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Terry Sawchuk
Terry sawchuk.jpg
Born December 28, 1929(1929-12-28)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Died May 31, 1970(1970-05-31) (aged 40)
New York City, New York
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston Bruins
Los Angeles Kings
New York Rangers
Playing career 1949–1970
Hall of Fame, 1971

Terry Sawchuk (born Terrance Gordon Sawchuk on December 28, 1929) was a Ukrainian-Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played 21 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers.

At the time of his premature death on May 31, 1970, Terry was the all-time leader among NHL goaltenders with 447 wins. Although that achievement has been surpassed by several goaltenders since, Sawchuk remains the all-time leader in wins by goaltenders who played in the Original Six era.

On January 1, 2017, in a ceremony prior to the Centennial Classic, he was part of the first group of players to be named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.

Playing CareerEdit

Detroit Red WingsEdit

The Red Wings signed Terry to a professional contract in 1947, and he quickly progressed through their developmental system, winning honors as the Rookie of the Year in both the U.S. and American Hockey Leagues.

Terry also filled in for seven games when the Detroit goalie Harry Lumley was injured in January of 1950. He showed such promise that the Red Wings traded Lumley to the Chicago Black Hawks, though he had just led the team to the 1950 Stanley Cup.

Nicknamed "Ukey" or "The Uke" by his teammates because of his Ukrainian ancestry, Terry led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups in five years, winning the Calder Trophy as the top rookie (the first to win such honors in all three professional hockey leagues) and three Vezina Trophies for the fewest goals allowed (he missed out the other two years by one goal).

He was selected as an All-Star five times in his first five years in the NHL, had fifty-six shutouts, and his goals-against average (GAA) remained under 2.00.

In the 1951–52 playoffs, the Red Wings swept both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens with Terry surrendering five goals in eight games (for a 0.625 GAA), with four shutouts

Terry was ordered by Detroit general manager Jack Adams to lose weight before the 1951–52 season & his personality seemed to change when he dropped more than forty pounds, becoming sullen and withdrawn.

He became increasingly surly with reporters and fans, preferred doing crossword puzzles to giving interviews and struggled for years to regain the weight.

Also contributing to Terry's moodiness and self-doubt was the pressure of playing day in and day out despite repeated injuries; there were no backup goaltenders. He frequently played through pain & during his career he had three operations on his right elbow, an appendectomy, countless cuts and bruises, a broken instep, a collapsed lung, ruptured discs in his back, and severed tendons in his hand.

As a standup goaltender, Terry adopted a crouching stance to see through the legs of skater due to screen shots and box-crowding became more prevalent to counter his agility.

Years of crouching in the net caused Terry to walk with a permanent stoop and resulted in lordosis (also known as swayback) which prevented him from sleeping for more than two hours at a time. He also received approximately 400 stitches to his face (including three in his right eyeball) before finally adopting a protective facemask in 1962.

In 1966, Life Magazine had a make-up artist apply stitches and scars to Terry's face to demonstrate all of the injuries to his face over the years. The make-up artist did not have enough room for everything.

Boston Bruins; return to Detroit; Toronto and Los AngelesEdit

The Red Wings traded Sawchuk to the Boston Bruins in June 1955 because they had a capable younger goaltender in the minor leagues (Glenn Hall) which devastated the self-critical goalie.

During his second season with Boston, Terry was diagnosed with mononucleosis, but he returned to the team after only two weeks.

Physically weak, playing poorly and on the verge of a nervous breakdown & exhaustion, he announced his retirement in early 1957 and was labeled a "quitter" by team executives & several newspapers. Detroit reacquired him by trading young forward Johnny Bucyk to Boston.

After seven seasons, when they had another promising young goalie (Roger Crozier) ready for promotion from the minor leagues, Detroit left him unprotected in the 1964 intra-league waiver draft, and he was quickly claimed by the Maple Leafs.

With Terry sharing goaltending duties with the 40-year-old Johnny Bower, the veteran duo won the 1964–65 Vezina Trophy and led Toronto to the 1967 Stanley Cup.

Left unprotected in the June 1967 expansion draft, Terry was the first player selected, taken by the Los Angeles Kings where he played one season before being traded back to Detroit.

New York RangersEdit

Terry spent his final season with the New York Rangers, where he played sparingly, starting only six games.

