Gump Worsley

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Gump Worsley
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1980
1962 Topps Gump Worsley.png
Born (1929-05-14)May 14, 1929
Montreal, QC, CAN
Died January 26, 2007(2007-01-26) (aged 77)
Beloeil, QC, CAN
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight 155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens
Minnesota North Stars
Playing career 1952–1974

Lorne John "Gump" Worsley (May 14, 1929 – January 26, 2007) was a professional ice hockey goaltender. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, 'Gump' was given his nickname because friends thought he looked like comic-strip character Andy Gump.

Career[edit]

At the outset of his career, Worsley played four years in the minor leagues, most notably for the New York Rovers of the EHL, the St. Paul Saints of the USHL, and the Saskatoon Quakers of the WHL. For three straight seasons between 1950 and 1952, he achieved success with all three teams, garnering First Team All-Star and leading goaltender recognition.

In the fall of 1952 he was signed by the New York Rangers of the NHL; though playing for a last place team, won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. However, after asking for a $500 a year pay increase, he was promptly returned to the minor leagues the following season. In 1954, playing for the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL, he won the league most valuable player award.

In 1954, Worsley resumed as the Rangers starting goaltender, beating out future NHL star Johnny Bower. Wearing the traditional number 1 for goaltenders, he toiled for the Rangers for the next nine seasons, generally playing well for poor performing teams.

In the summer of 1963, he became involved in a proposed players' union, and was promptly traded to the Montreal Canadiens. While he was relegated to the minor-league Quebec Aces for parts of two seasons — and characteristically winning First Team All-Star honors in the AHL in 1964 — Worsley played his best years for the Canadiens as a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams: 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969. His best season was 1968, where he followed up a Vezina-winning performance and a career-low 1.98 goals against average by going undefeated in the playoffs with eleven straight wins. In dispute with Sam Pollock, Montreal general manager, over refusal to be demoted to the minors, and coach Claude Ruel's consistent playing of Rogatien Vachon, he quit in the midst of the 1969–70 season. Suspended for not reporting to the Canadiens' Montreal Voyageurs farm team, Phil Myre was assigned to replace him.

Worsley was lured from retirement by the Minnesota North Stars to play in tandem with Cesare Maniago; he starred for parts of five more years, retiring at the age of 44 after the 1973–74 season. His best season with the North Stars was 1972, where he was second in the league with a 2.12 goals against average. Named to play in the 25th National Hockey League All-Star Game, Worsley was the first goaltender to have won 300 games and lost 300 games.[1] This feat was later accomplished by Curtis Joseph.

Worsley was known for his wry sense of humour and various eccentricities. Early in his career with the Rangers, regularly facing 40–50 shots a night, he was asked: "Which team gives you the most trouble?" His reply - "The New York Rangers." Accused by Rangers' coach Phil Watson of having a beer belly, he replied, "Just goes to show you what he knows. I only drink Johnnie Walker Red."

Worsley was vehemently opposed to wearing a mask. He was the second-to-last professional hockey goaltender to play without a mask. Andy Brown of the Indianapolis Racers was the last, the following season - wearing a mask in the last six games of his career. Asked about why he chose to go without, Worsley told reporters: "My face is my mask."[2]

Worsley was also well known for his fear of flying. On November 25[3] en route to Los Angeles, he suffered a nervous breakdown after a rough flight from Montreal's Dorval Airport to Chicago. Subsequently, he received psychiatric treatment and missed action. It is said upon emerging from retirement to play for the North Stars he was assured, as Minnesota was in the central part of the continent, the team traveled less than any other in the league.

