Terence Gordon “Terry” Sawchuk (28.12.1929 – 31.5.1970) was a former Canadian ice hockey goaltender. He played 21 seasons in the NHL with Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers. Terry Sawchuk was a four-time Stanley Cup Champion (1952, 1954, 1955 and 1967).
Terry Sawchuk grown up in Winnipeg, Canada. After inheriting his good friend’s goalie equipment, Sawchuk started to play ice hockey in local league and same time worked for a sheet-metal company. Local scout of Detroit Red Wings found Sawchuk and he signed an amateur contract for Detroit’s junior team in Galt, Ontario in 1946.
Detroit Red Wings
Terry Sawchuk signed professional contract with Detroit Red Wings 1947. He played mainly in IHL, AHL and USHL first 3 seasons, but get his chance when the Detroit Goalie Harry Lumley injured in January 1950. After that Sawchuk did not look back and led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups in five years (1952, 1954 and 1955). He was selected as an All-Star five times in his first five years in the NHL, he had 56 shutouts and his GAA (goals-against average) remained under 2.00.
Boston Bruins – return to Detroit – Toronto, Los Angeles and Rangers
Detroit Red Wings traded Sawchuk to the Boston Bruins 1955. This was shock to Sawchuk and his time in Boston was not so good – he played poorly and his second season Sawchuk was diagnosed with mononucleosis. Sawchuk was so deep that he announced his retirement in early 1957, but Detroit reacquired Sawchuk by trading Johnny Bucyk to Boston. Sawchuk played seven more seasons with Detroit, but 1964 Detroit left Sawchuk unprotected and he was claimed by Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sawchuk led Toronto to the 1967 Stanley Cup, but after that he was left unprotected by the Maple Leafs and was picked by Los Angeles Kings. He played one season with the Kings before being traded back to Detroit. Sawchuck played his final season 1969-70 with New York Rangers – he started only six games.
Sawchuk died on 31.5.1970 – he and his Rangers teammate Ron Stewart. both of whom had been drinking, physically fought and Sawchuk suffered severe internal injuries. Sawchuk never recovered and died in hospital at the age of 40.
Other interesting stuff
Terry Sawchuk won four Vezina Trophies for the best goalie of NHL (1952, 1953, 1955 and 1965). Terry Sawchuk has been chosen to the NHL First All-Star Team 3 times (1951, 1952 and 1953). In 2010 Sawchuk was ranked number 1 on The Hockey News’ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players by position (goaltenders ranking). Terry Sawchuk received approximately 400 stitches to his face before adopting a facemask in 1962.