Bernie Parent

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Bernie Parent
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1984
Parent in 2023
Born (1945-04-03) April 3, 1945 (age 79)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for Boston Bruins
Philadelphia Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Philadelphia Blazers
Playing career 1965–1979

Bernard Marcel Parent (born April 3, 1945) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender who played 13 National Hockey League (NHL) seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs between 1965 and 1979, and also spent one season in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with the Philadelphia Blazers during the 1972–73 season. Parent is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest goaltenders of all time.[1]

During the 1973–74 and 1974–75 seasons, in what many consider the finest consecutive seasons ever by a goaltender,[2] the Flyers won the Stanley Cup twice and Parent won the Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy both seasons. In that two-year run of dominance, Parent posted 30 shutouts in regular and post season play combined. A 1984 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Parent was rated number 63 on The Hockey News' list of The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time in 1998.[3] Parent remains an iconic fan favorite in Philadelphia more than three decades after his retirement. In 2017 Parent was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.[4][5]

Early years[edit]

Parent is the youngest of seven siblings. He grew up in Rosemont, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. Parent's hero as a young boy was Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante, whose sister lived in Parent's neighbourhood. Many times Parent watched out for Plante's visits to his sister and her family.[6] Plante later became his teammate and mentor in 1971 for the Toronto Maple Leafs, when Plante was 43.[5]

As a Québécois, Parent's use of English was a never-ending source of locker room and bus trip humour, especially when he was excited. During his early playing career, Parent did not conduct interviews in English for fear of saying the wrong things.[citation needed]

Playing career[edit]

Parent played for the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA Junior A league. A two-time winner of the Dave Pinkney Trophy (lowest goals-against average or GAA), he wrapped up his junior career on the team that won the OHA championship and the Memorial Cup championship in 1965.

Parent began his career with the Boston Bruins in the 1965–66 season, appearing in 39 games. The following season was split between Boston and the Bruins' farm club in Oklahoma.

Left unprotected for the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, Parent was chosen by the Philadelphia Flyers where he and Doug Favell, another former Bruin prospect, split the netminding duties for the Flyers' first season. Parent recorded a 2.48 GAA with four shutouts and the Flyers finished first in the NHL's West Division. Over the next two seasons, with Favell performing inconsistently or injured, Parent became the Flyers' #1 goalie and appeared in 58 and 62 games for the Flyers achieving impressive Save Percentages of .925 and .921, although due to the weakness of the Flyers who allowed a lot of shots, his GAA and win totals were not nearly as impressive.

Looking for help up front to improve the club's offence, Philadelphia dealt Parent and a second-round pick in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft (Rick Kehoe) to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Bruce Gamble and a first-round selection (Pierre Plante) in the same draft in a three-way transaction that also involved Boston on January 31, 1971. The Flyers acquired Rick MacLeish and Danny Schock from the Bruins who received Mike Walton from the Maple Leafs.[7] The trade turned out to be a positive turn for Parent. In Toronto, Parent joined his boyhood hero, Jacques Plante, who at 42 was having an all-star season. Under Plante's tutelage, Parent became a more consistent and technically proficient goalie. Parent played well for the Leafs through the 1971–72 season, gaining valuable regular season and playoff experience.

Bernie Parent's return to the ice for the 2012 Winter Classic Alumni Game.

Without a contract with the Leafs for the 1972–73 season, Parent signed a large contract with the Miami Screaming Eagles of the newly forming World Hockey Association. He was the first NHL player to jump to the new league. The Eagles did not materialize as planned, and Parent signed with the Philadelphia Blazers. Parent faced a barrage of shots in 63 regular-season games for the Blazers in the defensively weak league. After leaving the team over a contract dispute during the 1973 WHA playoffs, he sought a return to the NHL but did not wish to return to the Leafs. Toronto traded Parent's NHL rights back to the Flyers for Favell and a first-round pick in that summer's (1973) amateur draft.

