In the latter half of the 1960's, the Montreal Canadiens goaltending duties were shared mainly by three men - Gump Worsley, Charlie Hodge, and Rogatien Vachon. All were well known for having participated in the four Canadiens Stanley Cups from 1965 to 1969. Within the organization, toiled over a dozen other goaltenders during that time.
In my previous goalie series post involving Canadiens goaltenders from 1960 to 1965, it was apparent that the Habs farm system were busy developing a multitude of talents. What occurred during the late sixties, with the advent of NHL expansion, was that the Canadiens farmhand goalies were sought out by other NHL teams.
Canadiens GM Sam Pollock adeptly anticipated this wave and used his better netminding prospects to his advantage.
Eight new goaltenders are profiled below - ommitting Tony Esposito who played for the Canadiens in 1968-69. Esposito, a Hall of Famer, is deserving of his own post, which will come next in this series. I've excluded him here, as his tale is a unique one.
Beginning in 1969, Montreal were drafting goalies from both the Canadian junior leagues, as well as the United States college and university leagues. It is interesting to note that from this point on, the Canadiens always kept their stable of goaltenders filled. Whether aquired in trades, drafted or signed from other organizations, these goalies helped create an inner competition within the Habs ranks that helped fast track the better stoppers to the NHL level.
Of the profiles listed below, you may only recognize Gary Bauman and Phil Myre as goalies who have suited up for the Habs. Of the six others, Ted Tucker, Lyle Carter, and Jack Norris played in the NHL. Bruce Mullet, Ian Wilkie, and Gary Doyle were goaltenders drafted by the Canadiens who never saw NHL action.
Gary Bauman 1966-67
According to those that knew Michigan Tech's late hockey coach John MacInnes, he called Garry Bauman the best goaltender to ever play for him.
A three-year hockey letterwinner from 1961to 1964, Bauman complied a career goals against average with MT of 2.64. His career save percentage of .916 still stands today as the best of any goaltender to ever wear a Huskies uniform.
Bauman helped the Huskies to to school's first-ever NCAA Championship in 1962 and was named to the NCAA All Tournament team for his efforts.
He was a three time All WCHA First Team selection and twice was honored as a First Team All America selection.
Following graduation, Bauman went on to play professional hockey for both the Montreal Canadiens and the Minnesota North Stars.
Gary Bauman also owes his NHL debut to an injury, albeit once removed, Bauman was called in to relieve Charlie Hodge, who had taken over when Lorne Worsley suffered a serious knee injury. Bauman played two games and then faded into the background.
He played 2 games for the Canadiens and finished with 1 win, 1 lost and a GAA of 2.50.
Bauman shares the unique distinction, with Montreal teammate Charlie Hodge, as the only goaltenders in the history of the All Star game to post a shutout. It happened in 1967, in one of only three games Bauman played for the Canadiens.
He was picked up by the Minnesota after the 1967 expansion and played 26 games in the North Star's inaugural campaign. He would play another seven games with the North Stars the following season.
Bauman first started as a goalkeeper when his High River, Alberta team lost its goalie to an injury. He was recruited and vacated his position on the left wing to don the pads. He recorded a shutout in his first game, a 5-0 win, and never left.
Bauman, who lived in Calgary, passed away on Monday, October 16, 2006 at the age of 66 years. Garry was born in Innisfail, AB on July 21, 1940. When he retired from hockey he pursued a teaching career at Strathcona Tweedsmuir School until his retirement in 1999.
Bruce Mullet - In The System 1967-68
St. John's Newfoundland's Bruce Mullett was a Montreal Canadiens prospect in an era where the Habs did not lack for goaltending talent.
It was the Ken Dryden era, to be precise, and it left many a Habs goalie hopeful mired in the depths of the system. Bruce Mullett was born November 22, 1948, and was a large goalie for his time, filling in at 6' 0'' and weighing 200 lbs. Mullett played 162 games under the Canadiens watch, starting out with the OHA Junior Canadiens where he played in 50 games in the 1967-68 season. In 1968-69, Mullett began a string of four seasons as the Muskegon Mohawks starter, appearing in a career high 55 games in 1970. Perhaps he saw the writing on the wall, hanging up the pads after only 9 games into the 1972-73 season.
Ted Tucker - In The System 1967-72
Netminder Ted Tucker was property of the Montreal Canadiens and the Atlanta Flames before he finally landed with the NHL club that he would make his big league debut with.
