Bill Durnan

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Bill Durnan
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1964
Bill Durnan.png
Born (1916-01-22)January 22, 1916
Toronto, ON, CAN
Died October 31, 1972(1972-10-31) (aged 56)
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Both
Played for Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1944–1950

William Ronald Durnan (January 22, 1916 – October 31, 1972) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played for the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League (NHL). He won the Stanley Cup twice and the Vezina Trophy six times. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964.

Playing career[edit]

Durnan, whom John McGourty of NHL.com refers to as "the greatest nearly forgotten player in the history of the NHL,"[1] only played seven seasons in the NHL, but accomplished much in his short career. Durnan was the recipient of the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender in each of his first four seasons, from 1943-44 to 1946-47, becoming the first to capture the award in four successive seasons. A poor season by the Montreal Canadiens in 1947-48 allowed Turk Broda of the Toronto Maple Leafs to end Durnan's streak. Durnan, however, returned to prominence the next season, capturing his fifth and sixth Vezina Trophies in 1948-49 and 1949-50. Durnan was also selected to the First Team All-Star six times during his career, including four consecutive selections from 1944–47.[2]

During the 1947-48 season, Durnan served as the Canadiens' captain. However, he left the crease so often to argue calls that other teams claimed he was giving the Canadiens unscheduled timeouts. After the season, the NHL passed a rule barring goaltenders from performing the duties of captain, known as the "Durnan Rule."

Following the 1949–50 NHL season, at the age of 35, Durnan retired, no longer able to stand the stress of playing professional hockey. He later went into coaching, most notably with the Ottawa Senators of the QSHL in 1950–51, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen of the OHA in 1958–59.

Durnan set a long-standing modern NHL record between February 26 and March 6, 1949, when he registered four consecutive shutouts, not allowing a goal over a span of 309 minutes, 21 seconds. This record stood until 2004, when Brian Boucher, then of the Phoenix Coyotes, broke it.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964. In 383 regular-season games, Durnan had 208 wins, and 112 losses, with 34 shutouts and a 2.36 goals-against average. He had 27 wins, and 12 losses, with two shutouts and a 2.07 average in 45 playoff games. Durnan also won the 1940 Allan Cup with the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils. He died of kidney failure on October 31, 1972. He suffered from diabetes in his last years and his health had been failing steadily.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Durnan was an ambidextrous goalie, equally adept at using his right or left hand (he wore special gloves that permitted him to catch with either hand while still holding his stick). Until Roberto Luongo was named captain of the Vancouver Canucks on September 30, 2008, he was the last goalie to be a captain in the National Hockey League, and one of seven in history.

Awards[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1931-32 North Toronto Juniors TJHL 8 480 17 1 2.12
1932-33 Sudbury Wolves NOHA 6 360 6 2 1.00
1933-34 Toronto Torontos TIHL 11 660 21 4 1.91
1933-34 Toronto British Consol TMHL 15 12 2 1 910 31 1 2.04
1933-34 Toronto All-Stars TIHL 2 120 9 0 4.50
1934-35 Toronto McColl TMHL 15 900 62 0 4.13
1935-36 Toronto Dominions TMHL 1 0 1 0 60 6 0 6.00
1936-37 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils NOHA 4 4 0 0 240 5 0 1.25
1937-38 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils NOHA 11 8 1 1 610 27 1 2.66
1938-39 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils NOHA 7 7 0 0 420 7 3 1.00
1940-41 Montreal Royals QSHL 34 2000 100 1 3.00
1941-42 Montreal Royals QSHL 39 2340 143 0 3.67
1942-43 Montreal Royals QSHL 31 1860 130 0 4.19
1943–44 Montreal Canadiens NHL 50 38 5 7 3000 109 2 2.18
1944–45 Montreal Canadiens NHL 50 38 8 4 3000 121 1 2.42
1945–46 Montreal Canadiens NHL 40 24 11 5 2400 104 4 2.60
1946–47 Montreal Canadiens NHL 60 34 16 10 3600 138 4 2.30
1947–48 Montreal Canadiens NHL 59 20 28 10 3505 162 5 2.77
1948–49 Montreal Canadiens NHL 60 28 23 9 3600 126 10 2.10
1949–50 Montreal Canadiens NHL 64 26 21 17 3840 141 8 2.20
NHL totals 383 208 112 62 22,945 901 34 2.36

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1931-32 North Toronto Juniors TJHL 4 240 10 1 2.50
1932-33 Sudbury Wolves NOHA 2 120 4 0 2.00
1933-34 Toronto Torontos TIHL 1 0 1 0 60 5 0 5.00
1933-34 Toronto British Consol TMHL 5 0 2 3 350 21 0 3.60
1936-37 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils NOHA 4 1 0 3 240 8 1 2.00
1937-38 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils NOHA 2 2 0 0 120 2 1 1.00
1937-38 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils Allan Cup 2 0 2 0 120 11 0 3.50
1938-39 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils NOHA 2 2 0 0 120 3 1 1.50
1938-39 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils Allan Cup 5 3 2 0 299 12 2 2.41
1939-40 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils Allan Cup 17 14 1 2 1040 35 1 2.02
1940-41 Montreal Royals QSHL 8 8 0 0 480 24 1 3.00
1940-41 Montreal Royals Allan Cup 14 8 5 1 850 49 1 3.46
1942-43 Montreal Royals QSHL 4 240 11 0 2.75
1943-44 Montreal Canadiens NHL 9 8 1 0 549 14 1 1.53
1944-45 Montreal Canadiens NHL 6 2 4 0 373 15 0 2.41
1945-46 Montreal Canadiens NHL 9 8 1 0 581 20 0 2.07
1946-47 Montreal Canadiens NHL 11 6 5 0 720 23 1 1.92
1948-49 Montreal Canadiens NHL 7 3 4 0 468 17 0 2.18
1949-50 Montreal Canadiens NHL 3 0 3 0 180 10 0 3.33
NHL totals 45 27 18 0 2871 99 2 2.07

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Toe Blake
Montreal Canadiens captain
1948
Succeeded by
Emile Bouchard
Preceded by
Johnny Mowers
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
1944, 1945, 1946, 1947
Succeeded by
Turk Broda
Preceded by
Turk Broda
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
1949, 1950
Succeeded by
Al Rollins