Rick Cole The Hockey Writers
50 Years Ago in Hockey: 65-66 Goalie Preview – Chicago Blackhawks
As we look towards the 1965-66 NHL season, today we spotlight the goaltending depth of the Chicago Black Hawks. The squad from the Windy City has likely the most stable goalkeeping unit in the NHL, with two proven big-leaguers at the big-league level, and several NHL-quality backstops in the system. The Hawks have very few worries when it comes to the work they receive between the pipes. And with NHL teams having to dress two goalkeepers for every game, two solid puckstoppers is a necessity.
Last season, veteran Glenn Hall, who will be 34 by the time the new season starts, was once again the main man in goal for Chicago. Hall holds the record for consecutive games played by an NHL goalie with 502, but last season for the first time, he split the duties with young Denis DeJordy, who is being groomed to take over for Hall as the years creep up on him.
Hall played 41 games for the Hawks in 64-65, putting up a 2.43 goals-against average, winning 18 games, losing 17, while tying five contests. DeJordy played in 30 games, with a 16-11-3 record, and a 2.52 goals-against average. Hall likely would have played even more games but back woes kept him on the sidelines for more matches than he would have liked.
It was Hall’s goaltending that enabled Chicago to upset first-place Detroit in the Stanley Cup semi-finals, and he almost completed a similar upset against Montreal in the final. It was the Hawks’ lack of depth on defence, rather that any fault of Hall, that kept the Blackhawks from winning the Stanley Cup.
This season, it’s likely that Chicago will once again depend on Hall and DeJordy. There are a few other netminders in the Blackhawks’ system that bear watching, so let’s get to know them now.
Glenn Hall is now 34 years old and a veteran of 10 full NHL seasons. The often-acrobatic native of Humboldt, Saskatchewan played his Junior A hockey in Windsor, Ontario with the Spitfires, where he earned league MVP honours and a first all-star nod in 1950-51. He turned professional with the Indianapolis Capitals the next season, and made his NHL debut one year later with the Detroit Red Wings as an injury replacement for Terry Sawchuk. He got into six games with the Wings after playing 63 games with Edmonton of the WHL.
Hall spent the next two seasons with Edmonton before coming to the NHL for good in 1955-56. He was an immediate success once he was handed the full-time job with the Wings after Sawchuk was traded to the Boston Bruins. He began a run of seven straight seasons where he would play all 70 games, and in that first season he recorded a spectacular 2.11 average and was named, as a rookie, to the NHL’s second all-star team. He was also awarded the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie-of-the-year.
The next season, 1956-57, he led the NHL in wins with 38. Inexplicably, after that fine season Hall was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in a curious move that many link to the attempts by Ted Lindsay and others to establish a players union. In the deal, Hall and Lindsay went to Chicago for Johnny Wilson, Forbes Kennedy, Bill Preston and goalie Hank Bassen. In retrospect, it seems like a paltry return for one of the league’s best goalkeepers and a Hall of Fame forward.
Hall’s arrival in Chicago signalled a return to respectability for a sagging Blackhawks franchise. While the team finished out of the playoffs in fifth place and Hall led the league in losses, he had great personal success and was a first-team all-star. The team still hadn’t built up the depth required to contend, but a rookie left-winger named Bobby Hull teamed with Hull to give Chicago fans a glimpse of a very promising future.
The 1960-61 season was the zenith of Hall’s and the Hawks’ rise, as the team won the Stanley Cup. They have been solid contenders ever since, due in no small part to Hall’s consistently brilliant netminding.
If Hall says healthy, and with an able backup available to give him some much-needed rest during the season, there is no reason he shouldn’t, he’ll likely keep the Windy City crew in contention of the Stanley Cup once again.
Twenty-four-year-old Denis DeJordy spent his first full season in the NHL last season and he did not disappoint Chicago fans or team management. The five-foot, nine-inch, 175-pounder was tabbed in training camp last year to be a full-time understudy for the great Glenn Hall and he played so well that Chicago coach Billy Reay used him in 30 games. His goals-against average of 2.52 was an acceptable number, and he won 16 games while losing only 11. He played so well, Hall was able to take a little extra time off to rest a wonky back.
DeJordy also played seven games last season for the Buffalo Bisons in the AHL when regular Bisons goalie Ed Chadwick went down with a concussion.
