: “At this point in their lives, we’re teaching them to be good beer league players.” That coach should take a look at Kirk’s career.
Furey played in the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons from 1993-94 to 1995-96, all with the Owen Sound Platers. Over the three seasons, he played a total of 48 games, adding 5 points. He was undrafted by an NHL club. He sat out the two seasons following his exit from the OHL.
In 1998-99, Furey’s hockey career was resurrected in the Canadian university system with Acadia. He played three years on the blueline with the team and upon graduation walked into a job in the East Coast Hockey League.
Kirk played 2001-02 wiht the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies and helped the team to the Northern Conference finals before bowing out.
The hockey world was taking notice and the following season, Furey played 61 games with the Boardwalk Bullies but also played 31 with the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms. Do the math. Kirk played 92 regular season games in 2002-03! He played 17 more in the ECHL playoffs and Atlantic City captured the Kelly Cup as league playoff champions.
In 2003-04, he played just a humanly 80 games but the split was 11 for Atlantic City and 69 with the Phantoms. He contributed 31 points from the blueline in those 69 games and ten in eleven with AC.
Marching to his own beat, he left North America for the European elite leagues at the start of the 2004-05 season. Despite having to compete with striking NHLers for jobs, he settled right in with the Kassel Huskies of Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga. He played two more seasons in the DEL with the Iserlohn Roosters then moved to his current home for the 2007-08 season.
Furey is into his fourth season with Klagenfurter AC (EC-KAC) of Austria’s Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. He was a major contributor to the team becoming Austrian Champion in his second season. 14 games into the current season, Kirk is running at a point per game pace. Also, Furey’s going nowhere soon – in a league where contracts typically go year to year, Kirk’s under contract until the end of the 2011-12 season.