Gump Worsley

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Gump Worsley
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1980
1962 Topps Gump Worsley.png
Born(1929-05-14)May 14, 1929
Montreal, QC, CAN
DiedJanuary 26, 2007(2007-01-26) (aged 77)
Beloeil, QC, CAN
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)
PositionGoaltender
CaughtLeft
Played forNew York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens
Minnesota North Stars
Playing career1952–1974
 
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Gump Worsley
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1980
1962 Topps Gump Worsley.png
Born(1929-05-14)May 14, 1929
Montreal, QC, CAN
DiedJanuary 26, 2007(2007-01-26) (aged 77)
Beloeil, QC, CAN
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)
PositionGoaltender
CaughtLeft
Played forNew York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens
Minnesota North Stars
Playing career1952–1974

Lorne John "Gump" Worsley (May 14, 1929 – January 26, 2007) was a professional ice hockey goaltender. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, 'Gump' was given his nickname because friends thought he looked like comic-strip character Andy Gump.

Career[edit]

At the outset of his career, Worsley played four years in the minor leagues, most notably for the New York Rovers of the EHL, the St. Paul Saints of the USHL, and the Saskatoon Quakers of the WHL. For three straight seasons between 1950 and 1952, he achieved success with all three teams, garnering First Team All-Star and leading goaltender recognition.

In the fall of 1952 he was signed by the New York Rangers of the NHL; though playing for a last place team, won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. However, after asking for a $500 a year pay increase, he was promptly returned to the minor leagues the following season. In 1954, playing for the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL, he won the league most valuable player award.

In 1954, Worsley resumed as the Rangers starting goaltender, beating out future NHL star Johnny Bower. Wearing the traditional number 1 for goaltenders, he toiled for the Rangers for the next nine seasons, generally playing well for poor performing teams.

In the summer of 1963, he became involved in a proposed players' union, and was promptly traded to the Montreal Canadiens. While he was relegated to the minor-league Quebec Aces for parts of two seasons — and characteristically winning First Team All-Star honors in the AHL in 1964 — Worsley played his best years for the Canadiens as a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams: 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969. His best season was 1968, where he followed up a Vezina-winning performance and a career-low 1.98 goals against average by going undefeated in the playoffs with eleven straight wins. In dispute with Sam Pollock, Montreal general manager, over refusal to be demoted to the minors, and coach Claude Ruel's consistent playing of Rogatien Vachon, he quit in the midst of the 1969–70 season. Suspended for not reporting to the Canadiens' Montreal Voyageurs farm team, Phil Myre was assigned to replace him.

Worsley was lured from retirement by the Minnesota North Stars to play in tandem with Cesare Maniago; he starred for parts of five more years, retiring at the age of 44 after the 1973–74 season. His best season with the North Stars was 1972, where he was second in the league with a 2.12 goals against average. Named to play in the 25th National Hockey League All-Star Game, Worsley was the first goaltender to have won 300 games and lost 300 games.[1] This feat was later accomplished by Curtis Joseph.

Worsley was known for his wry sense of humour and various eccentricities. Early in his career with the Rangers, regularly facing 40–50 shots a night, he was asked: "Which team gives you the most trouble?" His reply - "The New York Rangers." Accused by Rangers' coach Phil Watson of having a beer belly, he replied, "Just goes to show you what he knows. I only drink Johnnie Walker Red."

Worsley was vehemently opposed to wearing a mask. He was the second-to-last professional hockey goaltender to play without a mask. Andy Brown of the Indianapolis Racers was the last, the following season - wearing a mask in the last six games of his career. Asked about why he chose to go without, Worsley told reporters: "My face is my mask."[2]

Worsley was also well known for his fear of flying. On November 25, 1968,[3] en route to Los Angeles, he suffered a nervous breakdown after a rough flight from Montreal's Dorval Airport to Chicago. Subsequently, he received psychiatric treatment and missed action. It is said upon emerging from retirement to play for the North Stars he was assured, as Minnesota was in the central part of the continent, the team traveled less than any other in the league.

In his early days he was an outstanding soccer player, beginning his career as a junior with Westmount; in 1948 he was a member of the Montreal youth all-star team. As a promising young player, he soon attracted attention; the following year he moved up to McMasterville in the Montreal League. There he was selected to play in a trial game from which the Montreal all-stars were chosen to play the touring English club Fulham in 1951. In the summer of 1952, while playing hockey for the Saskatoon Quakers, he played centre forward for the Saskatoon All-stars against the touring Tottenham Hotspur from England. By 1953 he was playing centre half for the Montreal Hakoah; he captained Montreal Hakoah at centre half in the Canadian Challenge Trophy final. In the National Challenge Cup final Hakoah lost to Westminster Royals in a three game series, two of which ended in ties. In 1954, continued his soccer career with Montreal Vickers. His father was also an outstanding soccer player and won a Canadian championship medal with Montreal Grand Trunk in 1919.

