Andy Bathgate

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Andy Bathgate
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1978
Topps 1957 Andy Bathgate.png
Born (1932-08-28) August 28, 1932 (age 83)
Winnipeg, MB, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 183 lb (83 kg; 13 st 1 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for NHL
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Detroit Red Wings
Pittsburgh Penguins
WHA
Vancouver Blazers
WHL
Vancouver Canucks
AHL
Cleveland Barons
Pittsburgh Hornets
Nat-A
Ambrì-Piotta
Playing career 1952–1975

Andrew James Bathgate (born August 28, 1932) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey right wing who played 17 seasons in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Playing career[edit]

Andy Bathgate was a popular star player of the New York Rangers and also holds the honour of being declared the MVP of both the NHL and WHL. He started his professional career with the Cleveland Barons of the AHL in the 1952–53 season. He bounced between the Vancouver Canucks and the Rangers for two seasons before settling with the Rangers in 1954–55. He played 10 full seasons with the Rangers, where he became a popular player in New York as well as a top-tiered player in the NHL.

In 1961–62, Bathgate and Bobby Hull led the league in points, but Bathgate lost the Art Ross Trophy to Bobby Hull because Hull had more goals.

Andy Bathgate's career was frustrated by the mediocre play of the Rangers and a nagging knee problem. He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1963–64 season, where he immediately helped Toronto to a Stanley Cup championship, and later was dealt to the Detroit Red Wings, where he helped the team reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 1965–66. Bathgate was chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, and after one season, he returned to the Canucks where he would help lead the team to two consecutive Lester Patrick Cup victories, in 1969 and 1970. His best professional year was with them, where he scored 108 points in 1969–70. That performance gave him the George Leader Cup, the top player award in the WHL. Andy Bathgate's final NHL year was with the Penguins in 1971; 1971–1972 he was playing coach for HC Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland. He came briefly out of retirement three seasons later to play for the Vancouver Blazers of the WHA, which he had coached the previous season, but retired for good after 11 games.

Andy Bathgate won the Hart Memorial Trophy for the MVP of the NHL in 1958–59 after scoring 40 goals, which was no easy feat in that era. He is famous for contributing to one of the greatest innovations in NHL history. Renowned for the strength of his slapshot, during a game against the Montreal Canadiens, Bathgate shot the puck into the face of Jacques Plante, forcing Plante to receive stitches. When Plante returned to the ice, he was wearing a mask. That started a trend that continues to this day.

Stance against spearing[edit]

In December 1959, Bathgate produced a controversial article for True magazine in which he warned that hockey's "unchecked brutality is going to kill somebody".[1] The article, titled "Atrocities on Ice", was ghostwritten by Dave Anderson, who was then a sports journalist with the now defunct New York Journal-American, and appeared in True magazine's January 1960 edition. Bathgate focused mostly on the tactic of spearing, where a player stabs at an opponent with the blade or point of his stick. In a section titled "Andy Bathgate's rogues gallery" six players were highlighted as the most brutal, with their photographs captioned with a short description by Bathgate. These were Detroit's Gordie Howe ("meanest player in the league; uses all the tricks—plus"); Chicago's Ted Lindsay ("seldom drops his stick in a fight"); Montreal's Tom Johnson ("one of the five notorious spearing specialists in the NHL"); Montreal's Doug Harvey ("lucky he doesn't have a spearing death on his conscience"); Boston's Fern Flaman ("he's had too many accidents to believe"); and New York's Lou Fontinato ("likes to use the stick but uses his fists in a real fight").[1][2]

Responding to the article Toe Blake, the Montreal Canadiens' head coach, admitted that Montreal players used spearing, but claimed it was purely a defensive tactic "necessary to defend against an illegal play pattern used often by the Rangers." Blake said: "They like to skate into our zone against the defence and drop the puck for a teammate following right behind. Then they skate into our defenceman, blocking him out of the play illegally through interference. Our players have sometimes had to spear to fend off the interfering player and keep in play."[1][3] Doug Harvey also admitted spearing, saying: "Sure, we will spear on occasion. We've got to when they run interference," and that he used it "only for defensive purposes."[1][3][4]

Bathgate wrote of the offenders: "None of them seems to care that he'll be branded as a hockey killer."[5] In response the NHL fined him for "comments definitely prejudicial to the league and the game."[6] Speaking in 2010, Bathgate said: "We had an episode where fellas were spearing other players. So I wrote an article with Dave Anderson of The New York Times called 'Atrocities on Ice.' Red Sullivan, I saw him speared right in front of our bench and have his spleen punctured. It was getting out of hand. I wrote this article and got fined for it. I got fined $1,000—and I was only making $18,000 at the time—so you take that, plus the $1,000 we had to pay into our pension, that’s a lot of money out of your pocket. They changed the rule at the end of the year but they still didn't give me my $1,000 back. It burns my (butt) at times, but you have to stand up for it. Sometimes, you've got to speak up for the betterment of hockey because someone was going to get seriously hurt."[7]

Post-retirement[edit]

Bathgate currently owns and manages a 20-acre (81,000 m2) driving range in Mississauga, Ontario. During the winters he helps coach his grandson's hockey team. He has also stated that he is unlikely to play in any more old-timer's games, citing recent hip surgery. "Those old fellas get too serious. They'll start hooking you." [8]

The Rangers retired his #9 along with Harry Howell's #3 in a special ceremony before the February 22, 2009, match against the Maple Leafs. Bathgate joined Adam Graves, whose #9 had been hoisted to the Madison Square Garden rafters 19 nights earlier.[9] Graves called Bathgate "the greatest Ranger to ever wear the #9".