Tucker spent two seasons with the Montreal Junior Canadiens before turning pro with the Clinton Comets of the EHL. He made a major splash by winning the Rookie of the Year award, and being named to the 1st All-Star Team. Tucker repeated the All-Star merits in his second season and had a solid third season as well.
With the emergence of Ken Dryden in the Montreal system, the Canadiens had no need for Tucker and sold his rights to the Atlanta Flames on June 10, 1972. Tucker spent the next year in the minors without getting a chance from the Flames and was sold again, this time to the California Golden Seals.
With the Seals, Tucker was finally granted an opportunity to play at the NHL level. Tucker appeared in five games for California and was able to record a win, a loss and a tie in that time. It would prove to be the only exposure Tucker would get in the NHL.
The next four years were spent stopping pucks in the International Hockey League primarily with the Toledo Goaldiggers. In 1978-79 Tucker took the season off but returned the following year to play for the IHL's Dayton Gems. During his comeback season the Gems dealt him to the Saginaw Gears where he finished that season and he spent his final year with them as well. Tucker retired from the game after playing 40 games for the Gears in 1980-81.
Lyle Carter - In The System 1967-71
Lyle Carter's resume reads like an atlas of North America, but his time in the NHL can be pinpointed to a few weeks in the 1971-72 season with the hapless California Golden Seals. Lyle Carter signed as a free agent with Montreal on March 30, 1968, after playing little with Cleveland Barons of the AHL and the Toledo Blades of the IHL in the 1967-68.
Carter was assigned to the Clinton Comets of the IHL , where he was a workhorse appearing in 72 games in 1968-69. He began with the Comets the following season before moving up to the Montreal Voyageurs, where he would only play in 5 contests.
As a third stringer behind Jack Norris and Phil Myre, Carter saw action only when the starters were injured.
Things became bleaker for Carter with the Voyageurs the following season when Ken Dryden, Wayne Thomas, and Ray Martyniuk all arrived to crowd the crease action. Carter played two periods of one game, allowing 5 goals. It was off to the Mukegon Mohawks of the IHL, where he would get 51 games in, sharing duties with another Habs hopeful named Bruce Mullet.
After four seasons in their system, the Canadiens traded Carter to the Seals with John French for Randy Rota in October 1971. With California he had a record of 4-7-0 and a whopping 4.12 GAA. After that, it was back to the minors for three more years before he finally retired in 1975.
Ian Wilkie - 1969 NHL Amateur Draft (RD 7-74 overall, Edmonton WCHL)
The Canadiens used their eighth selection in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft to select Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Ian Wilkie. He was the secong goalie taken by the Habs that day, as they had previously chosen Gary Doyle of the Ottawa 67's in the 5th round.
Wilkie was born in Edomton on Juy 20, 1949 and stood at 5' 9" and weighed 160 lbs. He played in 51 games with the Oil Kings in his first two seasons there, and his goals against average were very respectable marks of 3.18 and 3.10. He had 12 shutouts in his three seasons with Oil Kings.
Though Wilkie would never reach the NHL, he did play in the WHA with Edmonton, the New York Raiders, and the Los Angeles Sharks. Along the way, Wilkie made stops with British Columbia (CWUAA), Long Island (EHL), and Greensboro (SHL).
Wilkie attended the University of Alberta and later took law at the University of British Columbia. While at UBC, he played on 1970-71 University team that set a school record with 29 victories and won CWUAA title.
From 1972 to 1974, Wilkie played 33 games for three different WHA franchises before retiring.
Netminder Ian Wilkie wore this vintage Lefty Wilson style fiberglass goalie mask while tending the crease for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WCHL and it is up for sale at the Classic Auctions site. It has an old school unpainted design similar to the mask worn by Terry Sawchuk while with the Wings. This example shows obvious game wear and is edged with strips of old creamy cloth tape in place of interior padding. Prices for these game worn masks from the Seventies will only continue to rise.
Gary Doyle 1969 NHL Amateur Draft (RD 5-56 overall, Ottawa, OHA)
With their 5th pick in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft, 56th overall, the Canadiens chose goaltender Gary Doyle of the Ottawa 67's in the OHA. Later in the draft, with their 8th pick, the Canadiens chose another goalie, Ian Wilkie of the Edmonton Oil Kings, in round seven, 74th overall.
