Today the hockey world lost a legend.
Tony Esposito, the legendary Blackhawk goaltender passed away earlier today at the age of 78. Esposito set the standard for goaltenders everywhere. He played from 1968-1984. 15 of his 16 seasons in the NHL were spent with the Chicago Blackhawks. In his first season with Chicago (which counted as his rookie season), Tony played in 63 game with a record of 38-17-8. He had a GAA of 2.17 and a save percentage of .932%. That season he won the Calder trophy AND the Vezina.
He went on to play with the Hawks until 1984. He finished with 886 NHL games played, a record of 423-306-152, a career save percentage of .906%, and a GAA of 2.93. He won 3 Vezina trophies, the Calder, and was a 5-time All Star. Tony was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998 and his number 35 is retired in Chicago.
Here is a great video from the NHL talking about Esposito’s career.
His skill and love for the game founded generations of hockey fans and those fans have passed on their love for the game to their kids. Tony Esposito was an amazing player, hockey ambassador, and human being and he will be dearly missed.
I never actually “met” Mr. Esposito but a few years back at the Hawks annual training camp scrimmage, he walked past my family and I while he was heading to a signing. I remember he was dressed in this rad suit but when me and my brother looked up and smiled at him (did an internal “holy shit that’s Tony Esposito”), he smiled, gave a simple wave and kept goin’. He didn’t ignore us or just walked past, he gave a simple little wave and I still remember it 3 years later. From that little moment and all the stories people are sharing, you can tell he was just a great guy. So sad to lose him so soon but he will forever be a pillar of NHL hockey.
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Featured Image: CNN