Personal life[edit]

His grandson and namesake, Andy Bathgate, born 26 February 1991, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and currently plays for the Wichita Thunder.[10]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1948–49 Winnipeg Black Hawks MJHL 1 0 0 0 0
1949–50 Guelph Biltmores OHA-Jr. 41 21 25 46 28 15 6 9 15 12
1949–50 Guelph Biltmores M-Cup 11 10 5 15 8
1950–51 Guelph Biltmores OHA-Jr. 52 33 57 90 66 5 6 1 7 9
1951–52 Guelph Biltmores OHA-Jr. 34 27 50 77 20 11 6 10 16 18
1951–52 Guelph Biltmores M-Cup 12 8 12 20 21
1952–53 Guelph Biltmores OHA-Jr. 2 2 1 3 0
1952–53 New York Rangers NHL 18 0 1 1 6
1952–53 Vancouver Canucks WHL 37 13 13 26 29 9 11 4 15 2
1953–54 New York Rangers NHL 20 2 2 4 18
1953–54 Vancouver Canucks WHL 17 12 10 22 6
1953–54 Cleveland Barons AHL 36 13 19 32 44 9 3 5 8 8
1954–55 New York Rangers NHL 70 20 20 40 37
1955–56 New York Rangers NHL 70 19 47 66 59 5 1 2 3 2
1956–57 New York Rangers NHL 70 27 50 77 60 5 2 0 2 27
1957–58 New York Rangers NHL 65 30 48 78 42 6 5 3 8 6
1958–59 New York Rangers NHL 70 40 48 88 48
1959–60 New York Rangers NHL 70 26 48 74 28
1960–61 New York Rangers NHL 70 29 48 77 22
1961–62 New York Rangers NHL 70 28 56 84 44 6 1 2 3 4
1962–63 New York Rangers NHL 70 35 46 81 54
1963–64 New York Rangers NHL 56 16 43 59 26
1963–64 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 15 3 15 18 8 14 5 4 9 25
1964–65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 55 16 29 45 34 6 1 0 1 6
1965–66 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 15 32 47 25 12 6 3 9 6
1966–67 Detroit Red Wings NHL 60 8 23 31 24
1966–67 Pittsburgh Hornets AHL 6 4 6 10 7
1967–68 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 74 20 39 59 55
1968–69 Vancouver Canucks WHL 71 37 36 73 44 8 3 5 8 5
1969–70 Vancouver Canucks WHL 72 40 68 108 66 16 7 5 12 8
1970–71 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 76 15 29 44 34
1971–72 HC Ambrì-Piotta NDA 21 20 15 35
1974–75 Vancouver Blazers WHA 11 1 6 7 2
NHL totals 1069 349 624 973 624 54 21 14 35 76

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
Vancouver Blazers 1973–74 59 21 37 1 (43) 5th in WHA West Missed playoffs

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Hockey's "Unchecked Brutality" Will Kill Claims Andy Bathgate". Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa). December 10, 1959. p. 17. 
  2. ^ "Dan Parker Says". The Gazette (Montreal). December 18, 1959. p. 27. 
  3. ^ a b "Habs Admit Spearing But Only In Self Defense". The Gazette (Montreal). December 10, 1959. p. 25. 
  4. ^ "Spear Carrier". The Spokesman-Review (Spokane). May 6, 1960. p. 19. 
  5. ^ Klein, Jeff Z. (March 19, 2009). "Atrocities on Ice and the Good Old Days". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Editorial Notes And Comments". Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa). December 28, 1959. p. 6. 
  7. ^ "Mellon Arena memories: Andy Bathgate". Sitting Ringside. April 8, 2010. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  8. ^ White, Nancy J. (October 16, 2007). "With good health, 'you've got everything'". Toronto Star (Toronto). Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ David, Dan (February 22, 2009). "Bathgate, Howell come home to the rafters". rangers.nhl.com. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Andy Bathgate". Elite Prospects. 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  11. ^ Ziegel, Vic (February 22, 2009). "Ranger greats Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell go up to Garden rafters". Daily News (New York). Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Andy Bathgate". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. April 22, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
George Sullivan
New York Rangers captain
196164
Succeeded by
Camille Henry
Awards
Preceded by
Gordie Howe
Winner of the Hart Trophy
1959
Succeeded by
Gordie Howe
Preceded by
John Hanna
Winner of the George Leader Cup
1969–70
Succeeded by
Art Jones