The next two seasons were the greatest of his career and would see Parent record a combined 30 regular and post-season shutout victories. Hockey scribes have often cited Parent's play between 1973 and 1975 as some of the best ever by a goaltender. Playing 73 games in a 78-game schedule, Parent sparkled in leading the league with a 1.89 GAA, a .933 Save Percentage and 12 shutouts. He began the 1973–74 season with two shutouts besting Favell 2–0 in the season opener against Toronto in Philadelphia. He shared the Vezina Trophy with Chicago's Tony Esposito (as Philadelphia and Chicago tied as the teams allowing the fewest goals against in the regular season), was named the first-team all-star goaltender and finished second in the voting for the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player (since 1963 the only goaltenders to win the Hart Trophy were Dominik Hašek in both 1996–97 and 1997–98, Jose Theodore in 2002, and Carey Price in 2015) as the Flyers skated to a first-place finish in the West Division. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) and the Flyers won the first of consecutive Stanley Cup Championships against the Boston Bruins. In the 6th and deciding game of the finals, Parent stopped a savage slapshot blast from Ken Hodge with a classic kick save move with less than 3 minutes to play on what turned out to be the Bruins' 30th and last shot. The spectacular save preserved the shutout and the championship-deciding win and became an often used highlight during advertising for NBC's coverage of the NHL the next season. The following year, he again posted 12 shutouts while having 2.03 GAA and a .918 Save Percentage. He won another Vezina Trophy, another first-team all-star selection and a second Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup while finishing fourth in the Hart Trophy voting. His 1975 playoff performance was even more impressive than the previous year as he had 4 shutouts (versus 2 the previous year) with a 1.89 GAA (versus 2.02). In both championship playoff runs, Parent shut out the opposition in the deciding sixth game of the Stanley Cup Finals defeating the Boston Bruins 1–0 in 1974 and the Buffalo Sabres 2–0 in 1975. "Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent" became a catch-phrase[8] and bumper sticker in Philadelphia in those years.

As the Flyers prepared a run at the championship for a third consecutive year, Parent was sidelined by a pre-season neck injury requiring surgery and he appeared in only 11 games in 1975–76. Parent had pinched a nerve in his neck causing radiating pain. Doctors removed a disk and a section of bone hoping to alleviate the symptoms but Parent suffered from continued pain in his neck throughout the rest of his career.[9] He returned to the lineup late in the season but he was inconsistent and could not regain the starting job from netminder Wayne Stephenson. Without Parent's Conn Smythe level performance that year, the Flyers fell in the Stanley Cup finals in four straight games to the Montreal Canadiens. Over the next three seasons, he experienced difficulties at times. Hockey was changing from a defense-oriented game to one that favored high scoring. Snipers like Mike Bossy, Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt were becoming major stars and dominating play. Plante, although in retirement, continued to have a strong influence on Parent's career. Parent, like Plante, was a stand-up type goalie. At one point Parent was playing poorly and considering retirement. Plante watched him practice in Philadelphia for two days, then told Parent exactly what he was doing wrong: sitting back on his heels, backing into his crease and losing concentration. Parent heeded Plante's advice and returned to form. During the 1977–1978 season, he adopted the more confident, challenging style characteristic of his play during the Championship years posting a 2.22 GAA, a 0.912 save percentage and a league-leading 7 shutouts in 49 games. However, as the 1970s were drawing to a close, the era of the stand-up goaltender was coming to an end. The never-before-seen goal-scoring totals of the early 1980s eventually forced a revolution in goaltender style and play. The butterfly style of Patrick Roy became the dominant style and the stand-up style of Parent and Plante became a relic of the NHL past. Parent is considered by many to be the last great stand-up goaltender.

