Blackhawks HOF goalie Tony Esposito dies at 78

6: 39 PM ET

  • Associated Press

CHICAGO — Tony Esposito made a appropriate away brand on the Chicago Blackhawks and a lasting affect on the NHL.

Esposito, the pioneering Hall of Famer who spent nearly his total 16-year profession with the Blackhawks, died following a bout with pancreatic cancer, the group launched Tuesday. He used to be 78.

Esposito debuted with Montreal during the 1968-69 season and seemed in 13 games. He used to be then left unprotected with the Canadiens deep in goalies and taken by the Blackhawks in an intraleague draft for $25,000, an funding that paid rapid dividends for a bunch that used to be coming off a final-position compose in its division.

Esposito helped lead the Blackhawks to first position, showcasing his butterfly style to submit a 2.17 dreams-in opposition to reasonable and 15 shutouts, tranquil a most modern chronicle for an NHL goalie. He received the Calder Trophy because the NHL’s rookie of the year as effectively because the Vezina Trophy given to the tip goaltender. He also received the Vezina in 1972 and 1974.

“Tony used to be one amongst the largest and popular figures in the ancient previous of the franchise as we finish to its 100th anniversary,” Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz acknowledged. “Four generations of our household — my grandfather Arthur, my father, Invoice, my son Danny and I — beget been blessed by his work ethic as a Hall of Fame goalie, but extra importantly, by his mere presence and spirit.”

The Esposito household called him a “Hall of Fame husband, father, and grandfather.”

“Chicago felt love dwelling from the time Tony first arrived in 1969, thanks to the Wirtz household and folk 18,000 Blackhawks fans who treated him love household every night at the Stadium, steal or lose or tie,” the household acknowledged in an announcement.

Esposito used to be from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, correct across the St. Mary’s River from Michigan’s Higher Peninsula, and he helped Michigan Tech to an NCAA championship in 1965. His older brother, Phil, used to be a huge title in his beget lawful, a Hall of Fame center who performed 18 seasons in the NHL.

The youthful Esposito’s first NHL initiate used to be Dec. 5, 1968, in opposition to Boston — and his brother. Phil Esposito scored twice on his youthful brother, but Tony made 33 saves and the recreation ended 2-2.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called him “a most popular member of the hockey household.”

“It used to be Esposito’s style, charisma and heart that endeared him most to hockey fans no longer finest in Chicago but across the NHL,” Bettman acknowledged. “The hockey world will mosey away out him a good deal.”

Esposito helped lead Chicago to the playoffs in 14 seasons. The Blackhawks reached the Stanley Cup Closing in 1971 and 1973, losing at any time when to his venerable group, Montreal.

He is Chicago’s profession chief with 418 wins and 74 shutouts. His overall chronicle of 423-306-151 ranks 10th in league ancient previous. He used to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988, joining his brother. And in 2017, he used to be chosen by the league as one amongst the “100 Greatest Gamers in NHL History.”

The Blackhawks retired Esposito’s No. 35 on Nov. 20, 1988, and paid tribute to him again on March 19, 2008. He used to be named a bunch ambassador in a pregame ceremony attended by franchise icons and venerable teammates Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Denis Savard as effectively as his brother.

“It be a gargantuan feeling to be on this ice again. In actuality mosey away out it, I’m going to order you that,” Esposito acknowledged because the group chanted “Tony! Tony!” “It be a pleasure and an honor to be wait on with the Hawks.”

Esposito also served as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins and as chief scout in Tampa Bay, the build he used to be hired by his brother. Phil is 79 and does radio work for the Lightning, a bunch he helped stumbled on.

“Tony used to be a founding, cornerstone member of the Lightning household who used to be a fixture at games and, alongside with his brother Phil, performed in integral role in laying the groundwork for a profitable franchise in the Sunshine Command when many idea it used to be very no longer going,” the Lightning acknowledged in an announcement. “His role can not be understated. Tony used to be a lawful story on the ice and off of it.”

Feeble Blackhawks defenseman Doug Wilson called the records about his just appropriate friend and mentor “heartbreaking.”

“He exuded management and class, while being one amongst the most dominant gamers ever viewed at his position,” Wilson, the San Jose Sharks‘ general manager, acknowledged.

Esposito is survived by his wife, Marilyn, sons Tag and Jason, Tag’s wife, Kim, and their kids, Lauren and Kamryn.

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