Bernie Parent

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Bernie Parent
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1984
Bernie Parent.jpg
Born (1945-04-03) April 3, 1945 (age 69)
Montreal, QC, CAN
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for Boston Bruins
Philadelphia Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Philadelphia Blazers
Playing career 1965–1979

Bernard Marcel Parent (born April 3, 1945) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played 13 National Hockey League (NHL) seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs, and also spent one season in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with the Philadelphia Blazers. During the 1973–74 and 1974–75 seasons, in what many consider the finest consecutive seasons ever by a goaltender,[1] the Flyers won two Stanley Cups and Parent won the Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy both seasons. In that two year run of dominance, Parent posted 30 shutouts in regular and post season play combined. A 1984 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Parent was rated number 63 on The Hockey News' list of The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time in 1998.[2] Parent remains an iconic fan favorite in Philadelphia more than three decades after his retirement.

Early years[edit]

Parent's hero as a young boy was Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante, whose sister lived in Parent's neighborhood. Many times Parent watched out for Plante's visits to his sister and her family.

As a Québécois, Parent's use of English was a never ending source of locker room and bus trip humor, especially when he was excited. During his early playing career, Parent did not conduct interviews in English for fear of saying the wrong things.

Playing career[edit]

Parent played for the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA Junior A league. A two-time winner of the Dave Pinkney trophy (lowest goals against average or GAA), he wrapped up his junior career on the team that won the OHA championship and the Memorial Cup championship in 1965.

Parent began his career with the Boston Bruins in the 1965–66 season, appearing in 39 games. The following season was split between Boston and the Bruins' farm club in Oklahoma.

Left unprotected for the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, Parent was chosen by the Philadelphia Flyers where he and Doug Favell, another former Bruin prospect, split the netminding duties for the Flyers' first season. Parent recorded a 2.48 GAA with four shutouts and the Flyers finished first in the NHL's West Division. Over the next two seasons, with Favell performing inconsistently or injured, Parent became the Flyers' #1 goalie and appeared in 58 and 62 games for the Flyers.

Looking for help up front to improve the club's offence, the Flyers dealt Parent to the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 1, 1971. The trade turned out to be a positive turn for Parent. In Toronto, Parent joined his boyhood hero, Jacques Plante, who at 42 was having an all-star season. Under Plante's tutelage, Parent became a more consistent and technically proficient goalie. Parent played well for the Leafs through the 1971–72 season, gaining valuable regular season and playoff experience.

Bernie Parent's return to the ice for the 2012 Winter Classic Alumni Game.

Without a contract with the Leafs for the 1972-73 season, Parent signed a large contract with the Miami Screaming Eagles of the newly forming World Hockey Association. He was the first NHL player to jump to the new league. The Eagles did not materialize as planned, and Parent signed with the Philadelphia Blazers. Parent faced a barrage of shots in 63 regular season games for the Blazers in the defensively weak league. After leaving the team over a contract dispute during the 1973 WHA playoffs, he sought a return to the NHL but did not wish to return to the Leafs. Toronto traded Parent's NHL rights back to the Flyers for Favell and a first round pick in that summer's (1973) amateur draft.

The next two seasons were the greatest of his career and would see Parent record a combined 30 regular and post-season shutout victories. Hockey scribes have often cited Parent's play between 1973-1975 as some of the best ever seen in the game. Playing 73 games in a 78 game schedule, Parent sparkled in leading the league with a 1.89 GAA and 12 shutouts. He began the 1973-74 season with two shutouts besting Favell 2-0 in the season opener against Toronto in Philadelphia. He shared the Vezina Trophy with Chicago's Tony Esposito and was named a first team all-star as the Flyers skated to a first place finish in the West Division. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) and the Flyers won the first of consecutive Stanley Cup Championships. The following year, he again posted 12 shutouts and won another Vezina Trophy, a second Conn Smythe Trophy and the Stanley Cup. In both championship playoff runs, Parent shut out the opposition in the deciding 6th game of the Stanley Cup Finals defeating the Boston Bruins 1-0 in '74 and the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 in '75. "Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent" became a catch-phrase and bumper sticker in Philadelphia in those years.

As the Flyers prepared a run at the championship for a third consecutive year, Parent was sidelined by a pre-season neck injury requiring surgery and he appeared in only 11 games in 1975–76. Parent had pinched a nerve in his neck causing radiating pain. Doctors removed a disk and a section of bone hoping to alleviate the symptoms but Parent suffered from continued pain in his neck throughout the rest of his career.[3] He returned to the lineup late in the season but he was inconsistent and could not regain the starting job from netminder Wayne Stephenson. Without Parent's Conn Smythe level performance that year, the Flyers fell in the Stanley Cup finals in four straight games to the Montreal Canadiens. Over the next three seasons, he experienced difficulties at times. Plante, although in retirement, continued to have a strong influence on Parent's career. Parent, like Plante, was a stand-up type goalie. At one point Parent was playing poorly and considering retirement. Plante watched him practice in Philadelphia for two days, then told Parent exactly what he was doing wrong: sitting back on his heels, backing into his crease and losing concentration. Parent heeded Plante's advice and returned to form. During the 1977-1978 season, he adopted the more confident, challenging style characteristic of his play during the Championship years posting a 2.22 GAA, a 0.912 save percentage and 7 shutouts in 49 games.