DeJordy, who hails from St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, is yet another product of the St. Catharines, Ontario Junior A club, a long-time Chicago affiliate. He moved up to the professional ranks in 1959-60 with the Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds of the EPHL, where he was named the loop’s rookie-of-the-year. He spent the next season between the Sault and the Buffalo. In 1962-63 he won the Les Cunningham Award as the Most Valuable Player in the AHL with the Bisons. He also made his NHL debut that season, filling in for Hall for five games when his consecutive games streak finally came to an end.
The Blackhawks clearly see DeJordy as the heir-apparent to the goaltending job in Chicago. Coach Billy Reay feels the youngster needs only to develop a more consistent approach to the game to be ready for the number one role. With NHL expansion on the horizon, there is little doubt DeJordy will be a full-time regular NHL netminder in the very near future.
Ed Chadwick, a 32-year-old former Toronto Maple Leaf, just completed his first season in the Chicago organization in 1964-65 with the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. The affable Chadwick, known as one of the nicest men in pro hockey, is a graduate of the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors Junior A program.
His first pro season was with the Winnipeg Warriors of the WHL in 1955-56, and he was called up by the Toronto Maple Leafs for five games to fill in for the injured Harry Lumley late in the season. Chadwick was so impressive in those five games that the Leafs sold Lumley to Chicago immediately after the year was over. He gave up only three goals in the five games he played, for a sparkling 0.60 goals-against average.
Ed played every game for the Leafs over the next two seasons, finishing second in the rookie-of-the-year voting in 56-57. In the 1958-59 season, Toronto brought in Johnny Bower, and he and Chadwick shared the Leaf netminding duties for that season before Bower took over full-time in 59-60.
Midway through the 1960-61 season, Chadwick was traded by the Leafs to Boston for Don Simmons. After a season in the Boston organization, he was dealt to Hershey of the AHL, along with defenceman Barry Ashbee, for goalie Bobby Perreault. The Blackhawks purchased him from Hershey in the summer of 1964.
Chadwick doesn’t figure prominently in Chicago’s plans, and seems happy in Buffalo. The Hawks can be secure in the knowledge that if disaster does strike the goalkeeping corps, they have an experienced hand at the ready to fill in if necessary.
Roy Edwards, 28, is a veteran of seven minor league seasons who is still looking for his first sniff at NHL competition. Edwards is another graduate of the St. Catharines Teepees, and was an OHA second all-star team member in 1955-56. He turned pro with the Calgary Stampeders in 1958-59, after splitting a year between the semi-pro International Hockey League Fort Wayne Komets and the EOHA Senior A Whitby Dunlops. He won a gold medal at the 1958 World Championships with that famed Whitby club.
Edwards, who is from Jarvis, Ontario, spent last season with the Chicago’s CPHL team, the St. Louis Braves. While his numbers weren’t impressive at St. Louis, that was due more to a team that wasn’t really stocked with abundant talent. Edwards showed flashes of brilliance with the weak Chicago farm team and the Hawks will probably give him a good look at training camp this fall.
The Blackhawks have invited 24-year-old Dave Dryden to training camp this fall. He spent most of the past two seasons with the Galt Hornets of the OHA Senior A ranks, but he does have one NHL game to his credit.
Dryden’s lone NHL appearance took place on February 3, 1962. At that time he was with the Toronto Marlboros of the Metro Toronto Junior A League. As was the custom at that time, Junior goalies would serve as a stand-by at the Leaf games at Maple Leaf Gardens, should one of the NHL netminders be injured and unable to continue. As luck would have it on this night, New York Ranger goalie Gump Worsley was hurt in the Rangers’ game against Toronto and Dryden was summoned from the stands to take over between the pipes.
The youngster acquitted himself well, giving up only three goals to the eventual Stanley Cup champions. The Leafs, however, weren’t all that impressed and the team relinquished his rights. After a couple of years of Senior hockey, the Blackhawks signed Dryden as a free agent last season to help fill in for injured Buffalo goalkeeper Ed Chadwick. They liked what they saw of the lanky six-foot, two-inch puckstopper and invited him to camp this fall. He is likely destined for St. Louis.
No training camp surprises are expected, at least as far as the Blackhawks’ goaltending situation is concerned. Look for Glenn Hall to once again see the bulk of the action for Chicago, and he will be ably backed up by Denis DeJordy.
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