Doyle, who stood 5' 8" and weighed 155 lbs, was born on January 6, 1949. He was the first goaltender in 67's history, playing in 47 games in 1967-68 and another 50 the following year. His goals against average improved in the second season, dropping to 4.50 from 5.70.
The Smiths Falls, Ontario native would not earn a contract with the Canadiens. He would never play at the NHL or AHL levels, but did manage a one game shot with a future NHL franchise.
In 1969-70, his goaltending career would take him to the Salt Lake City Golden Eagle of the WHL for 3 games and the Oklahoma City Blazers of the CHL for another 9 games.
In 1972-73, he played with Ottawa U (CIAU), and played two more seasons for the Winston-Salem Polar Twins of the SHL. In 1973-74, Doyle played a game with the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA.
Doyle later became involved in Lanark County, Ontario, politics after his retirement, eventually becoming county warden in 2000.
Phil Myre 1969-72
In the 1966 Amateur Draft, the Montreal Canadiens selected Phil Myre, who became better known as one half of the netminding duo of the early Atlanta Flames.
The Canadiens took the goaltender following an unsuccessful, though long, performance by Shawinigan in the Memorial Cup playoffs. He got to hoist the Memorial Cup two years later when he backstopped a Niagara Falls team to victory.
It wasn't until the 1969-70 season that Myre saw action with the Canadiens. In ten games, he put up a 4-3-2 record and a 2.27 GAA. Still it wasn't enough to impress the team, and Myre was carried as a backup for the next two seasons before the Canadiens left him unprotected in the 1972 Expansion Draft.
The Atlanta Flames took the slender goalkeeper. His ability to stop shooters from close range was thought to be a good quality for an expansion team netminder to have. For the next five seasons, the Flames had him battling Dan Bouchard for playing time in the Atlanta net. The competition came to a head in the 1977-78 season until Myre was traded to the St. Louis Blues.
In St. Louis, Myre had a chance to shine. After the trade, he played 44 of the team's final 51 games. That stretch included a consecutive 28 games stretch, an NHL Player of the Week honour, and a shutout streak that lasted 131 minutes and 42 seconds. Unfortunately, the Blues were weak offensively at the time and Myre ended the season with an 11-25-8 record.
The Blues kept Myre for one more season before he moved on to the Philadelphia Flyers. Flyers coach Pat Quinn had played in front of Myre throughout most of his time in Atlanta and he intended to follow the Atlanta example and alternate between Myre and rookie Pete Peeters.
Peeters and Myre exceeded expectations, helping the Flyers to record a 35-game unbeaten streak. In the playoffs, Myre registered al four victories against Minnesota before the Flyers lost in the finals to the New York Islanders.
Myre played three more seasons in the NHL for the Flyers, Colorado Rockies, and Buffalo Sabres before finishing with the Mike Keenan coached Rochester Americans in the AHL. Myre has served as a goalie coach for Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Ottawa, and Florida since his playing career ended.
Jack Norris - In The System 1969-70
Journeyman goalkeeper Jack Norris played 58 career games for three different NHL clubs. The majority of his time was spent in the World Hockey Association and the minors during a pro career that spanned thirteen seasons.
The native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan played four years with the Estevan Bruins of the SJHL. The Boston Bruins prospect spent two years on the club's Los Angeles Blades farm team in the WHL. In 1964-65 he won ten games and recorded a shutout as the back up to Eddie Johnston but was unable to keep his place when youngster Gerry Cheevers came along. On May 15, 1967 he was traded to Chicago as part of the monumental deal that brought Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to Boston.
Norris played a few games for the Hawks but was chiefly a farmhand before he was claimed by the Montreal Canadiens in the Intra-League Draft in June 1969. He played 55 games in the AHL for the Montreal Voyageurs but was never called up by the Habs.
At the end of the 1969-70 season, Norris was traded on May 22 to the Los Angeles Kings along with Larry Mickey and Lucien Grenier for Leon Rochefort, Gregg Boddy and goaltender Wayne Thomas.
Norris played 25 games as back up to Denis Dejordy with the Kings and spent most of the 1971-72 season with the weak Seattle Totems of the WHL.
The veteran netminder's career took a turn for the better with the emergence of the WHA. Norris joined the Alberta Oilers during the league's first season and led all netminders with 63 appearances. He remained with the franchise the next year and played 53 games before joining the Phoenix Roadrunners. Norris spent two years in the desert and played well while splitting the goaltending chores with Gary Kurt. He retired in 1976 after winning 21 games in 41 appearances for Phoenix.