Villemure in 1976
May 30, 1940 |
Trois-Rivières, QC, CAN
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)|
New York Rangers
Chicago Black Hawks
Joseph Hector Gilles Villemure (born May 30, 1940 in Trois-Rivières, Quebec) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. He played for the New York Rangers and Chicago Black Hawks in the 1960s and 1970s.
After a season in the junior leagues with the Guelph Biltmores of the OHA, Gilles Villemure had a lengthy ten-year apprenticeship in the minor leagues, principally with the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL, the Baltimore Clippers and the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. He was a star in the minors, but despite being signed by the Rangers in 1964, he only saw spot duty in New York during the Sixties. However, in each of his final two seasons in the AHL (1968-69 and 1969-70), he won the Les Cunningham Award with the Bisons as the league's most valuable player, leading all goaltenders in the playoffs the second year to backstop the Bisons to the Calder Cup in their final season. During his minor league career, he led his league in goals against average three times and in shutouts five times.
Rangers' management took notice, and the 1970–71 season saw Villemure recalled for good as the backup to Eddie Giacomin. Over the next three seasons, Villemure recorded a sparkling 66–27–10 mark, with ten shutouts and a goals-against average never higher than 2.30, and shared the Vezina Trophy with Giacomin in 1971. He was named to play in the NHL All-Star Game all three seasons, allowing only a single goal and recording the lowest career GAA of any All-Star Game goaltender. The Rangers were a powerhouse in that time, reaching the Stanley Cup finals in 1972.
By the 1974–75 season, with both goaltenders aging, Villemure had become the number one goaltender in New York, but had only modest success, and was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks in the offseason. He backed up Tony Esposito his two remaining years, only appearing in 21 games in all, retiring after the 1976–77 season.
In total, Villemure appeared in 205 NHL games, notching 100 wins, 13 shutouts and a 2.81 career goals against average.
During the hockey offseason, Villemure was a professional harness racehorse driver.
He now resides in Levittown, New York.
Awards and honors
- Won Rookie of the Year honors in the WHL in 1963.
- Named to the WHL's First All-Star Team in 1966.
- Named to the AHL's Second All-Star Team in 1967 .
- Won the Hap Holmes Memorial Award in 1969 and 1970.
- Won the Les Cunningham Award in 1969 and 1970.
- Named to the AHL First All-Star Team in 1969 and 1970.
- Calder Cup championship in 1970.
- Vezina Trophy winner in 1971 (shared with Eddie Giacomin).
- Named to play in the NHL All-Star Game in 1971, 1972 and 1973.
- Ranked No. 48 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
|1959–60||Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters||OHA-Jr.||35||—||—||—||1980||128||1||3.66||—|
|1960–61||New York Rovers||EHL||51||16||34||1||3060||223||1||4.37||—|
|1961–62||Long Island Ducks||EHL||65||25||39||1||3900||242||3||3.72||—|
|1963–64||New York Rangers||NHL||5||0||2||3||300||18||0||3.60||.899|
|1967–68||New York Rangers||NHL||4||1||2||0||200||8||1||2.40||.934|
|1968–69||New York Rangers||NHL||4||2||1||1||240||9||0||2.25||.921|
|1970–71||New York Rangers||NHL||34||22||8||4||2039||78||4||2.30||.919|
|1971–72||New York Rangers||NHL||37||24||7||4||2129||74||3||2.09||.913|
|1972–73||New York Rangers||NHL||34||20||12||2||2040||78||3||2.29||.910|
|1973–74||New York Rangers||NHL||21||7||7||3||1054||62||0||3.53||.880|
|1974–75||New York Rangers||NHL||45||22||14||6||2470||130||2||3.16||.888|
|1975–76||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||15||2||7||5||797||57||0||4.29||.859|
|1976–77||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||6||0||4||1||312||28||0||5.38||.843|
|1959–60||Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters||OHA-Jr.||5||—||—||300||19||1||3.80||—|
|1968–69||New York Rangers||NHL||1||0||1||60||4||0||4.00||.882|
|1970–71||New York Rangers||NHL||2||0||1||80||6||0||4.50||.829|
|1971–72||New York Rangers||NHL||6||4||2||360||14||0||2.33||.919|
|1972–73||New York Rangers||NHL||2||0||1||61||2||0||1.67||.935|
|1973–74||New York Rangers||NHL||1||0||0||1||0||0||0.00||.000|
|1974–75||New York Rangers||NHL||2||1||0||94||6||0||3.83||.854|
- Gilles Villemure's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Gilles Villemure's biography at Legends of Hockey
|Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Eddie Giacomin
and Gary Smith