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Connie Dion

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Connie Dion
Born (1918-08-11)August 11, 1918
Saint-Rémi-de-Tingwick, Quebec
Died November 7, 2014(2014-11-07) (aged 96)
Asbestos, Quebec
Height 5 ft 4 in (163 cm)
Weight 140 lb (64 kg; 10 st 0 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Right
NHL team Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 1937–1954

Joseph Conrad Étienne Dion (August 11, 1918 – November 7, 2014) was a professional ice hockey player who played two seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Detroit Red Wings. One of thirteen children, Dion got his start as a goaltender with the Junior Verdun Maple Leafs in 1937 and had his first full season as a senior with the team the following year. After several seasons in the Quebec Senior and Professional Hockey Leagues, he was recruited by the Red Wings in 1943 as a potential replacement for Johnny Mowers, who had enlisted to fight in World War II. He spent two years with the team, earning a win-loss-tie record of 23–11–4 and taking part in the most lopsided shutout (15–0) in NHL history as the goalie for the winning side.

After being traded down to the American Hockey League (AHL) in 1945, Dion continued to play professional hockey for nearly a decade, primarily with the Buffalo Bisons, and earned the Harry Hap Holmes Memorial Award in 1950 by being the goaltender with the lowest goals against average in the league. He retired from active competition in 1954 and moved to Asbestos, Quebec, where he was active in the local ice hockey and golf scenes. The arena in Asbestos, Aréna Connie Dion, is named in his honor.

Early life[edit]

Dion was born on August 11, 1918 in Saint-Rémi-de-Tingwick, Quebec[1] and had twelve siblings: six brothers and six sisters.[2] He got his start as an ice hockey goaltender with the Junior Verdun Maple Leafs of the Quebec Junior Hockey League in 1937 and was selected as one of the goaltenders for the 1938 Memorial Cup All-Star team. He also played one game with the senior Maple Leafs that season.[3] He served briefly in the Canadian Army in Cornwall, Ontario and also worked as an asbestos miner for Johns Manville prior to quitting that job to play professional hockey.[4]

Hockey career[edit]

A dignitary presents a suitcase to Connie Dion during a hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings, in March 1944.

Dion had his first full season in ice hockey as a senior as a member of the Lachine Rapides of the Quebec Provincial Hockey League in 1938–39, and joined the league's Sherbrooke Red Raiders the following year. With the Red Raiders he took part in two playoff games for the 1940 Allan Cup, but lost them both after allowing 16 goals. Reporting to the Army for World War II service, he suited up for the Cornwall Flyers of the Quebec Senior Hockey League (QSHL) for three seasons (the team was renamed Cornwall Army in 1942). He was traded to the Washington Lions of the American Hockey League in 1941, but did not report.[1]

In 1943 Dion, after being discharged from the army, was among those selected to help replace Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Johnny Mowers of the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings, who had enlisted in the army to fight in World War II.[4] He played a total of 38 NHL games with the Red Wings between 1943 and 1945, exiting the league with a record of 23–11–4 and having allowed 119 goals. He recorded a 15–0 shutout against the New York Rangers on January 23, 1944, two days before being signed as a free agent with Detroit.[1] This remains, as of 2015, the most lopsided shutout in NHL history.[5] He also took part in all five of Detroit's games in the 1944 Stanley Cup playoffs, where the Red Wings were eliminated four games to one in the opening round by the eventual runner-up, the Chicago Black Hawks. Dion spent much of the 1944–45 season, meanwhile, with the Red Wings' AHL affiliate Indianapolis Capitals. In August 1945, after the Red Wings decided to replace Mowers permanently with Harry Lumley,[4] Dion was traded to the St. Louis Flyers of the AHL, and then to the league's Buffalo Bisons just over two months later. He remained with the Bisons through 1951 and won the Harry Hap Holmes Memorial Award in 1950, given annually to goaltenders with the lowest goals-against average in the AHL. He was also selected to the league's Second All-Star Team three times.[3]

During his time with the Bisons, Dion appeared intermittently for other teams including the Houston Huskies (1947–48) and Louisville Blades (1949–50) of the United States Hockey League, and the New York Rovers (1948–49) of the QSHL (during the Eastern Hockey League's season-long hiatus). He took the 1951–52 season off before returning with the Sherbrooke Saints of the Quebec Major Hockey League in 1952. He finished his career with the Glace Bay Miners of the Maritime Major Hockey League in 1953–54.[3] During his playing career he stood 5 feet, 4 inches (163 centimeters) and weighed 140 pounds (64 kilograms),[1] making him the second-shortest player in NHL history, behind Roy Worters.[6]

Later life[edit]

