Gary Smith (ice hockey)

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This article is about the ice hockey player. For other people with the same name, see Gary Smith.
Gary Smith
Gary Smith TSMM.png
with the Toronto St. Michael's Majors, c. 1962
Born (1944-02-04) February 4, 1944 (age 70)
Ottawa, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for Rochester Americans (AHL)
Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Victoria Maple Leafs (WHL)
Oakland Seals (NHL)
Chicago Black Hawks (NHL)
Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
Minnesota North Stars (NHL)
Fort Worth Texans (CHL)
Hershey Bears (AHL)
Washington Capitals (NHL)
Indianapolis Racers (WHA)
Tulsa Oilers (CHL)
Winnipeg Jets (WHA)
Playing career 1965–1980

Gary "Suitcase" Smith (born February 4, 1944) a former professional ice hockey goaltender. Gary is a son of Des Smith and brother of Brian Smith, both former National Hockey League (NHL) players. Gary played for numerous clubs, including the Chicago Black Hawks, Oakland Seals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets. He was the co-winner of the Vezina Trophy in the 1971–72 NHL season.

Playing career[edit]

Gary Smith played his junior hockey with the Toronto St. Michael's Majors, Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons and the Toronto Marlboros. He won a Memorial Cup with the junior Toronto Marlboros in 1964. In 1965, Gary Smith entered the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and was one of five goalies who played for the Maple Leafs during the 1966–67 regular season, their last Stanley Cup season.[1]

He eventually earned the nickname "Suitcase" Smith because of the large number of teams he played for. After playing with the dismal California Golden Seals from 196771, where he set records in 1970–71 for both the most games played in a single season and most losses in a single season, his first success was sharing the 1971–72 Vezina Trophy with Tony Esposito while with the Chicago Black Hawks. One year later, Smith and Esposito would help the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup final where they would lose to the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games.

In 1974–75, he also had a fine season with the Vancouver Canucks, with 72 games played and six shutouts. Smith finished 5th place in balloting for the 1975 Hart Trophy, which goes to the player judged most valuable to his team in the NHL. The 1975 Hart Trophy winner, Bobby Clarke, said in his acceptance speech that Smith was more deserving of the award.

Smith later played in the World Hockey Association, and was a teammate of Wayne Gretzky while playing for the Indianapolis Racers.[2] He would be part of the Winnipeg Jets' 1979 Avco World Trophy championship.

Gary Smith's last coach in Winnipeg was Tom McVie, who coached Smith the previous season while both were with the Washington Capitals.[3]

The Jets played the Edmonton Oilers, led by Wayne Gretzky. Ironically, when Wayne Gretzky went to his first game at Maple Leaf Gardens, Gary Smith was one of the goalies in the game.[4] The Maple Leafs played the California Seals and Smith was the Seals goalie.

Gary Smith gave up the last goal in WHA history to Dave Semenko.[4]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Smith has had many other claims to fame, according to an interview in the Vancouver Province in 1997. In his first NHL game, Smith left his crease in an attempt to score a goal. He got to the Canadiens' blueline but then JC Tremblay came along. "He nailed me," said Smith.

In another game Smith punted the puck in Maple Leaf Gardens, almost hitting the clock.

Another time he left the Vancouver Pacific Coliseum still wearing his goaltender uniform. "It's tough driving in your skates," he said in the same 1997 interview.