On February 1, 1970, in only his fourth start of the season, he recorded his 103rd and final shutout of his career by blanking the Pittsburgh Penguins 6–0. This was also his last NHL goaltender win. His last regular season start was on March 14, 1970 in a 4–7 loss to the Chicago Black Hawks.

Terry's last playoff start was in a 3–5 playoff quarterfinals loss to the Boston Bruins on April 9, 1970. He appeared in his last NHL game on April 14 in the same playoff series.

In game 5 after Phil Esposito had scored at 7:59 of the third period to put Boston in the lead, Rangers coach Emile Francis (in an effort to slow down the game) replaced goalie Ed Giacomin with Terry. He was in the net for less than a minute before Giacomin returned and the Rangers lost the game 2–3.

Boston went on to win the series 4 games to 2.

DeathEdit

Terry struggled with untreated depression, a condition that often affected his conduct. After the 1969–1970 season ended, he and his Rangers teammate Ron Stewart (both of whom had been drinking) fought over expenses for the house they rented together on Long Island, New York.

Terry suffered severe internal injuries during the scuffle from falling on top of Stewart's bent knee. At Long Beach Memorial Hospital, his gallbladder was removed and he had a second operation on his damaged and bleeding liver. The press described the incident as "horseplay" and he told the police that he accepted full responsibility for the events.

At New York Hospital in Manhattan, another operation was performed on Terry's bleeding liver. He never recovered & died shortly thereafter from a pulmonary embolism on May 31, 1970 at the age of 40.

The last reporter to speak to Terry (a little over a week before his death) was Shirley Fischler (the wife of Stan Fischler), who went to see him in the hospital as a visitor, not identifying herself as a reporter.

Terry told her the incident with Stewart "was just a fluke, a complete fluke accident." Fischler described him as "so pale and thin that the scars had almost disappeared from his face."

A Nassau County grand jury exonerated Stewart and ruled that Terry's death was accidental.

Terry was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Pontiac, Michigan.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

   
Season Team League GP Min GA W L T SO GAA
1945-46 Winnipeg Monarchs MJHL 10 600 58 0 5.80
1946-47 Galt Red Wings OHA-Jr. 30 1800 94 4 3.13
1947-48 Windsor Spitfires IHL 3 180 5 3 0 0 0 1.67
1947-48 Omaha Knights USHL 54 3248 174 30 18 5 4 3.21
1948-49 Indianapolis Capitals AHL 67 4020 205 38 17 2 2 3.06
1949-50 Indianapolis Capitals AHL 61 3660 188 31 20 10 3 3.08
1949–50 Detroit Red Wings NHL 7 420 16 4 3 0 1 2.29
1950–51 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 4200 139 44 13 13 11 1.99
1951–52 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 4200 133 44 14 12 12 1.90
1952–53 Detroit Red Wings NHL 63 3780 120 32 15 16 9 1.90
1953–54 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 4004 129 35 19 13 12 1.93
1954–55 Detroit Red Wings NHL 68 4080 132 40 17 11 12 1.96
1955–56 Boston Bruins NHL 68 4080 181 22 33 13 9 2.60
1956–57 Boston Bruins NHL 34 2040 81 18 10 6 2 2.38
1957–58 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 4200 207 29 29 12 3 2.94
1958–59 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 4020 209 23 36 8 5 3.09
1959–60 Detroit Red Wings NHL 58 3480 156 24 20 14 5 2.67
1960–61 Detroit Red Wings NHL 37 2150 113 12 16 8 2 3.10
1961–62 Detroit Red Wings NHL 43 2580 143 14 21 8 5 3.28
1962–63 Detroit Red Wings NHL 48 2775 119 22 16 7 3 2.55
1963–64 Detroit Red Wings NHL 53 3140 138 25 20 7 5 2.64
1964–65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 36 2160 92 17 13 6 1 2.56
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 27 1521 80 10 11 3 1 3.16
1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 28 1409 66 15 5 4 2 2.81
1967–68 Los Angeles Kings NHL 36 1936 99 11 14 6 2 3.07
1968–69 Detroit Red Wings NHL 13 641 28 3 4 3 0 2.62
1969–70 New York Rangers NHL 8 412 20 3 1 2 1 2.91
NHL totals 971 57,228 2401 447 330 172 103 2.52

