How Lethbridge’s Ty Rimmer became a goalie, thanks to Grant Fuhr

The Lethbridge Hurricanes' Ty Rimmer didn't always guard the blue paint in his minor hockey days in Edmonton.

He originally was a forward, but decided to become a goaltender when his father's close friend, Hockey Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr, started to help coach his peewee team.

"Fuhr was a huge reason why I became a goaltender," says Rimmer, who so far in his overage season has started all but one of the Hurricanes' 27 games. "Having someone that talented help coach my peewee team, it was a great opportunity to learn from him. He helped me a lot. He would always give me pointers and show me stuff that he has learned over the years."

As a proud Edmontonian, Rimmer brushed up on Fuhr's days playing with Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and his illustrious teammates on those star-studded 1980s Oilers teams. As a boy, he also watched Fuhr come into Rexall Place as a visiting player late in his career.

"It was great being able to watch someone play in the NHL that you know," says Rimmer. "It was really cool being able to watch Grant play for Edmonton. It definitely added to me wanting to become a goalie."

Fuhr and Rimmer's father, Barry Rimmer, go way back. They became very close friends while growing up together in Edmonton. Their friendship has remained very strong over the years, contributing to Ty having an uncle-like relationship with the five-time Stanley Cup winner.

"Grant and I have been good friends since our school days," says Barry. "We played sports together like hockey and ball and just developed a strong friendship. He is like an uncle to Ty. We actually call him Uncle Grant sometimes."

'Meant to be a goalie'

Barry knew his son had what it takes to have a future in stopping pucks at a very young age. Around the same time Fuhr became an assistant coach of Rimmer's peewee team, Barry, who was the head coach, felt his son found his forte between the pipes.

"I knew around when he was in peewee that he could go somewhere in net," says Barry. "He was a natural at it. He had the work ethic and athleticism that made him very good at it. He was meant to be a goalie."

After spending time with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince George Cougars, Ty Rimmer broke out in the WHL last year with the Tri-City Americans, posting a 2.43 average and a .922 save percentage throughout 46 games.

Despite his success, Rimmer's time in Tri-City was short lived. Americans GM Bob Tory dealt Rimmer to the Hurricanes at the past bantam draft, paving the way for 17-year-old Eric Comrie to become their No. 1 backstop. The trade didn't catch Rimmer by surprise. He saw it coming practically before his first game in net for Tri-City.

"I knew I'd be in Tri-City for only one year because they were grooming Comrie and they wouldn't keep me around for my 20-year-old season," says Rimmer. "I thought there was a good chance I'd be traded at the draft. My agent told me half-a-dozen teams were interested in me. I was excited when Lethbridge traded for me."

Barry, who is a scout for the Hurricanes, knew it was a possibility that his son could be dealt to his club.

"One time in the kitchen, I remember saying to my wife that Ty would be a good fit in Lethbridge," says Barry. "I didn't know it would happen, but I knew it was a possibility. We needed help in net and we all knew Ty would be traded. And sure enough, we got a call from [Tri-City GM] Bob Tory the morning of the draft saying Ty was dealt to the Hurricanes."

The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder has been the backbone of the 13-12-1-1 Hurricanes this year, maintaining a 2.75 average and .919 save percentage. His outstanding play has been the difference in Lethbridge coming out of close one-goal games with the victory.

"I'm happy with how my season has been going," says Rimmer, who has played a WHL-high 1,572 minutes. "We started a bit slow, but we have been playing pretty good lately."

Rimmer's endurance has undoubtedly been tested this year. Lethbridge has suited him up in all but one of their games. If he can keep up his impeccable play, it seems the Hurricanes will break their three-year post-season drought.

This is Rimmer's last year of major junior puck. The unsigned goalie hopes an NHL squad will take a chance on him.

"I definitely want to go on to play in the pros. It would be a dream come true. But for right now, I'm just focusing on this season in Lethbridge."

Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen.