Terry Sawchuk, who
played goalie for the Detroit Red Wings during three Stanley Cup runs
(1952, 1954, 1955). In all, Sawchuk tended goal for five National Hockey
League (NHL) teams over 21 seasons. A durable, consistent competitor, he
earned the Vezina Trophy as the top NHL goalie in 1952, 1953, 1955, and
Terrance G. Sawchuk was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and began playing
goalkeeper at age 10, not long after his older brother, also a goalie,
died of a heart ailment. He signed his first professional contract at age
17, and was named the top rookie in both the United States Hockey League
and the American Hockey League before being promoted to the Red Wings
during the 1949-50 season. The following year Sawchuk became Detroit’s
full-time goalie and won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top
Although he was constantly injured, Sawchuk rarely missed games and was
remarkably consistent. With his quick reflexes and smart play, he had a
goals-against average below 2.00 in five consecutive seasons (1950-51
through 1954-55) and recorded nine shutouts in the Stanley Cup playoffs
during this stretch.
He also led the NHL with 12 shutouts in each of the 1951-52, 1953-54, and
1954-55 seasons. In all, Sawchuk compiled a total of 103 career shutouts—a
record many believe is unbreakable.
With Sawchuk in goal, the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1952, 1954, and
1955, but their dynasty ended after they traded him to the Boston Bruins
before the 1955-56 season. Detroit reacquired him for the 1957-58 season,
and he played with the team again through 1964. Sawchuk then completed his
career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Los Angeles Kings, one more stint
in Detroit, and the New York Rangers.
He compiled a career record of 447 victories, 330 defeats, and 173 ties,
with a goals-against average of 2.52 per game. Sawchuk died in 1970, after
suffering internal injuries in a fight with a Rangers teammate. He was
enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame the following year.