Gilles Villemure

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Gilles Villemure
Gilles Villemure 1976.JPG
Villemure in 1976
Born (1940-05-30) May 30, 1940 (age 74)
Trois-Rivières, QC, CAN
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Right
Played for WHL
Vancouver Canucks
AHL
Baltimore Clippers
Buffalo Bisons
NHL
New York Rangers
Chicago Black Hawks
Playing career 1963–1977

Joseph Hector Gilles Villemure (born May 30, 1940 in Trois-Rivières, Quebec) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. He played for the New York Rangers and Chicago Black Hawks in the 1960s and 1970s.

Playing career[edit]

After a season in the junior leagues with the Guelph Biltmores of the OHA, Gilles Villemure had a lengthy ten-year apprenticeship in the minor leagues, principally with the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL, the Baltimore Clippers and the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. He was a star in the minors, but despite being signed by the Rangers in 1964, he only saw spot duty in New York during the Sixties. However, in each of his final two seasons in the AHL (1968-69 and 1969-70), he won the Les Cunningham Award with the Bisons as the league's most valuable player, leading all goaltenders in the playoffs the second year to backstop the Bisons to the Calder Cup in their final season. During his minor league career, he led his league in goals against average three times and in shutouts five times.

Rangers' management took notice, and the 1970–71 season saw Villemure recalled for good as the backup to Eddie Giacomin. Over the next three seasons, Villemure recorded a sparkling 66–27–10 mark, with ten shutouts and a goals-against average never higher than 2.30, and shared the Vezina Trophy with Giacomin in 1971. He was named to play in the NHL All-Star Game all three seasons, allowing only a single goal and recording the lowest career GAA of any All-Star Game goaltender. The Rangers were a powerhouse in that time, reaching the Stanley Cup finals in 1972.

By the 1974–75 season, with both goaltenders aging, Villemure had become the number one goaltender in New York, but had only modest success, and was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks in the offseason. He backed up Tony Esposito his two remaining years, only appearing in 21 games in all, retiring after the 1976–77 season.

In total, Villemure appeared in 205 NHL games, notching 100 wins, 13 shutouts and a 2.81 career goals against average.

During the hockey offseason, Villemure was a professional harness racehorse driver.

He now resides in Levittown, New York.

Awards and honors[edit]

Villemure 1963 trading card

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1958-59 Troy Bruins IHL 3 1 2 0 180 18 0 6.00
1959-60 Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters OHA-Jr. 35 1980 128 1 3.66
1960-61 New York Rovers EHL 51 16 34 1 3060 223 1 4.37
1961-62 Long Island Ducks EHL 65 25 39 1 3900 242 3 3.72
1961-62 Charlotte Checkers EHL 1 0 1 0 60 7 0 7.00
1961-62 Johnstown Jets EHL 1 1 0 0 60 2 0 2.00
1962-63 Vancouver Canucks WHL 70 35 31 4 4200 228 5 3.26
1963-64 Baltimore Clippers AHL 66 31 33 2 3960 192 3 2.91
1963-64 New York Rangers NHL 5 0 2 3 300 18 0 3.60
1964-65 Vancouver Canucks WHL 60 27 26 6 3676 212 2 3.46
1965-66 Vancouver Canucks WHL 69 32 34 3 4178 223 5 3.20
1966-67 Baltimore Clippers AHL 70 34 27 9 4180 238 4 3.42
1967-68 New York Rangers NHL 4 1 2 0 200 8 1 2.40
1967-68 Buffalo Bisons AHL 37 18 13 6 2160 89 3 2.47
1968-69 New York Rangers NHL 4 2 1 1 240 9 0 2.25
1968-69 Buffalo Bisons AHL 62 36 12 14 3674 148 6 2.42
1969-70 Buffalo Bisons AHL 65 3714 156 8 2.52
1970-71 New York Rangers NHL 34 22 8 4 2039 78 4 2.30
1971-72 New York Rangers NHL 37 24 7 4 2129 74 3 2.09
1972-73 New York Rangers NHL 34 20 12 2 2040 78 3 2.29
1973-74 New York Rangers NHL 21 7 7 3 1054 62 0 3.53
1974-75 New York Rangers NHL 45 22 14 6 2470 130 2 3.16
1975-76 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 15 2 7 5 797 57 0 4.29
1976-77 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 6 0 4 1 312 28 0 5.38
WHL totals 199 98 91 13 12,504 663 12 3.18
NHL totals 205 100 64 29 11,581 542 13 2.81

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA
1959-60 Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters OHA-Jr. 5 300 19 1 3.80
1962-63 Vancouver Canucks WHL 7 3 4 429 27 1 3.78
1964-65 Vancouver Canucks WHL 5 1 4 309 17 0 3.30
1965-66 Vancouver Canucks WHL 7 3 4 420 27 0 3.86
1966-67 Baltimore Clippers AHL 9 4 5 569 39 0 4.11
1967-68 Buffalo Bisons AHL 5 1 3 247 15 0 3.64
1968-69 New York Rangers NHL 1 0 1 60 4 0 4.00
1968-69 Buffalo Bisons AHL 6 2 4 360 19 1 3.17
1969-70 Buffalo Bisons AHL 14 11 3 875 31 1 2.13
1970-71 New York Rangers NHL 2 0 1 80 6 0 4.50
1971-72 New York Rangers NHL 6 4 2 360 14 0 2.33
1972-73 New York Rangers NHL 2 0 1 61 2 0 1.67
1973-74 New York Rangers NHL 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
1974-75 New York Rangers NHL 2 1 0 94 6 0 3.83
WHL totals 19 7 12 1158 71 1 3.68
NHL totals 14 5 5 656 32 0 2.93

External links[edit]

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

1971
Succeeded by
Tony Esposito
and Gary Smith