Gump Worsley

Gump Worsley
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1980
GumpWorsleyChex.jpg
Born (1929-05-14)May 14, 1929
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died January 26, 2007(2007-01-26) (aged 77)
Beloeil, Quebec, Canada
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens
Minnesota North Stars
Playing career 1952–1974

Lorne John "Gump" Worsley (May 14, 1929 – January 26, 2007) was a professional ice hockey goaltender. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, 'Gump' was given his nickname because friends thought he looked like comic-strip character Andy Gump.

Career[]

At the outset of his career, Worsley played four years in the minor leagues, most notably for the New York Rovers of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), the St. Paul Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL), and the Saskatoon Quakers of the Western Hockey League (WHL). For three straight seasons between 1950 and 1952, he achieved success with all three teams, garnering First Team All-Star and leading goaltender recognition.

Photo with New York, 1962

In the fall of 1952 he was signed by the New York Rangers of the NHL; though playing for a last place team, won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. However, after asking for a $500 a year pay increase, he was promptly returned to the minor leagues the following season. In 1954, playing for the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL, he won the league most valuable player award.

In 1954, Worsley resumed as the Rangers starting goaltender, beating out future NHL star Johnny Bower. Wearing the traditional number 1 for goaltenders, he toiled for the Rangers for the next nine seasons, generally playing well for poor performing teams.

In the summer of 1963, he became involved in a proposed players' union, and was promptly traded to the Montreal Canadiens. While he was relegated to the minor-league Quebec Aces for parts of two seasons—and characteristically winning First Team All-Star honors in the AHL in 1964—Worsley played his best years for the Canadiens as a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams: 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969. His best season was 1968, where he followed up a Vezina-winning performance and a career-low 1.98 goals against average by going undefeated in the playoffs with eleven straight wins. In dispute with Sam Pollock, Montreal general manager, over refusal to be demoted to the minors, and coach Claude Ruel's consistent playing of Rogatien Vachon, he quit in the midst of the 1969–70 season. Suspended for not reporting to the Canadiens' Montreal Voyageurs farm team, he was replaced by Phil Myre.

Worsley was lured from retirement by the Minnesota North Stars to play in tandem with Cesare Maniago; he starred for parts of five more years, retiring at the age of 44 after the 1973–74 season. His best season with the North Stars was 1972, where he was second in the league with a 2.12 goals against average. Named to play in the 25th National Hockey League All-Star Game, Worsley was the first goaltender to have won 300 games and lost 300 games.[1] This feat was later accomplished by Curtis Joseph.

Worsley was known for his wry sense of humour and various eccentricities. Early in his career with the Rangers, regularly facing 40–50 shots a night, he was asked: "Which team gives you the most trouble?" His reply – "The New York Rangers." Accused by Rangers' coach Phil Watson of having a beer belly, he replied, "Just goes to show you what he knows. I only drink Johnnie Walker Red."

Worsley was vehemently opposed to wearing a mask. He was the second-to-last professional hockey goaltender to play without a mask. Andy Brown of the Indianapolis Racers was the last, the following season—wearing a mask in the last six games of his career. Asked about why he chose to go without, Worsley told reporters: "My face is my mask."[2]

Worsley was also well known for his fear of flying. On November 25, 1968,[3] en route to Los Angeles, he suffered a nervous breakdown after a rough flight from Montreal's Dorval Airport to Chicago. Subsequently, he received psychiatric treatment and missed action. It is said upon emerging from retirement to play for the North Stars he was assured, as Minnesota was in the central part of the continent, the team traveled less than any other in the league.

Soccer career[]

Worsley was an excellent soccer player, beginning his career as a junior with Westmount. In 1948 he was a member of the Montreal youth all-star team. As a promising young player, he soon attracted attention; the following year he moved up to McMasterville in the Montreal League. There he was selected to play in a trial game from which the Montreal all-stars were chosen to play the touring English club Fulham in 1951.

In the summer of 1952, while playing hockey for the Saskatoon Quakers, he played centre forward for the Saskatoon All-stars against the touring Tottenham Hotspur from England. In 1953, he joined Montréal Hakoah FC and helped his new club to the Canadian final, but they lost the three-game series to the Westminster Royals.[4] In 1954, continued his soccer career with Montreal Vickers. His father was also an outstanding soccer player and won a Canadian championship medal with Montreal Grand Trunk in 1919.

Injuries[]

Worsley suffered many injuries during his career, including: a near career-ending back injury while with Vancouver of the WHL, when Gus Kyle hit him from behind; a knee problem in the 1956 playoffs that required surgery; a severed tendon in 1960; in 1961, a blistering shot from Bobby Hull that hit him in the forehead; a pulled hamstring that same year; a pulled hamstring in 1963–64; knee surgery in 1966, followed by a sprained knee then a concussion from a hard-boiled egg thrown by a New York fan; a broken finger in the 1969 playoffs; a pulled hamstring in 1972–73 that reduced his effectiveness to the point he temporarily retired from hockey. The blast to the forehead from Bobby Hull landed him, unconscious, in Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. Upon awakening, asked how he was feeling, Gump replied: "Good thing the puck hit me flat!"[5]

Retirement and death[]

At the time of his retirement, Worsley had played more games than any goalie except for Terry Sawchuk and Glenn Hall. He retired with a record of 335 wins, 352 losses and 150 ties, with 43 shutouts, and a goals against average of 2.91.

Worsley suffered a heart attack on January 22, 2007, and died at his home in Beloeil, Quebec on January 26, 2007.[6]

Legacy[]

Two Canadian indie rock bands, Huevos Rancheros ("Gump Worsley's Lament") and The Weakerthans ("Elegy for Gump Worsley"), have recorded tribute songs to Worsley. Canadian band Sons of Freedom also named their second album Gump after Worsley.