PlayoffsEdit

   
Season Team League GP Min GA W L T SO GAA
1945-46 Winnipeg Monarchs MJHL 2 120 12 0 2 0 0 6.00
1946-47 Galt Red Wings OHA-Jr. 2 125 9 0 2 0 0 4.32
1947-48 Omaha Knights USHL 3 180 9 1 2 0 0 3.00
1948-49 Indianapolis Capitals AHL 2 120 9 0 2 0 0 4.50
1949-50 Indianapolis Capitals AHL 8 480 12 8 0 0 0 1.50
1950-51 Detroit Red Wings NHL 6 463 13 2 4 0 1 1.68
1951-52 Detroit Red Wings NHL 8 480 5 8 0 0 4 0.63
1952-53 Detroit Red Wings NHL 6 372 21 2 4 0 1 3.39
1953-54 Detroit Red Wings NHL 12 751 20 8 4 0 2 1.60
1954-55 Detroit Red Wings NHL 11 660 26 8 3 0 1 2.36
1957-58 Detroit Red Wings NHL 4 252 19 0 4 0 0 4.52
1959-60 Detroit Red Wings NHL 6 405 20 2 4 0 0 2.96
1960-61 Detroit Red Wings NHL 8 465 18 5 3 0 1 2.32
1962-63 Detroit Red Wings NHL 11 660 35 5 6 0 0 3.18
1963-64 Detroit Red Wings NHL 13 677 31 6 5 0 1 2.75
1964-65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 1 60 3 0 1 0 0 3.00
1965-66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 2 120 6 0 2 0 0 3.00
1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 10 565 25 6 4 0 0 2.65
1967-68 Los Angeles Kings NHL 5 280 18 2 3 0 1 3.86
1969-70 New York Rangers NHL 3 80 6 0 1 0 0 4.50
NHL totals 106 6290 266 54 48 0 12 2.54

LegacyEdit

During his career, Terry won 501 games (447 regular season and 54 playoff), while recording 115 shutouts, (103 in the regular season and 12 in the playoffs).

He set the standard for measuring goaltenders & was publicly hailed as the "best goalie ever" by a rival general manager in 1952, during only his second season.

He finished his hockey career with 447 wins, a record that stood for thirty years, and his career record of 103 shutouts remained unsurpassed among NHL goaltenders until Martin Brodeur bested that mark on December 21, 2009.

In 1971, Terry was posthumously elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contribution to hockey in the United States. The Red Wings retired his number 1 in 1994.

In 1997, the book "Shutout: The Legend of Terry Sawchuk" written by sports author Brian Kendall was published. Also, the book "Sawchuk: The Troubles andTtriumphs of the World's Greatest Goalie" was published in 1998 by David Dupuis with participation by the Sawchuk family.

In 2001, he was honored with his image on a Canadian postage stamp, even though he had become a U.S. citizen in 1959.

In 2008, a book of poetry written by Randall Maggs called "Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems" was released.

The Terry Sawchuk Arena in his hometown of Winnipeg is named in his honour.

AccoladesEdit

  • USHL Rookie of the Year (1948)
  • AHL Rookie of the Year (1949)
  • Calder Memorial Trophy winner (1951)
  • NHL All-Star Game (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1964, and 1968)
  • NHL First All-Star Team (1951, 1952, and 1953)
  • NHL Second All-Star Team (1954, 1955, 1959, and 1963)
  • Vezina Trophy winner (1952, 1953, 1955, and 1965)
  • Stanley Cup championships (1952, 1954, 1955, and 1967)
  • Lester Patrick Trophy winner (1971)
  • First ever goaltender to record 100 career regular-season shutouts (1967)
  • Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1971
  • Inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1982
  • In 1998, he was ranked number 9 on The Hockey News' list of the "100 Greatest Hockey *Players", the highest-ranking goaltender
  • In 2010, he was ranked number 1 on The Hockey News' list of the "100 Greatest Hockey Players" by position (goaltenders ranking)
  • Detroit Red Wings #1 retired on March 6, 1994
  • Selected to Manitoba's All-Century First All-Star Team
  • Selected as Manitoba's Player of the Century
  • “Honoured Member” of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Inducted into the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.
  • In January 2017, he was part of the first group of players to be named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.

Personal LifeEdit

Terry married Patricia Ann Bowman Morey on August 6, 1953 after a brief courtship.

They had seven children and the family suffered for many years from Terry's increasing alcoholism, philandering (a Toronto girlfriend became pregnant by him in 1967), verbal & physical abuse.

Morey threatened to divorce him numerous times and finally did so in 1969.

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