In his early days he was an outstanding soccer player, beginning his career as a junior with Westmount; in 1948 he was a member of the Montreal youth all-star team. As a promising young player, he soon attracted attention; the following year he moved up to McMasterville in the Montreal League. There he was selected to play in a trial game from which the Montreal all-stars were chosen to play the touring English club Fulham in 1951. In the summer of 1952, while playing hockey for the Saskatoon Quakers, he played centre forward for the Saskatoon All-stars against the touring Tottenham Hotspur from England. By 1953 he was playing centre half for the Montreal Hakoah; he captained Montreal Hakoah at centre half in the Canadian Challenge Trophy final. In the National Challenge Cup final Hakoah lost to Westminster Royals in a three game series, two of which ended in ties. In 1954, continued his soccer career with Montreal Vickers. His father was also an outstanding soccer player and won a Canadian championship medal with Montreal Grand Trunk in 1919.

Injuries[edit]

Worsley suffered many injuries during his career, including: a near career-ending back injury while with Vancouver of the WHL, when Gus Kyle hit him from behind; a knee problem in the 1956 playoffs that required surgery; a severed tendon in 1960; in 1961, a shot from Bobby Hull that hit him in the forehead; a pulled hamstring that same year; a pulled hamstring in 1963–64; knee surgery in 1966, followed by a sprained knee then a concussion from a hard-boiled egg thrown by a New York fan; a broken finger in the 1969 playoffs; a pulled hamstring in 1972–73 that reduced his effectiveness to the point he temporarily retired from hockey. The blast to the forehead from Bobby Hull landed him, unconscious, in Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. Upon awakening, asked how he was feeling, Gump replied: "Good thing the puck hit me flat!"[4]

Retirement and death[edit]

At the time of his retirement, Worsley had played more games than any goalie except for Terry Sawchuk and Glenn Hall. He retired with a record of 335 wins, 352 losses and 150 ties, with 43 shutouts, and a goals against average of 2.91.

Worsley suffered a heart attack on January 22, 2007, and died at his home in Beloeil, Quebec on January 26, 2007.[5]

Legacy[edit]

Two Canadian indie rock bands, Huevos Rancheros ("Gump Worsley's Lament") and The Weakerthans ("Elegy for Gump Worsley"), have recorded tribute songs to Worsley. Canadian band Sons of Freedom also named their second album Gump after Worsley.

Career achievements and facts[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1946–47 Verdun Cyclones QJHL 25 6 18 1 1500 138 3 5.52
1947–48 Verdun Cyclones QJHL 29 13 11 5 1740 95 1 3.28
1948–49 Montreal St. Francis Xavier MMJHL 47 24 21 2 2840 122 7 2.58
1948–49 New York Rovers QSHL 2 120 5 0 2.50
1949–50 New York Rovers EAHL 47 25 17 5 2830 133 7 2.86
1949–50 New Haven Ramblers AHL 2 2 0 0 120 4 0 2.00
1950–51 St. Paul Saints USHL 64 33 26 5 3920 184 3 2.82
1951–52 Saskatoon Quakers PCHL 66 33 19 14 3960 206 5 3.07
1952–53 Saskatoon Quakers WHL 13 5 7 1 780 50 0 3.84
1952–53 Edmonton Flyers WHL 1 1 0 0 60 2 0 2.00
1952–53 New York Rangers NHL 50 13 29 8 3000 153 2 3.06
1953–54 Vancouver Canucks WHL 70 39 24 7 4200 168 4 2.40
1954–55 New York Rangers NHL 65 15 33 17 3900 197 4 3.03
1955-56 New York Rangers NHL 70 32 28 10 4200 198 4 2.83
1956–57 New York Rangers NHL 68 26 28 14 4080 216 3 3.18
1957–58 New York Rangers NHL 37 21 10 6 2200 86 4 2.32
1957–58 Providence Reds AHL 25 12 11 2 1528 83 0 3.26
1958–59 New York Rangers NHL 67 26 30 11 4001 198 2 2.97
1959–60 New York Rangers NHL 39 7 23 8 2301 135 0 3.52
1959–60 Springfield Indians AHL 15 11 3 1 900 33 3 2.20
1960–61 New York Rangers NHL 59 20 29 8 3473 190 1 3.28
1961–62 New York Rangers NHL 60 22 27 9 3531 172 2 2.92
1962–63 New York Rangers NHL 67 22 34 10 3980 217 2 3.27
1963–64 Montreal Canadiens NHL 8 3 2 2 444 22 1 2.97
1963–64 Quebec Aces AHL 47 30 16 1 2820 128 5 2.72
1964–65 Quebec Aces AHL 37 24 12 1 2247 101 2 2.70
1964–65 Montreal Canadiens NHL 19 10 7 1 1020 50 1 2.94
1965–66 Montreal Canadiens NHL 51 29 14 6 2899 114 2 2.36
1966–67 Montreal Canadiens NHL 18 9 6 2 888 47 1 3.18
1967–68 Montreal Canadiens NHL 40 19 9 8 2213 73 6 1.98
1968–69 Montreal Canadiens NHL 30 19 5 4 1703 64 5 2.25
1969–70 Montreal Canadiens NHL 5 3 1 2 360 14 0 2.33
1969–70 Minnesota North Stars NHL 8 5 1 1 453 20 1 2.65
1970–71 Minnesota North Stars NHL 24 4 10 8 1369 57 0 2.50
1971–72 Minnesota North Stars NHL 34 16 10 7 1923 68 2 2.12
1972–73 Minnesota North Stars NHL 12 6 2 3 624 30 0 2.88
1973–74 Minnesota North Stars NHL 29 8 14 5 1601 86 0 3.22
NHL totals 861 335 352 150 50,183 2407 43 2.88