On February 17, 1979, Parent suffered a career-ending eye injury in a game against the New York Rangers.[4] An errant stick entered the right eye hole of his mask, causing permanent damage to his vision.[4] After hospitalization, including the complete loss of sight for two weeks, Parent recovered and eventually regained sight, although not at the level required to resume his playing career.[4] He retired at age 34, an age considered to be "still in athletic prime" for goaltenders. This incident, as well as the ending of Gerry Desjardin's career when a puck struck his eye in 1977, led many NHL goalies to switch from fibreglass facemasks toward the cage and helmet style, and resulted in many amateur and junior leagues banning fibreglass masks altogether, mandating the helmet/cage combo.[citation needed]

Post-career[edit]

After Parent's retirement, the Flyers retired his jersey number (1) in his honor. He spent several years in the Flyers organization as goaltending coach, mentoring future Vezina-winning goalies Ron Hextall and the late Pelle Lindbergh, the latter of whom idolized Parent as a youngster in his native Sweden. Today, he is employed by the Flyers as Ambassador of Hockey. He can be seen at Flyers home games on the concourse.

Parent remains one of the most popular and iconic Flyers from their two championship teams with hockey fans in Philadelphia. Chants of "Bernie...Bernie...Bernie" that rocked the Philadelphia Spectrum during the team's championship years still greet Parent when he is recognized at current Flyer's events.

Parent was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. In 1998, he was ranked number 63 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

Parent has been a resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey[5] and has a shore house in Wildwood Crest.

On December 7, 2011, Parent announced via Twitter that he would be playing in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game, to be held on December 31, 2011.[6] Parent started in goal for the Flyers, playing five minutes and letting in no goals on five shots including a breakaway by New York Rangers legend Ron Duguay. He was later named the first star of the game.[7]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Parent has a book, written by Michele Paiva, Dean Smith and himself, "Journey Through Risk and Fear", published by Balletsa, Inc Publishing, which touches upon his trials and tribulations but mostly, how to overcome fear, face challenges, find purpose and obtain goals. Published January 2011, Official Release, February 25, 2011 (Balletsa inc, Michele Paiva)

Records[edit]

  • Previously held the mark for most wins in a season (47), surpassed by New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur during the 2006–07 season with 48 wins. His 47 win season in 1973–74 is still the record for most regulation time wins in a single season.[8] Parent did not have the benefit of overtime or shootouts or a longer season in his era.
  • Fourth hockey player and third goalie to appear on the cover of Time Magazine (Lorne Chabot was first).

Career statistics[edit]

Bolded numbers indicate league leader.

Regular season[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1963–64 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 28 1680 80 4 2.86
1964–65 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 34 2004 86 2 2.58
1965–66 Boston Bruins NHL 39 11 20 3 2083 128 1 3.69 .898
1965–66 Oklahoma City Blazers CPHL 3 1 1 1 180 11 0 3.67
1966–67 Boston Bruins NHL 18 4 12 2 1022 62 0 3.64 .890
1966–67 Oklahoma City Blazers CPHL 14 10 4 0 820 37 4 2.70
1967–68 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 38 16 17 5 2248 93 4 2.48 .926
1968–69 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 58 17 23 16 3365 151 1 2.69 .923
1969–70 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 62 13 29 20 3680 171 3 2.79 .920
1970–71 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 30 9 12 6 1586 73 2 2.76 .912
1970–71 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 18 7 7 3 1040 46 0 2.65
1971–72 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 47 17 18 9 2715 116 3 2.56
1972–73 Philadelphia Blazers WHA 63 33 38 0 3653 220 2 3.61 .886
1973–74 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 73 47 13 12 4314 136 12 1.89 .933
1974–75 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 68 44 14 10 4041 137 12 2.03 .919
1975–76 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 11 6 2 3 615 24 0 2.34 .908
1976–77 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 61 35 13 12 3525 159 5 2.71 .897
1977–78 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 49 29 6 13 2923 108 7 2.22 .912
1978–79 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 36 16 12 7 1979 89 4 2.70 .893
NHL totals 608 271 198 121 35,136 1493 55 2.55
WHA totals 63 33 38 0 3653 220 2 3.61 .886

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1963–64 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 4 0 4 240 26 0 6.50
1964–65 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA-Jr. 8 6 2 480 15 1 1.86
1964–65 Niagara Falls Flyers M-Cup 13 10 2 700 19 2 1.63
1967–68 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 5 2 3 355 8 0 1.35 .963
1968–69 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 3 0 3 180 12 0 4.00 .872
1970–71 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 4 2 2 235 9 0 2.30
1971–72 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 4 1 3 243 13 0 3.21
1972–73 Philadelphia Blazers WHA 1 0 1 70 3 0 2.57
1973–74 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 17 12 5 1042 35 2 2.02 .933
1974–75 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 15 10 5 922 29 4 1.89 .922
1975–76 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 8 4 4 480 27 0 3.38 .892
1976–77 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 3 0 3 123 8 0 3.90 .814
1977–78 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 12 7 5 722 33 0 2.74 .891
NHL totals 71 38 33 4302 174 6 2.43
WHA totals 1 0 1 70 3 0 2.57

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, Jim. Walking Together Forever: The Broad Street Bullies, Then and Now. Sports Publishing L.L.C. p. 37. 
  2. ^ Dryden, Steve (1998). The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time. 
  3. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1291&dat=19751022&id=ZWIzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Lo0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6256,6023868
  4. ^ a b c "Parent's eye injury forces his retirement". AP. Lakeland Ledger. June 1, 1979. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ Fitzgerald, Barbara; Strauss, Robert (April 13, 2003). "WORTH NOTING; And a Team in Pennsauken Loses Its Owner". The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2008. "Mr. Parent, who lives in Cherry Hill, is a marketing account executive in the insurance division at Commerce and has long been an investor in the team." 
  6. ^ Parent, Bernie. "Bernie Parent, Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  7. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pddATumDExo
  8. ^ http://www.flyershistory.net/cgi-bin/nhlrec.cgi

External links[edit]