Injuries[edit]

Worsley suffered many injuries during his career, including: a near career-ending back injury while with Vancouver of the WHL, when Gus Kyle hit him from behind; a knee problem in the 1956 playoffs that required surgery; a severed tendon in 1960; in 1961, a shot from Bobby Hull that hit him in the forehead; a pulled hamstring that same year; a pulled hamstring in 1963–64; knee surgery in 1966, followed by a sprained knee then a concussion from a hard-boiled egg thrown by a New York fan; a broken finger in the 1969 playoffs; a pulled hamstring in 1972–73 that reduced his effectiveness to the point he temporarily retired from hockey. The blast to the forehead from Bobby Hull landed him, unconscious, in Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. Upon awakening, asked how he was feeling, Gump replied: "Good thing the puck hit me flat!"[4]

Retirement and death[edit]

At the time of his retirement, Worsley had played more games than any goalie except for Terry Sawchuk and Glenn Hall. He retired with a record of 335 wins, 352 losses and 150 ties, with 43 shutouts, and a goals against average of 2.91.

Worsley suffered a heart attack on January 22, 2007, and died at his home in Beloeil, Quebec on January 26, 2007.[5]

Legacy[edit]

Two Canadian indie rock bands, Huevos Rancheros ("Gump Worsley's Lament") and The Weakerthans ("Elegy for Gump Worsley"), have recorded tribute songs to Worsley. Canadian band Sons of Freedom also named their second album Gump after Worsley.

Career achievements and facts[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

SeasonTeamLeagueGPWLTMINGASOGAA
1946–47Verdun CyclonesQJHL256181150013835.52
1947–48Verdun CyclonesQJHL291311517409513.28
1948–49Montreal St. Francis XavierMMJHL4724212284012272.58
1948–49New York RoversQSHL2120502.50
1949–50New York RoversEAHL4725175283013372.86
1949–50New Haven RamblersAHL2200120402.00
1950–51St. Paul SaintsUSHL6433265392018432.82
1951–52Saskatoon QuakersPCHL66331914396020653.07
1952–53Saskatoon QuakersWHL135717805003.84
1952–53Edmonton FlyersWHL110060202.00
1952–53New York RangersNHL5013298300015323.06
1953–54Vancouver CanucksWHL7039247420016842.40
1954–55New York RangersNHL65153317390019743.03
1955-56New York RangersNHL70322810420019842.83
1956–57New York RangersNHL68262814408021633.18
1957–58New York RangersNHL372110622008642.32
1957–58Providence RedsAHL251211215288303.26
1958–59New York RangersNHL67263011400119822.97
1959–60New York RangersNHL397238230113503.52
1959–60Springfield IndiansAHL1511319003332.20
1960–61New York RangersNHL5920298347319013.28
1961–62New York RangersNHL6022279353117222.92
1962–63New York RangersNHL67223410398021723.27
1963–64Montreal CanadiensNHL83224442212.97
1963–64Quebec AcesAHL4730161282012852.72
1964–65Quebec AcesAHL3724121224710122.70
1964–65Montreal CanadiensNHL19107110205012.94
1965–66Montreal CanadiensNHL5129146289911422.36
1966–67Montreal CanadiensNHL189628884713.18
1967–68Montreal CanadiensNHL40199822137361.98
1968–69Montreal CanadiensNHL30195417036452.25
1969–70Montreal CanadiensNHL53123601402.33
1969–70Minnesota North StarsNHL85114532012.65
1970–71Minnesota North StarsNHL24410813695702.50
1971–72Minnesota North StarsNHL341610719236822.12
1972–73Minnesota North StarsNHL126236243002.88
1973–74Minnesota North StarsNHL29814516018603.22
NHL totals86133535215050,1832407432.88

Playoffs[edit]

SeasonTeamLeagueGPWLMINGASOGAA
1947-48Verdun CyclonesQJHL5143172103.97
1948-49Montreal St. Francis XavierMMJHL5233101603.10
1949-50New York RoversEAHL12827202712.25
1950-51St. Paul SaintsUSHL413257902.19
1951-52Saskatoon QuakersPCHL131038183112.27
1953-54Vancouver CanucksWHL12747092902.45
1955-56New York RangersNHL3031901404.67
1956-57New York RangersNHL5143162103.99
1957-58New York RangersNHL6243652804.60
1961-62New York RangersNHL6243842103.28
1963-64Quebec AcesAHL9455432903.20
1964-65Montreal CanadiensNHL8535011421.68
1965-66Montreal CanadiensNHL10826022011.99
1966-67Montreal CanadiensNHL20180201.50
1967-68Montreal CanadiensNHL121106722111.88
1968-69Montreal CanadiensNHL7513701402.27
1969-70Minnesota North StarsNHL3121801404.67
1970-71Minnesota North StarsNHL4312401303.25
1971-72Minnesota North StarsNHL421194712.16
NHL totals704026408418952.78

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hockey’s Book of Firsts, p.18, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  2. ^ Litsky, Frank (29 January 2007). "Gump Worsley, 77, Hall of Famer Who Won Four Titles, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Toronto Star, Monday 25 November 1968, page 15
  4. ^ "Gump Worsley". Legends of Hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Associated Press (28 January 2007). "Worsley, who helped Montreal to four Cups, dies at 77". ESPN. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Winner of the Calder Trophy
1953
Succeeded by
Camille Henry
Preceded by
Johnny Bower
and Terry Sawchuk
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Charlie Hodge

1966
Succeeded by
Denis DeJordy
and Glenn Hall
Preceded by
Denis DeJordy
and Glenn Hall
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Rogatien Vachon

1968
Succeeded by
Glenn Hall
and Jacques Plante