Lou Fontinato

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Lou Fontinato
1958 Topps Lou Fontinato.JPG
Born (1932-01-20) January 20, 1932 (age 82)
Guelph, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1954–1963

Louis Joseph "Leapin' Louie" Fontinato (born January 20, 1932) was a defenceman in the National Hockey League with the New York Rangers from 1954 to 1961 and the Montreal Canadiens from 1961 to 1963.[1]

NHL career[edit]

Lou Fontinato was a rugged defender and the most feared enforcer of his time. He started his career with New York during the 1954-55 season. The following year, he led the NHL in penalty minutes, the highest total ever at that time.[2] He also led the league in that category in 1957-58 and 1961–62 (with Montreal). With the Rangers, Fontinato and Gordie Howe had a running feud that culminated in a fight at Madison Square Garden on February 1, 1959, in which Howe broke the nose and dislocated the jaw of "Leapin' Lou".[3] Fontinato was eventually traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Hall-of-Fame great Doug Harvey at the tail-end of his career. Fontinato's career came to an abrupt and violent end in 1963 at the Montreal Forum when he missed a check on left-winger Vic Hadfield of the Rangers behind the Montreal net, slammed head first into the boards, and became paralyzed for a month.[4]

Statistics[edit]

Season Team League Regular season Playoffs[5]
Games Goals Assists Points Penalties Games Goals Assists Points Penalties
1951-52 Guelph Biltmores OHA 48 6 25 31 0          
1952-53 Vancouver Canucks WHL 65 3 18 21 169 9 1 3 4 12
1953-54 Vancouver Canucks WHL                    
1953-54 Saskatoon Quakers WHL 0 4 14 18 147 6 0 1 1 25
1954-55 Vancouver Canucks WHL                    
1954-55 Saskatoon Quakers WHL 0 4 6 10 55          
1954-55 New York Rangers NHL 28 2 2 4 60          
1955-56 New York Rangers NHL 70 3 15 18 202 4 0 0 0 6
1956-57 New York Rangers NHL 70 3 12 15 139 5 0 0 0 7
1957-58 New York Rangers NHL 70 3 8 11 152 6 0 1 1 6
1958-59 New York Rangers NHL 64 7 6 13 149          
1959-60 New York Rangers NHL 64 2 11 13 137          
1960-61 New York Rangers NHL 53 2 3 5 100          
1961-62 Montreal Canadiens NHL 54 2 13 15 167 6 0 1 1 23
1962-63 Montreal Canadiens NHL 63 2 8 10 141          
NHL Total 536 26 78 104 1,247 21 0 2 2 42

Post-NHL experience[edit]

Fontinato currently runs a cattle operation near Eden Mills, Ontario.

Video clips[edit]

Legacy[edit]

In the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) by Russ Cohen, John Halligan and Adam Raider, the authors ranked Fontinato No. 95 on the all-time list of New York Rangers.

Gilles Groulx's 1964 National Film Board, 30-minute documentary film Un Jeu Si Simple includes footage of Lou Fontinato including his career-ending neck injury vs. NY Rangers on March 9, 1963.

In an email interview with Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe says a fight with Lou Fontinato was the most memorable of his career. [6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]