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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

TERRY SAWCHUK

Inducted in 1975

Member Details

Date of Birth: December 28, 1929
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of Passing: May 31, 1970
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1948

Rookie of the year--USHL

1949

Rookie of the year--AHL

1950

Rookie of the year - NHL

1951-55, 67

Won the Stanley Cup 

1970

Retired as all-time leader in games played, wins, minutes played, and shutouts

1971

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

Honoured Member TERRY SAWCHUK
Inspire

Story

Any goalie who wins three consecutive rookie of the year awards in three different leagues must be doing something right, especially if the last of those is in the NHL during its Original Six glory. Terry Sawchuk was named best rookie in the USHL in 1948, the AHL in 1949, and finally, with the Detroit Red Wings, the NHL in 1950. In that rookie season in the NHL, Sawchuk played every minute of the team's 70 games, won a league best 44 games, recorded eleven shutouts, and allowed just 1.99 goals against per game. He was destined for greatness. The next year, he had the same number of league-best wins, recorded 12 shutouts, and lowered his GAA to 1.90. In the playoffs, he was unbeatable, guiding Detroit to a perfect 8-0 record en route to a Stanley Cup. He had a shutout in four of those games and allowed just five goals the entire playoffs. Sawchuk was only slightly less brilliant the next year, and in both of the next two seasons after that he brought the Cup to Detroit again. Yet, despite his heroics, he was traded to Boston for no apparent reason, and he suffered depression as a result. He retired briefly, came back, and was eventually traded back to the Wings two years later, in 1957. He stayed there seven more seasons, then continued on to Toronto for three seasons, culminating in the great Cup of 1967, and finished his career in 1970 after three brief stops along the way. By the time he retired, Sawchuk was the all-time leader in games played (972), minutes played (57,254), shutouts (103), and wins (446). He was, by anyone's standards, the greatest goalie of all time. Amazingly, though, he accomplished all this despite himself. He suffered depression more than once, and he was beset by many horrific injuries throughout his career. He was hit in the face by a Bobby Hull slapshot, had his tendons in the back of his hand severed after Bob Pulford skated over it, suffered pinched nerves, a broken arm that never fully healed, and countless other cuts and bone problems that even the strongest man would have trouble dealing with. Yet, through it all, he was tough as nails inside, and in the crease he was almost unbeatable for 21 years. The summer that he retired, he got into a fight with friend Ron Stewart and ended up falling awkwardly and being rushed to the hospital. He suffered intestinal complications and during surgery he died, at age 40, never having had a chance to relax and enjoy looking back on the greatest goaltending career of them all—his own.


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