On February 17, 1979, Parent suffered a career-ending eye injury in a game against the New York Rangers.[10] An errant stick entered the right eye hole of his mask, causing permanent damage to his vision.[10] After hospitalization, including the complete loss of sight for two weeks, Parent recovered and eventually regained sight, although not at the level required to resume his playing career.[10] He retired at age 34, an age considered to be "still in athletic prime" for goaltenders. This incident, as well as the ending of Gerry Desjardins' career when a puck struck his eye in 1977, led many NHL goalies to switch from fibreglass facemasks toward the cage and helmet style, and resulted in many amateur and junior leagues banning fibreglass masks altogether, mandating the helmet/cage combo.[citation needed]


The #1 Flyers sweater worn by Bernie Parent in his last game on February 17, 1979
Parent in 2012

After Parent's retirement the Flyers retired his sweater number (1) in his honor on October 11, 1979. He spent several years in the Flyers organization as goaltending coach, mentoring future Vezina-winning goalies Ron Hextall and the late Pelle Lindbergh, the latter of whom idolized Parent as a youngster in his native Sweden. Today, he is employed by the Flyers as Ambassador of Hockey. He can be seen at Flyers home games on the concourse.

Unable to deal with the early loss of his career, Parent turned to alcohol and eventually ended up in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. He has been sober for well over 30 years.[11]

In a 2007 interview with Philadelphia magazine, Parent sheepishly admitted he was watching the clock tick off the final seconds of the deciding game six against Boston in the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals and that he was not paying attention to play when Bobby Orr sent a desperation length of the ice shot toward the Flyers' goaltender. The puck went wide of the net with just 4 seconds to play. "If his shot is on net, it's a goal" Parent was quoted in the interview.[11] The game was over seconds later and the Flyers had won their first of consecutive championships.

Parent remains one of the most popular and iconic Flyers from their two championship teams with hockey fans in Philadelphia. Chants of "Bernie...Bernie...Bernie" that rocked the Philadelphia Spectrum during the team's championship years still greet Parent when he is recognized at current Flyer's events.

Parent was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. In 1998, he was ranked number 63 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

Parent has been a resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey[12] and had a shore house in Wildwood Crest, where he lived most of the years.[13] For seven months of every year, he lives on his 45-foot yacht named The French Connection.

On December 7, 2011, Parent announced via Twitter that he would be playing in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game, to be held on December 31, 2011.[14][non-primary source needed] Parent started in goal for the Flyers, playing five minutes and letting in no goals on five shots including a breakaway by New York Rangers legend Ron Duguay. He was later named the first star of the game.[citation needed]

Recently, Parent made an appearance on The Philly Sports Convo podcast, hosted by Philadelphia broadcaster Jason Lee. The episode, which aired on December 6, 2023, showcased Bernie's enduring passion for the game and his unique perspective on the world of sports. As he occasionally graces podcasts and shows, Bernie Parent remains a beloved figure, connecting with audiences through his charismatic presence and wealth of hockey wisdom.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Parent and Bobby Clarke statue in South Philadelphia

Parent has a book, written by Michele Paiva, Dean Smith and himself, "Journey Through Risk and Fear", published by Balletsa, Inc Publishing, which touches upon his trials and tribulations but mostly, how to overcome fear, face challenges, find purpose and obtain goals.[citation needed]


  • Previously Bernie held the mark for most wins in a season (47), surpassed by New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur during the 2006–07 season with 48 wins. His 47 win season in 1973–74 is still the record for most regulation time wins in a single season.[15] Parent did not have the benefit of overtime or shootouts or a longer season in his era.
  • Bernie was the fourth hockey player and third goalie to appear on the cover of Time magazine on February 24, 1975 (Lorne Chabot was first on February 11, 1935, and Dave Kerr on March 14, 1938, was the second).

Career statistics[edit]

Bolded numbers indicate league leader.