Dion moved to Asbestos, Quebec after the conclusion of his hockey career and became involved in the local minor hockey movement, often in the capacity of a referee.[7] He helped establish an arena in the city, the Centre Récréatif d'Asbestos, in 1954, which was later renamed Aréna Connie Dion. Since 1991, the Asbestos Minor Hockey Association has held an annual tournament at the arena in his honor.[8] He also became involved in golf, designing several courses and helping lay foundations for the sport in Asbestos.[9] He had a local tournament named after him in this sport as well, the inaugural edition of which was held in 1973.[10] He was married to Muriel Flanigan, who died in 2011, and had four sons, Paul, Skip, Bob, and Mickey, and one daughter, Carol-Ann.[11] He died on November 7, 2014 at the age of 96 at the Centre de Santé et Service Sociaux in Asbestos, following a two-week period of hospitalization.[7]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[1][edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1937–38 Verdun Jr. Maple Leafs QJHL 12 720 22 2 1.83
1937–38 Verdun Maple Leafs QSHL 1 1 0 0 60 2 0 2.00
1938–39 Lachine Rapides QPHL 38 2280 126 2 3.32
1939–40 Sherbrooke Red Raiders QPHL 41 2460 130 4 3.17
1940–41 Cornwall Flyers QSHL 34 2040 122 1 3.59
1941–42 Cornwall Flyers QSHL 37 20 14 3 2200 127 1 3.30
1942–43 Cornwall Army QSHL 5 280 14 0 3.00
1943–44 Detroit Red Wings NHL 26 17 7 2 1560 80 1 3.08
1944–45 Detroit Red Wings NHL 12 6 4 2 720 39 0 3.25
1944–45 Indianapolis Capitals AHL 39 19 14 6 2340 121 3 3.10
1945–46 St. Louis Flyers AHL 8 1 6 1 480 40 0 5.00
1945–46 Buffalo Bisons AHL 34 24 6 4 2040 84 1 2.47
1946–47 Buffalo Bisons AHL 61 33 17 11 3660 166 6 2.72
1947–48 Buffalo Bisons AHL 43 26 15 2 2580 155 2 3.60
1947–48 Houston Huskies USHL 7 4 3 0 420 30 0 4.29
1948–49 Buffalo Bisons AHL 68 33 27 8 4080 213 4 3.13
1948–49 New York Rovers QSHL 1 1 0 0 60 2 0 2.00
1949–50 Buffalo Bisons AHL 34 15 15 4 2040 92 3 2.71
1949–50 Louisville Blades USHL 4 0 4 0 240 27 0 6.75
1950–51 Buffalo Bisons AHL 63 35 24 4 3840 259 1 4.05
1952–53 Sherbrooke Saints QMHL 13 3 7 3 820 38 1 2.78
1953–54 Glace Bay Miners MMHL 18 7 9 1 1079 85 0 4.73
AHL totals 350 181 129 40 21,060 1130 20 3.22
NHL totals 38 23 11 4 2280 119 1 3.13

Playoffs[1][edit]

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA
1937–38 Junior Verdun Maple Leafs QJHL 4 240 11 0 2.75
1937–38 Junior Verdun Maple Leafs M-Cup 5 2 2 300 14 2 2.80
1938–39 Lachine Rapides QPHL 6 360 20 0 3.33
1939–40 Sherbrooke Red Raiders QPHL 8 6 2 480 22 1 2.75
1939–40 Sherbrooke Red Raiders Al-Cup 2 0 2 120 16 0 8.00
1940–41 Cornwall Flyers QSHL 4 ? ? 240 14 0 3.50
1941–42 Cornwall Flyers QSHL 5 2 3 310 19 0 3.68
1943–44 Detroit Red Wings NHL 5 1 4 300 17 0 3.40
1945–45 Indianapolis Capitals AHL 5 1 4 300 18 0 3.60
1945–46 Buffalo Bisons AHL 12 8 4 730 35 1 2.88
1946–47 Buffalo Bisons AHL 4 2 2 240 13 0 3.25
1947–48 Buffalo Bisons AHL 8 4 4 480 28 0 3.50
1949–50 Buffalo Bisons AHL 2 0 2 120 1 0 5.50
1950–51 Buffalo Bisons AHL 4 0 4 273 19 0 4.18
1952–53 Sherbrooke Saints QMHL 7 3 4 430 21 0 2.93
AHL totals 35 15 20 2143 124 1 3.47
NHL totals 5 1 4 300 17 0 3.40

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Connie Dion". Hockey Reference. Sports Reference. 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  2. ^ "<<Connie Dion est maintenant mon homme>> dit Jack Adams". La Patrie (in French). Montreal. 1944-01-30. p. 74. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  3. ^ a b c "Connie Dion". NHL Player Search. Legends of Hockey. 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  4. ^ a b c Provencher, Yvan (2014-11-07). "Décès de la légende du hockey et du golf "Connie" Dion". La Tribune (in French). Gesca Limitée. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  5. ^ "Remembering The Day Of Biggest Blowout In NHL History: Red Wings Crush Rangers". ThePostGame. Yahoo! Sports. 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  6. ^ King, Tom (2010-09-28). The Legendary Game – Ultimate Hockey Trivia. Bloomington, Indiana: Trafford Publishing. p. 254. ISBN 1426943792. 
  7. ^ a b Plante, Claude (2014-11-10). ""Connie" Dion porté à son dernier repos". La Tribune (in French). Gesca Limitée. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  8. ^ "Monsieur Connie Dion". Tournoi Connie Dion d'Asbestos (in French). Association de Hockey Mineur d'Asbestos. 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  9. ^ Brisebois, Mario (2014-11-08). "Décès de Connie Dion, un bâtisseur au golf et au hockey à Asbestos". Actualités (in French). Mongolf.ca. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  10. ^ "Eric Mercier se distingue à nouveau à Asbestos". Le Citoyen (in French). Asbestos, Quebec. 1986-04-02. p. 21. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  11. ^ "Conard (Connie) DION – Asbestos" (in French). Avisdedeces.ca. 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 

External links[edit]