|Born||April 23, 1943|
Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada
|5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Chicago Black Hawks
|Ntl. team|| Canada &|
|Hall of Fame, 1988|
Tony Esposito (born Anthony James Esposito on April 23, 1943) is a retired Canadian-American professional ice hockey goaltender, who played in the National Hockey League, most notably for the Chicago Black Hawks.
He was one of the pioneers of the now popular butterfly style.
Tony's younger brother is former NHL center Phil Esposito; both brothers had notable careers and are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Early Playing Career
Tony played college hockey for Michigan Tech. A three-year hockey letter winner, he was a three-time first-team All-America selection.
Tony was a driving force in helping the Huskies to the 1964–65 NCAA Championship and was named a first-team NCAA All-Tournament Team choice in 1965.
Still currently the MTU career leader in goals against average (2.55) and second in career saved percentage (.912), he was also a three-time All-WCHA first-team selection.
Tony turned pro with the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Hockey League in 1967–68 and played with the Houston Apollos in the Central Hockey League in 1968–69.
Tony first played in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens during the 1968–69 season. He made his NHL debut against the Oakland Seals, playing 26 minutes in relief of Rogie Vachon.
His first NHL start was against the Boston Bruins, then led by his brother Phil. The game ended in a 2–2 tie, in which Phil scored both goals for Boston and he made 33 saves.
Tony played thirteen regular season games, due to both Gump Worsley and Vachon being injured, however, he returned to the minors when they both returned from their injuries. Worsley was injured again during the playoffs, so Esposito was called again.
Tony served as backup to Vachon, dressing for all four games in the finals. As the Canadiens club was deep in goaltenders at that time, with Worsley, Vachon and other prospects in the system, he was left unprotected by the Canadiens in 1969.
For 1969–70, the Chicago Black Hawks claimed Tony from Montreal on waivers, known at the time as the "intra-league draft".
He had a spectacular season with Chicago, posting a 2.17 GAA and setting a modern day NHL record with fifteen shutouts, for which he won the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie.
Tony also took the Vezina Trophy and was named to the First All-Star team at season's end. He also was runner-up for league MVP (Hart Trophy). It was during this record setting season he earned the nickname Tony "O" for his shutout abilities.
In 1970–71, he again proved to be one of the league's top goalies and helped Chicago finish first in the NHL's West division. The Black Hawks made it to the Stanley Cup Final, but they lost in seven games to Montreal.
The following season, he posted the lowest GAA of his career (1.77) and shared the Vezina with backup Gary Smith. He was again selected to the NHL's First All-Star team.
Tony was named to Team Canada for the Summit Series of September of 1972. He was the first goalie to earn a win against the Soviets, splitting Canada's goaltending duties with Montreal's Ken Dryden.
He posted both the lowest GAA and the highest save percentage of the three goalies (Tony, Ken Dryden and Vladislav Tretiak) who appeared in the series. Tony's brother Phil had an exceptional series as well and was the inspirational leader of the team.
Despite the loss of Bobby Hull, Tony and the Hawks led their division in 1972–73, but lost the Stanley Cup in six games to Montreal.
The 1973–74 season was another brilliant season for Tony with a sparkling 2.04 GAA and 10 shutouts. He won his third Vezina, sharing it with Philadelphia's Bernie Parent.
The Black Hawks declined over the next few seasons although Tony remained among the top netminders in the NHL. In 1979–80, he enjoyed a fine season with six shutouts and made the First All-Star team for the third time.
Tony retired from professional play in 1985 and was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. His number 35 was retired by the Blackhawks.
Tony later became General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins briefly where he hired former Black Hawks teammate Gene Ubriaco as head coach.
In his first year, the Penguins finished 40-33-7 and ended a lengthy playoff drought. After starting the 1989-90 season 10-14-2, he and Ubriaco were both terminated.
During his tenure, Tony is best known for drafting Mark Recchi and pulling off a trade which landed the Penguins goaltender Tom Barrasso.
In 1991, when his brother helped found the Tampa Bay Lightning, Phil hired Tony as chief scout. Legend has it that they came up with the team name during a thunderstorm. Both Esposito brothers were fired in 1998.
In 1998, he was ranked number 79 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, 61 places behind his brother Phil, who ranked at number 18.
In 2007, Tony was inducted (alongside brother Phil) into the Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame.
On March 19, 2008, the Chicago Blackhawks honoured Tony with "Tony Esposito Night where he was formally introduced as an Ambassador to the Blackhawks organization.
