Meloche with the Penguins, April 2012
|Occupation||ice hockey player, coach, scout|
Gilles Emile Meloche (born July 12, 1950) is a Canadian professional ice hockey coach, scout and former player. Meloche was a goaltender who played in the National Hockey League for the Chicago Black Hawks, California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, Minnesota North Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins. He is currently a special assignment scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Until 2013 he was the team's longtime goaltending coach, during which time the team won three Stanley Cups. Meloche was born in Montreal, Quebec.
After playing junior for the Verdun Maple Leafs and loaned for the Quebec Remparts at the Memorial Cup, Meloche was the 70th player chosen in the 1970 amateur draft by the Chicago Black Hawks. His first professional season was spent mostly with Flint in the International League with a two-game stint with Chicago. Chicago was strong in goal with Tony Esposito, so Meloche was dealt to the California Golden Seals, one of the weakest teams in the league. In his first season with the Seals in 1971–72, he recorded a strong goals-against average of 3.33 and four shutouts, including one against the Boston Bruins, then a league powerhouse. The Seals' fortunes continued to worsen but Meloche continued to play well as the club's number one goaltender. He faced a barrage of rubber for another four seasons up to the Seals' relocation to Cleveland. For the next two seasons, Meloche solidly backstopped the Barons, as they were now called, with only a slight improvement in the team.
Following the Barons' merger with the Minnesota North Stars in 1978, Meloche was Minnesota's primary goalie and experienced his greatest success there. He spent eight seasons with the North Stars and appeared in the NHL All-Star game in 1980 and 1982. Minnesota experienced success in the playoffs as well, with an appearance in the finals in 1981 and the semi-finals in 1980 and 1984.
Despite leading the North Stars with 32 starts in the 1984-85 season, the 34-year old Meloche was getting a significant push from fellow netminders Don Beaupre and Rollie Melanson, who was acquired from the New York Islanders during the season. With his contract up and two much younger netminders under contract, Meloche's rights were traded to the Edmonton Oilers. With Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog firmly entrenched in the Oilers' net, the trade was an odd fit and not surprisingly, Meloche was on the move again without ever playing a game for Edmonton. Prior to the 1985-86 season the Oilers sent Meloche to Pittsburgh in the deal that landed Marty McSorley in Edmonton.
Meloche spent his final three seasons as the Penguins' starting goalie before retiring following the 1987–88 season.
In total, Meloche played in 788 NHL regular season games over nineteen seasons with a GAA of 3.64 and 20 shutouts. Largely because of his stint with the dreadful Seals and Barons, he ranks fourth on the list of goalies with most losses with 351, only behind Martin Brodeur, Curtis Joseph and Gump Worsley. He appeared in 45 playoff games and registered a GAA of 3.48 with 2 shutouts.
Following his retirement from playing, Meloche served as a Penguins scout from 1989 to 2006 and also served as a goaltending coach/consultant during much of that time. He was on the staff when the Penguins won Stanley Cups in 1991, 1992 and 2009. Meloche and his wife, Sophie, reside in Pittsburgh. His son, Eric, is a professional ice hockey player who played 74 NHL games between 2000 and 2007 for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.
Regular season and playoffs
|1969–70||Verdun Jr. Maple Leafs||QMJHL||45||—||—||—||2679||221||1||4.95||.882||11||5||6||654||34||0||3.12||.921|
|1970–71||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||2||2||0||0||120||6||0||3.00||.917||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1971–72||California Golden Seals||NHL||56||16||25||13||3121||173||4||3.33||.893||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1972–73||California Golden Seals||NHL||59||19||32||14||3473||235||1||4.06||.885||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1973–74||California Golden Seals||NHL||47||9||33||5||2800||198||1||4.24||.877||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1974–75||California Golden Seals||NHL||47||9||27||10||2771||186||1||4.03||.877||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1975–76||California Golden Seals||NHL||41||12||23||6||2440||140||1||3.44||.888||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1978–79||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||53||20||25||7||3118||173||2||3.33||.885||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1979–80||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||54||27||20||5||3141||160||1||3.06||.897||11||5||4||564||34||1||3.62||.885|
|1980–81||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||38||17||14||6||2215||120||2||3.25||.889||13||8||5||802||47||0||3.52||.884|
|1981–82||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||51||26||15||9||3026||175||1||3.47||.894||4||1||2||184||8||0||2.61||.908|
|1982–83||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||47||20||13||11||2689||160||1||3.57||.887||5||2||3||319||18||0||3.39||.882|
|1983–84||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||52||21||17||8||2883||201||2||4.18||.868||4||1||2||200||11||0||3.30||.875|
|1984–85||Minnesota North Stars||NHL||32||10||13||6||1817||115||0||3.80||.879||8||4||3||395||25||1||3.80||.902|
"Meloche's stats". The Goaltender Home Page. Retrieved 2017-09-22.
- "Penguins goaltenders coach Meloche expected to resign as Fleury ponders future". TribLIVE. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
- Pittsburgh Penguins staff. "Pittsburgh Penguins 2010 Media Guide" (PDF). p. 19. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
- "Eric Meloche (b.1976) hockey statistics and profile at". Hockeydb.com. 1976-05-01. Retrieved 2013-12-09.