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA
1947-48 Verdun Cyclones QJHL 5 1 4 317 21 0 3.97
1948-49 Montreal St. Francis Xavier MMJHL 5 2 3 310 16 0 3.10
1949-50 New York Rovers EAHL 12 8 2 720 27 1 2.25
1950-51 St. Paul Saints USHL 4 1 3 257 9 0 2.19
1951-52 Saskatoon Quakers PCHL 13 10 3 818 31 1 2.27
1953-54 Vancouver Canucks WHL 12 7 4 709 29 0 2.45
1955-56 New York Rangers NHL 3 0 3 190 14 0 4.67
1956-57 New York Rangers NHL 5 1 4 316 21 0 3.99
1957-58 New York Rangers NHL 6 2 4 365 28 0 4.60
1961-62 New York Rangers NHL 6 2 4 384 21 0 3.28
1963-64 Quebec Aces AHL 9 4 5 543 29 0 3.20
1964-65 Montreal Canadiens NHL 8 5 3 501 14 2 1.68
1965-66 Montreal Canadiens NHL 10 8 2 602 20 1 1.99
1966-67 Montreal Canadiens NHL 2 0 1 80 2 0 1.50
1967-68 Montreal Canadiens NHL 12 11 0 672 21 1 1.88
1968-69 Montreal Canadiens NHL 7 5 1 370 14 0 2.27
1969-70 Minnesota North Stars NHL 3 1 2 180 14 0 4.67
1970-71 Minnesota North Stars NHL 4 3 1 240 13 0 3.25
1971-72 Minnesota North Stars NHL 4 2 1 194 7 1 2.16
NHL totals 70 40 26 4084 189 5 2.78

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hockey’s Book of Firsts, p.18, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  2. ^ Litsky, Frank (29 January 2007). "Gump Worsley, 77, Hall of Famer Who Won Four Titles, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Toronto Star, Monday 25 November 1968, page 15
  4. ^ "Gump Worsley". Legends of Hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Associated Press (28 January 2007). "Worsley, who helped Montreal to four Cups, dies at 77". ESPN. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  • They Call Me Gump by Lorne "Gump" Worsley with Tim Moriarty
  • The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Volume 3 by Charles L. Coleman
  • The Complete Encyclopedia of Hockey edited by Zander Hollander

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Winner of the Calder Trophy
1953
Succeeded by
Camille Henry
Preceded by
Johnny Bower
and Terry Sawchuk
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Charlie Hodge

1966
Succeeded by
Denis DeJordy
and Glenn Hall
Preceded by
Denis DeJordy
and Glenn Hall
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Rogatien Vachon

1968
Succeeded by
Glenn Hall
and Jacques Plante