Gary Smith (ice hockey)
with the Toronto St. Michael's Majors, c. 1962
February 4, 1944 |
Ottawa, ON, CAN
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Weight||205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)|
|Played for||Rochester Americans (AHL)
Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Victoria Maple Leafs (WHL)
Oakland Seals (NHL)
Chicago Black Hawks (NHL)
Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
Minnesota North Stars (NHL)
Fort Worth Texans (CHL)
Hershey Bears (AHL)
Washington Capitals (NHL)
Indianapolis Racers (WHA)
Tulsa Oilers (CHL)
Winnipeg Jets (WHA, NHL)
Gary "Suitcase" Smith (born February 4, 1944) is a former professional ice hockey goaltender. Gary is a son of Des Smith and brother of Brian Smith, both former National Hockey League (NHL) players. Smith played for numerous clubs, including the Chicago Black Hawks, Oakland Seals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets. He was the co-winner of the Vezina Trophy in the 1971–72 NHL season.
Smith played his junior hockey with the Toronto St. Michael's Majors, Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons and the Toronto Marlboros. He won a Memorial Cup with the junior Toronto Marlboros in 1964. In 1965, Gary Smith entered the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and was one of five goalies who played for the Maple Leafs during the 1966–67 regular season, their last Stanley Cup season.
He eventually earned the nickname "Suitcase" Smith because of the large number of teams he played for. After playing with the dismal California Golden Seals from 1967–71, where he set records in 1970–71 for both the most games played in a single season and most losses in a single season, his first success was sharing the 1971–72 Vezina Trophy with Tony Esposito while with the Chicago Black Hawks. One year later, Smith and Esposito would help the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup final where they would lose to the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games.
In 1974–75, he also had a fine season with the Vancouver Canucks, with 72 games played and six shutouts. Smith finished 5th place in balloting for the 1975 Hart Trophy, which goes to the player judged most valuable to his team in the NHL. The 1975 Hart Trophy winner, Bobby Clarke, said in his acceptance speech that Smith was more deserving of the award.
Smith later played in the World Hockey Association, and was a teammate of Wayne Gretzky while playing for the Indianapolis Racers. He would be part of the Winnipeg Jets' 1979 Avco World Trophy championship.
The Jets played the Edmonton Oilers, led by Wayne Gretzky. Ironically, when Wayne Gretzky went to his first game at Maple Leaf Gardens, Smith was one of the goalies in the game. The Maple Leafs played the California Golden Seals and Smith was the Seals goalie.
Smith has had many other claims to fame, according to an interview in the Vancouver Province in 1997. In his first NHL game, Smith left his crease in an attempt to score a goal. He got to the Canadiens' blueline but then JC Tremblay came along. "He nailed me," said Smith.
In another game Smith punted the puck in Maple Leaf Gardens, almost hitting the clock.
Another time he left the Vancouver Pacific Coliseum still wearing his goaltender uniform. "It's tough driving in your skates," he said in the same 1997 interview.
As of 1997 he was living in Vancouver and managing the racehorses he owned, including one named Broadcaster, named after his brother Brian, an Ottawa broadcaster who was murdered.
Awards and achievements
- Memorial Cup championship in 1964.
- Vezina Trophy winner in 1972 (shared with Tony Esposito).
- Played in 1975 NHL All-Star Game.
- Avco World Trophy championship in 1979.
- Holds NHL record for most losses in a season (48 in 1971).
|1961–62||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||OHA-Jr.||31||24||6||1||1860||83||3||2.68||—|
|1962–63||Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons||MetJHL||28||—||—||—||1660||65||3||2.25||—|
|1964–65||Victoria Maple Leafs||WHL||8||1||5||0||411||30||0||4.38||—|
|1965–66||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||3||0||2||0||118||7||0||3.56||.896|
|1966–67||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||2||0||2||0||115||7||0||3.65||.892|
|1966–67||Victoria Maple Leafs||WHL||17||6||8||3||1029||51||2||2.97||—|
|1970–71||California Golden Seals||NHL||71||19||48||4||3975||256||2||3.86||.884|
|1971–72||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||28||14||5||6||1540||62||5||2.42||.911|
|1972–73||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||23||10||10||2||1340||79||0||3.54||.887|
|1976–77||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||36||10||17||8||2090||139||1||3.99||.881|
|1977–78||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||17||2||12||3||980||68||2||4.16||.864|
|1977–78||Fort Worth Texans||CHL||13||8||3||1||765||38||1||2.98||—|
|1961–62||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||OHA-Jr.||12||—||—||720||36||0||3.00||—|
|1961–62||Toronto St. Michael's Majors||M-Cup||4||0||3||182||20||0||6.59||—|
|1962–63||Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons||MetJHL||10||—||—||600||40||0||4.00||—|
|1962–63||Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons||M-Cup||6||2||4||360||27||0||4.50||—|
|1971–72||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||2||1||1||120||3||1||1.50||.957|
|1972–73||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||2||0||1||65||5||0||4.62||.884|
|1976–77||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||1||0||0||43||4||0||5.58||.733|
|1977–78||Fort Worth Texans||CHL||9||5||4||511||25||1||2.94||—|
- Cox, Damien; Stellick, Gord. 67: The Maple Leafs, Their Sensational Victory, and the End of an Empire. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-470-83400-5.
- Willes, Ed. The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association. Toronto, ON: McLelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-8947-3.
- A horse of a different color is Smith: Goalie Suitcase Gary takes a run at owning a race horse; David Banks. The Province. Vancouver, B.C.: Jul 18, 1997. pg. A.56
- [Cox], pg. 79
- [Willes], pg.240
- [Willes], pg. 241
and Gilles Villemure
|Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Tony Esposito