As of 1997 he was living in Vancouver and managing the racehorses he owned, including one named Broadcaster, named after his brother Brian, an Ottawa broadcaster who was murdered.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1961–62 Toronto St. Michael's Majors OHA-Jr. 31 24 6 1 1860 83 3 2.68
1962–63 Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons MTJHL 28 1660 65 3 2.25
1963–64 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 55 40 8 7 3270 186 3 3.41
1964–65 Rochester Americans AHL 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00
1964–65 Tulsa Oilers CPHL 1 0 1 0 60 5 0 5.00
1964–65 Victoria Maple Leafs WHL 8 1 5 0 411 30 0 4.38
1965–66 Rochester Americans AHL 37 20 11 4 2038 97 2 2.86
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 3 0 2 0 118 7 0 3.56
1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 2 0 2 0 115 7 0 3.65
1966–67 Rochester Americans AHL 17 6 5 4 871 38 1 2.62
1966–67 Victoria Maple Leafs WHL 17 6 8 3 1029 51 2 2.97
1967–68 Oakland Seals NHL 21 2 13 4 1129 60 1 3.19
1968–69 Oakland Seals NHL 54 21 24 7 2993 148 4 2.97
1969–70 Oakland Seals NHL 65 19 34 12 3762 195 2 3.11
1970–71 California Golden Seals NHL 71 19 48 4 3975 256 2 3.86
1971–72 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 28 14 5 6 1540 62 5 2.42
1972–73 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 23 10 10 2 1340 79 0 3.54
1973–74 Vancouver Canucks NHL 66 20 33 8 3632 208 3 3.44
1974–75 Vancouver Canucks NHL 72 32 24 9 3823 197 6 3.09
1975–76 Vancouver Canucks NHL 51 20 24 6 2864 167 2 3.50
1976–77 Minnesota North Stars NHL 36 10 17 8 2090 139 1 3.99
1977–78 Minnesota North Stars NHL 3 0 2 1 180 9 0 3.00
1977–78 Hershey Bears AHL 1 0 0 1 65 4 0 3.69
1977–78 Washington Capitals NHL 17 2 12 3 980 68 2 4.16
1977–78 Fort Worth Texans CHL 13 8 3 1 765 38 1 2.98
1978–79 Indianapolis Racers WHA 11 0 10 1 664 61 0 5.51
1978–79 Winnipeg Jets WHA 11 7 3 0 626 31 0 2.97
1979–80 Winnipeg Jets NHL 20 4 11 4 1073 73 0 4.08
1979–80 Tulsa Oilers CHL 22 7 11 4 1324 73 0 3.31
NHL totals 532 173 261 74 29,619 1675 26 3.39
WHA totals 22 7 13 3 1290 92 0 4.28

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA
1961–62 Toronto St. Michael's Majors OHA-Jr. 12 720 36 0 3.00
1961–62 Toronto St. Michael's Majors M-Cup 4 0 3 182 20 0 6.59
1962–63 Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons MTJHL 10 600 40 0 4.00
1962–63 Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons M-Cup 6 2 4 360 27 0 4.50
1963–64 Toronto Marlboros OHA-Jr. 9 540 26 1 2.89
1963–64 Toronto Marlboros M-Cup 12 11 1 720 38 0 3.17
1965–66 Rochester Americans AHL 4 2 2 188 12 0 3.83
1968–69 Oakland Seals NHL 7 3 4 420 23 0 3.29
1969–70 Oakland Seals NHL 4 0 4 248 13 0 3.15
1971–72 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 2 1 1 120 3 1 1.50
1972–73 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 2 0 1 65 5 0 4.62
1974–75 Vancouver Canucks NHL 4 1 3 257 14 0 3.27
1976–77 Minnesota North Stars NHL 1 0 0 43 4 0 5.58
1977–78 Fort Worth Texans CHL 9 5 4 511 25 1 2.94
1978–79 Winnipeg Jets WHA 10 8 2 563 35 0 3.73
1979–80 Tulsa Oilers CHL 1 0 1 60 6 0 6.00
NHL totals 20 5 13 1153 62 1 3.23
WHA totals 10 8 2 563 35 0 3.73

References[edit]

  • Cox, Damien; Stellick, Gord. 67: The Maple Leafs, Their Sensational Victory, and the End of an Empire. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-470-83400-5. 
  • Willes, Ed. The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association. Toronto, ON: McLelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-8947-3. 
  • A horse of a different color is Smith: Goalie Suitcase Gary takes a run at owning a race horse; David Banks. The Province. Vancouver, B.C.: Jul 18, 1997. pg. A.56
  1. ^ [Cox]
  2. ^ [Cox], pg. 79
  3. ^ [Willes], pg.240
  4. ^ a b [Willes], pg. 241

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Eddie Giacomin
and Gilles Villemure
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Tony Esposito

1972
Succeeded by
Ken Dryden