Career achievements and facts[]

Career statistics[]

Regular season and playoffs[]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV% GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1946–47 Verdun Cyclones QJHL 25 6 18 1 1500 138 3 5.52
1947–48 Verdun Cyclones QJHL 29 13 11 5 1740 95 1 3.28 5 1 4 317 21 0 3.97
1948–49 Montreal St. Francis Xavier MMJHL 47 24 21 2 2840 122 7 2.58 5 2 3 310 16 0 3.10
1948–49 New York Rovers QSHL 2 120 5 0 2.50
1949–50 New York Rovers EAHL 47 25 17 5 2830 133 7 2.86 12 8 2 720 27 1 2.25
1949–50 New Haven Ramblers AHL 2 2 0 0 120 4 0 2.00
1950–51 St. Paul Saints USHL 64 33 26 5 3920 184 3 2.82 4 1 3 257 9 0 2.19
1951–52 Saskatoon Quakers PCHL 66 33 19 14 3960 206 5 3.07 13 10 3 818 31 1 2.27
1952–53 Saskatoon Quakers WHL 13 5 7 1 780 50 0 3.84
1952–53 Edmonton Flyers WHL 1 1 0 0 60 2 0 2.00
1952–53 New York Rangers NHL 50 13 29 8 3000 153 2 3.06 .901
1953–54 Vancouver Canucks WHL 70 39 24 7 4200 168 4 2.40 12 7 4 709 29 0 2.45
1954–55 New York Rangers NHL 65 15 33 17 3900 197 4 3.03 .916
1955–56 New York Rangers NHL 70 32 28 10 4200 198 4 2.83 .922 3 0 3 190 14 0 4.67 .861
1956–57 New York Rangers NHL 68 26 28 14 4080 216 3 3.18 .906 5 1 4 316 21 0 3.99 .893
1957–58 New York Rangers NHL 37 21 10 6 2200 86 4 2.32 .929 6 2 4 365 28 0 4.60 .872
1957–58 Providence Reds AHL 25 12 11 2 1528 83 0 3.26
1958–59 New York Rangers NHL 67 26 30 11 4001 198 2 2.97 .907 -
1959–60 New York Rangers NHL 39 7 23 8 2301 135 0 3.52 .899
1959–60 Springfield Indians AHL 15 11 3 1 900 33 3 2.20
1960–61 New York Rangers NHL 59 20 29 8 3473 190 1 3.28 .912
1961–62 New York Rangers NHL 60 22 27 9 3531 172 2 2.92 .912 6 2 4 384 21 0 3.28 .918
1962–63 New York Rangers NHL 67 22 34 10 3980 217 2 3.27 .915
1963–64 Montreal Canadiens NHL 8 3 2 2 444 22 1 2.97 .897
1963–64 Quebec Aces AHL 47 30 16 1 2820 128 5 2.72 9 4 5 543 29 0 3.20
1964–65 Quebec Aces AHL 37 24 12 1 2247 101 2 2.70
1964–65 Montreal Canadiens NHL 19 10 7 1 1020 50 1 2.94 .906 8 5 3 501 14 2 1.68 .936
1965–66 Montreal Canadiens NHL 51 29 14 6 2899 114 2 2.36 .920 10 8 2 602 20 1 1.99 .931
1966–67 Montreal Canadiens NHL 18 9 6 2 888 47 1 3.18 .900 2 0 1 80 2 0 1.50 .956
1967–68 Montreal Canadiens NHL 40 19 9 8 2213 73 6 1.98 .922 12 11 0 672 21 1 1.88 .930
1968–69 Montreal Canadiens NHL 30 19 5 4 1703 64 5 2.25 .920 7 5 1 370 14 0 2.27 .921
1969–70 Montreal Canadiens NHL 5 3 1 2 360 14 0 2.33 .915
1969–70 Minnesota North Stars NHL 8 5 1 1 453 20 1 2.65 .932 3 1 2 180 14 0 4.67 .880
1970–71 Minnesota North Stars NHL 24 4 10 8 1369 57 0 2.50 .920 4 3 1 240 13 0 3.25 .888
1971–72 Minnesota North Stars NHL 34 16 10 7 1923 68 2 2.12 .934 4 2 1 194 7 1 2.16 .935
1972–73 Minnesota North Stars NHL 12 6 2 3 624 30 0 2.88 .906
1973–74 Minnesota North Stars NHL 29 8 14 5 1601 86 0 3.22 .901
NHL totals 861 335 352 150 50,183 2407 43 2.88 .913 70 40 26 4084 189 5 2.78 .912

"Gump Worsley's stats". The Goaltender Home Page. Retrieved 2017-08-07.

References[]

  1. ^ Hockey’s Book of Firsts, p.18, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  2. ^ Litsky, Frank (29 January 2007). "Gump Worsley, 77, Hall of Famer Who Won Four Titles, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  3. ^ Toronto Star, Monday 25 November 1968, page 15
  4. ^ Norm Gillespie (August 19, 1953). "Draw with Hakoah". Google. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Gump Worsley". Legends of Hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  6. ^ Associated Press (28 January 2007). "Worsley, who helped Montreal to four Cups, dies at 77". ESPN. Retrieved 20 November 2013.

External links[]

Preceded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
1953
Succeeded by
Camille Henry
Preceded by
Johnny Bower
and Terry Sawchuk
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Charlie Hodge

1966
Succeeded by
Denis DeJordy
and Glenn Hall
Preceded by
Denis DeJordy
and Glenn Hall
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Rogatien Vachon

1968
Succeeded by
Glenn Hall
and Jacques Plante