Then-Blackhawk goaltenders Patrick Lalime and Nikolai Khabibulin both wore Esposito's #35 jerseys in the pre-game warmups and Khabibulin recorded a shutout in a Hawks 5–0 win over the Washington Capitals.
Tony currently serves as an ambassador for the Chicago Blackhawks.
|1962–63||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||NOJHA||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1963–64||Michigan Tech Huskies||WCHA||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1964–65||Michigan Tech Huskies||WCHA||17||—||—||—||1020||40||1||2.35||—|
|1965–66||Michigan Tech Huskies||WCHA||19||—||—||—||1140||51||1||2.68||—|
|1966–67||Michigan Tech Huskies||WCHA||15||—||—||—||900||39||0||2.60||—|
|1969–70||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||63||38||17||9||3763||136||15||2.17||.932|
|1970–71||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||57||35||14||6||3325||126||6||2.27||.919|
|1971–72||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||48||31||10||6||2780||82||9||1.77||.934|
|1972–73||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||56||32||17||7||3340||140||4||2.51||.917|
|1973–74||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||70||34||14||21||4143||141||10||2.04||.928|
|1974–75||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||71||34||30||7||4219||193||6||2.74||.905|
|1975–76||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||68||30||23||13||4003||198||4||2.97||.904|
|1976–77||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||69||25||36||8||4067||234||2||3.45||.900|
|1977–78||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||68||28||22||14||3840||168||5||2.63||.914|
|1978–79||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||63||24||28||11||3780||206||4||3.27||.901|
|1979–80||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||69||31||22||16||4140||205||6||2.97||.903|
|1980–81||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||66||29||23||14||3935||246||0||3.75||.890|
|1981–82||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||52||19||25||8||3069||231||1||4.52||.867|
|1982–83||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||39||23||11||5||2340||135||1||3.46||.888|
|1983–84||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||18||5||10||3||1095||88||1||4.82||.859|
|1969–70||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||8||4||4||480||27||0||3.38||.907|
|1970–71||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||18||11||7||1151||42||2||2.19||.928|
|1971–72||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||5||2||3||300||16||0||3.20||.895|
|1972–73||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||15||10||5||895||46||1||3.08||.898|
|1973–74||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||10||6||4||584||28||2||2.88||.911|
|1974–75||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||8||3||5||472||34||0||4.32||.878|
|1975–76||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||4||0||4||240||13||0||3.25||.901|
|1976–77||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||2||0||2||120||6||0||3.00||.915|
|1977–78||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||4||0||4||252||19||0||4.52||.838|
|1978–79||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||4||0||4||243||14||0||3.46||.889|
|1979–80||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||6||3||3||373||14||0||2.25||.924|
|1980–81||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||3||0||3||215||15||0||4.19||.878|
|1981–82||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||7||3||3||381||16||1||2.52||.917|
|1982–83||Chicago Black Hawks||NHL||5||3||2||311||18||0||3.47||.889|
In 1981, Tony became a naturalised American citizen and played for Team USA in the Canada Cup (he had previously represented Canada at the 1977 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament).
- All-WCHA First Team (1964–65)
- AHCA West All-American (1964–65)
- All-NCAA All-Tournament First Team (1965)
- All-WCHA First Team (1965–66)
- AHCA West All-American (1965–66)
- All-WCHA First Team (1966–67)
- AHCA West All-American (1966–67)
- Stanley Cup Champion (1969)
- Calder Memorial Trophy (1970)
- NHL First All-Star Team Goalie (1970, 1972, 1980)
- NHL Second All-Star Team Goalie (1973, 1974)
- Vezina Trophy (1970, 1972, 1974)
- NHL All-Star Game Goalie (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1980).
- Member of Canada men's national ice hockey team at 1972 Summit Series and 1977 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament
- Played for US national men's hockey team in the 1981 Canada Cup
- His #35 was retired by the Chicago Blackhawks on November 20, 1988.
- In 1998, he was ranked number 79 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
Tony was one of just eight goalies to win the Vezina catching the puck right-handed.
He was also the first NHL goaltender to officially wear the number 35, a common number now worn by many goaltenders.
It was assigned to him during training camp prior to the Chicago Black Hawks 1969-'70 season due to the fact that the standard numbers 1 and 30 were already assigned, and after posting a shutout in his first ever exhibition game for the Hawks, he chose to keep wearing the number going on to a Hall of Fame career. His number 35 was retired by the Blackhawks on November 20, 1988.
Tony was noted as being superstitious, becoming upset by crossed hockey sticks and regularly lining up his hockey sticks in a particular way.
Tony and his wife Marilyn have two sons.