The NOHA is saddened to learn the news of the passing of NOHA All-Century Team member Tony Esposito.
Goaltender Tony Esposito was born Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where he built his skills playing minor hockey. Tony played one season for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey Association before attending Michigan Tech University where he had an outstanding three-year career with the Huskies.
Esposito signed his first NHL contract during the 1968-1969 season where he appeared in thirteen games and captured a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens. After his time in Montreal, Esposito found himself tending goal in the Madhouse on Madison for the Chicago Blackhawks. In his first season with the Blackhawks, he set a modern-day NHL record with fifteen shutouts and brought home an accolade of awards including the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie, the Vezina Memorial trophy as the league’s top goalie, and first team all-star honours.
In 1972, Esposito was presented with the opportunity to play for Canada in the famed Summit Series against the Russians. Tony posted a 2-1-1 record in the series and was the goaltender of record for Canada’s first win.
Esposito went on to capture two more Vezina Memorial trophies in his career: one in 1972 and the other in 1974. The Hockey Hall of Fame came knocking for Tony in 1988, only three years after he retired from professional hockey. Esposito was named to the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players list in 2017 as part of the NHL’s centennial celebration.
We send our thoughts and prayers to Tony’s family during this time. He will always be remembered.