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
1963–64 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA 28 1680 80 4 2.86 4 0 4 240 26 0 6.50
1964–65 Niagara Falls Flyers OHA 34 2004 86 2 2.58 8 6 2 480 15 1 1.86
1964–65 Niagara Falls Flyers M-Cup 13 10 2 700 19 2 1.63
1965–66 Boston Bruins NHL 39 11 20 3 2083 128 1 3.69 .894
1965–66 Oklahoma City Blazers CPHL 3 1 1 1 180 11 0 3.67
1966–67 Boston Bruins NHL 18 4 12 2 1022 62 0 3.64 .893
1966–67 Oklahoma City Blazers CPHL 14 10 4 0 820 37 4 2.70
1967–68 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 38 16 17 5 2248 93 4 2.48 .925 5 2 3 355 8 0 1.35 .963
1968–69 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 58 17 23 16 3365 151 1 2.69 .925 3 0 3 180 12 0 4.00 .872
1969–70 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 62 13 29 20 3680 171 3 2.79 .921
1970–71 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 30 9 12 6 1586 73 2 2.76 .912
1970–71 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 18 7 7 3 1040 46 0 2.65 .916 4 2 2 235 9 0 2.30 .922
1971–72 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 47 17 18 9 2715 116 3 2.56 .914 4 1 3 243 13 0 3.21 .912
1972–73 Philadelphia Blazers WHA 63 33 28 0 3653 220 2 3.61 .886 1 0 1 70 3 0 2.57 .929
1973–74 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 73 47 13 12 4314 136 12 1.89 .933 17 12 5 1042 35 2 2.02 .933
1974–75 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 68 44 14 10 4041 137 12 2.03 .918 15 10 5 922 29 4 1.89 .924
1975–76 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 11 6 2 3 615 24 0 2.34 .907 8 4 4 480 27 0 3.38 .892
1976–77 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 61 35 13 12 3525 159 5 2.71 .899 3 0 3 123 8 0 3.90 .814
1977–78 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 49 29 6 13 2923 108 7 2.22 .912 12 7 5 722 33 0 2.74 .891
1978–79 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 36 16 12 7 1979 89 4 2.70 .893
WHA totals 63 33 28 0 3653 220 2 3.61 .886 1 0 1 70 3 0 2.57 .929
NHL totals 608 271 198 121 35,136 1,493 55 2.55 .915 71 38 33 4,302 174 6 2.43 .916

"Parent's stats". The Goaltender Home Page. Retrieved August 7, 2017.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boyle, Chris (October 24, 2014). "Stats say the greatest NHL goalie is… ?". Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Jackson, Jim. Walking Together Forever: The Broad Street Bullies, Then and Now. Sports Publishing L.L.C. p. 37.
  3. ^ Dryden, Steve (1998). The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time.
  4. ^ "100 Greatest NHL Players". National Hockey League. January 27, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  5. ^ a b NHL (March 22, 2017), Bernie Parent backstopped Flyers to back-to-back Cups, retrieved April 25, 2017
  6. ^ Bernie Parent: 100 Greatest NHL Players
  7. ^ O'Hara, Dave. "Mike Walton Traded to Bruins," The Associated Press, Monday, February 1, 1971.
  8. ^ Sagal, Peter (July 1, 2017). "Not My Job: Former Flyers Goalie Bernie Parent Gets Quizzed On (Cake) Icing". NPR WNYC. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  9. ^ "Parent surgery a success". Boca Raton News. October 22, 1975. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Parent's eye injury forces his retirement". Lakeland Ledger. Associated Press. June 1, 1979. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Rys, Richard (November 20, 2007). "Legends: Bernie Parent Has a Secret". Philadelphia. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Fitzgerald, Barbara; Strauss, Robert (April 13, 2003). "Worth Noting; And a Team in Pennsauken Loses Its Owner". The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2008. Mr. Parent, who lives in Cherry Hill, is a marketing account executive in the insurance division at Commerce and has long been an investor in the team.
  13. ^ Brooks, Melissa (September 5, 2010). "Hall of Famer Bernie Parent's locker a GNPAL raffle prize". The Times Herald: Pennsylvania. Retrieved October 31, 2015. "When retrieving his locker from the Spectrum with business manager and friend Dean Smith, Parent, who lives in Wildwood Crest most of the year, was hit with emotions."
  14. ^ Parent, Bernie. "Bernie Parent, Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  15. ^ "Flyers History - NHL Records Held/Shared By Flyers". Retrieved March 29, 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
1974, 1975
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Vezina Trophy
tied with Tony Esposito (1974)

1974, 1975
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Class Guy Award
Succeeded by