|Hockey Hall of Fame, 1985|
December 7, 1940 |
St. Catharines, ON, CAN
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)|
Toronto Maple Leafs
Oklahoma City Blazers
Gerald Michael "Cheesey" Cheevers (born December 7, 1940 in St. Catharines, Ontario) is a former goaltender in the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association between 1961 and 1980, most famous for his two stints with the Boston Bruins, where he backstopped the team to Stanley Cup wins in 1970 and 1972. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.
He was owned by the Toronto Maple Leafs until the Boston Bruins drafted him in 1965. Cheevers still holds the American Hockey League single-season record for most victories by a goalkeeper. In 1965 he totaled 48 victories in leading the Rochester Americans to their first Calder Cup championship. He spent six years in all in the minors until, by 1967, he was Boston's number one goalie.
In 1972, he went undefeated in 33 consecutive games, a NHL record that still stands.
In the fall of 1972, he jumped to the fledgling World Hockey Association, playing three and a half seasons for the Cleveland Crusaders as one of the league's best goalies, winning First Team All-Star honors in 1973 and Second Team honors in 1974 and 1975.
Returning to the Bruins during the 1976 season after financial disputes with Cleveland management, Cheevers formed a goalie tandem with Gilles Gilbert. Cheevers retired at the end of the 1980 season. Cheevers and Gilbert were runners-up for the Vezina in the 1979-80 season, which was won by Don Edwards and Bob Sauvé.
Cheevers had a career NHL goals against average of 2.89, recorded 230 NHL wins, played in 419 NHL games, and registered 26 NHL shutouts. He was also second in the WHA's history in career GAA and shutouts, despite playing in only half the league's seasons. Cheevers was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985, and is one of the few honoured goaltenders in the Hall to have never been named to the First or Second NHL All-Star Team nor won the Vezina Trophy.
Cheevers was not afraid to stray from the crease both to cut down the shooter's angle and to act as a "third defenseman". He was very aggressive with opposing players who strayed into or near the crease. Many an opposing player who got too close to the goal crease got a quick smack from Cheevers' goal stick.
Not a "stand-up" goalie, Cheevers could often be found on his knees or even his side. He perfected this "flopping" style while playing for Rochester during the 1962–63 season. Americans' coach Rudy Migay had Cheevers practice without his stick, thus requiring him to rely more on using his body and his pads. From that point on Cheevers became one of hockey's best goalkeepers.
Cheevers' iconic stitch-pattern goaltender mask came after a puck hit him in the face during practice. Cheevers, never one to miss an opportunity to skip out of practice, went to the dressing room. Bruins coach Harry Sinden followed him to the dressing room, where he found Cheevers enjoying a beer and smoking a cigarette. Sinden told Cheevers, who wasn't injured, to get back on the ice. In jest, John Forestall, the team trainer, painted a stitch mark on his mask. Ever after, any time he was similarly struck, he would have a new stitch-mark painted on. The mask became one of the most recognized of the era, and the original mask is now on the wall of his grandson's bedroom.
Years later, goalie Steve Shields would pay tribute to Cheevers when he played for the Bruins in 2002 and 2003, sporting a modern airbrushed version of the stitch-covered mask. In 2008, The Hockey News rated his mask the greatest ever with a wide margin. Cheevers received 221 of possible 300 points, while second-placed Gilles Gratton got 66.
Cheevers' final season as a player came in 1980, when popular coach Don Cherry was replaced by Fred Creighton. After winning their division seven of the previous nine seasons, the Bruins were in third place late in the year, and general manager Harry Sinden fired Creighton, serving as interim coach for the remainder of the season himself. For the 1981 season, Cheevers was named as coach. Despite a shocking sweep in the 1981 playoffs to the Minnesota North Stars - the North Stars had never before won a game in Boston Garden in the sixteen years the team had been in the league - Sinden stuck with Cheevers, who led the Bruins to two first place and two second place finishes in their division, including to the league's best record in 1983, where the team fell only to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders in the semifinals.
Cheevers was replaced by Sinden midseason two years later. With a record of 204-126-46, he ranks 7th in career winning percentage (.604) for NHL coaches with more than 250 games experience.
After his departure as Bruins' coach, Cheevers served as a color commentator for the Hartford Whalers from 1986 to 1995 and the Boston Bruins from 1999 to 2002. From 1995-2006 he was a member of the Bruins' scouting staff. Cheevers has also devoted his time to his interests in thoroughbred horse racing.
- 1964–65 Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award, which goes to the AHL goalie with the best goals against average
- Played in the 1969 NHL All-Star Game
- 1973 WHA First Team All-Star, won Ben Hatskin Award for best goaltender
- 1979–80 Runner-up for the NHL's Vezina Trophy (Lowest goals against average at the time)
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985
- Inducted into the Rochester Americans Hall of Fame in 1987
- Inducted as an inaugural member into the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame in 2010
- 1974 Played for Team Canada at the Summit-74 series
- 1976 Spare goaltender for Team Canada in the Challenge Cup
- 1979 Played for NHL All Stars in the Challenge Cup vs. Team Soviet Union
|1956–57||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||OHA||1||0||0||0||60||4||0||4.00||—|
|1957–58||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||OHA||1||0||0||0||60||3||0||3.00||—|
|1958–59||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||OHA||6||0||0||0||360||28||0||4.67||—|
|1959–60||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||OHA||36||18||13||5||2160||111||5||3.08||—|
|1960–61||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||OHA||30||12||20||5||—||—||2||3.18||—|
|1961–62||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||EPHL||29||13||13||3||—||—||1||3.55||—|
|1961–62||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||2||1||1||0||—||—||0||3.00||.917|
|1965–66||Oklahoma City Blazers||CPHL||30||16||9||5||—||—||3||2.49||—|
|1966–67||Oklahoma City Blazers||CPHL||26||14||6||5||—||—||1||2.80||—|
|Team||Year||Regular season||Post season|
|Boston Bruins||1980-81||80||37||20||13||87||2nd in Adams||Lost in 1st Rd|
|1981-82||80||43||37||10||96||2nd in Adams||Lost in 2nd Rd|
|1982-83||80||50||20||10||110||1st in Adams||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|1983-84||80||49||25||9||104||1st in Adams||Lost in 1st Rd.|
|1988-85||56||25||24||7||(57)||4th in Adams||(fired)|
- Gerry Cheevers's biography at Legends of Hockey
- Gerry Cheevers Personal Site: http://www.gerrycheevers.com/
- Gerry Cheevers's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
|Head coach of the Boston Bruins
|Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award