Milt Schmidt

Milt Schmidt
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1961
Born (1918-03-05)March 5, 1918
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Died January 4, 2017(2017-01-04) (aged 98)
Westwood, Massachusetts, US
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Boston Bruins
Playing career 19361942
1945–1955

Milton Conrad "Milt" Schmidt (March 5, 1918 – January 4, 2017) was a Canadian professional ice hockey centre, coach and general manager, mostly for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL), where he was a member of the Kraut Line. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. In 2017 Schmidt was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.[1]

Early years

Schmidt's early years were spent in Kitchener, where he attended King Edward Public School. In high school, he briefly attended Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School, but dropped out at age 14 in order to work to support his family (his father had become too ill to work regularly), and took a job at a shoe factory. He made 18 cents per hour ($3.08 per hour in 2016 dollars[2]) while working there and claimed that he knew the value of the dollar. (NHL Network January 2009)[3] He continued playing junior hockey with the Kitchener Empires and Kitchener Greenshirts. Schmidt was a childhood friend of fellow Hall of Famers Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer. At about the age of 20, while still playing for the Boston Bruins' former AHL farm team, the Providence Reds, Schmidt was invited to try out for the St. Louis Cardinals MLB National league pro baseball team, but knew himself well enough from his own previous youth baseball experience that while he could hit the ball out of the park, that he would usually strike out many more times than hitting home runs in his past.[4]

Playing career

Playing

Schmidt played junior hockey with Dumart and Bauer in Kitchener, Ontario before their rights were all acquired by the Bruins in 1935.[5] After playing a final year of junior hockey in Kitchener, Ontario, and half a year with the Bruins' AHL Providence Reds farm team, Schmidt would be called up to the Bruins during the 1937 season. He would quickly prove himself as a hardnosed centre, a skilled stickhandler and smooth playmaker.[6]

Schmidt and his childhood friends Bauer and Dumart would be teamed together in the NHL as well. They formed the famous Kraut Line, and were a strong and dependable line for the Bruins for most of the following fifteen seasons. They were a key ingredient to the Bruins' success as they rampaged to the regular season title and a hard fought Stanley Cup victory in 1939.[6] The following season would be Schmidt's true coming out party, as he led the league in scoring and guided the Bruins to another first-place finish and the third most goals in team history to date.

The 1941 season saw Schmidt spearhead the Bruins to their second Cup win in three years. However, the powerhouse Brown and Gold were decimated by World War II the following year as Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart enlisted in the Canadian military and superstar American goaltender Frank Brimsek enlisted with the United States Coast Guard. The Kraut Line found success playing hockey for the Ottawa RCAF team by winning the Allan Cup before heading overseas. Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart would end up missing three productive NHL seasons due to their service in the War.

Schmidt returned for the beginning of the 1946 season. He resumed his starring ways and finished fourth in league scoring in 1947. Named captain in 1951, Schmidt won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player that year. He retired as a player partway through the 1954–1955 to take over head coaching duties, replacing Lynn Patrick.

Coaching

Schmidt coached the Bruins up to the 1966 season with a year and a half hiatus. He also was Boston's assistant general manager. After coaching the Bruins for 11 seasons Schmidt was promoted to the general manager position in 1967 just as the league ushered in six new franchises, doubling in size.[6] Schmidt proved to be a great architect in the new era of the NHL, acquiring and drafting several key players to build a Bruins team that won two more Stanley Cups titles in 1970 and 1972. His biggest deal was a blockbuster as he acquired youngsters Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield from the Chicago Black Hawks in exchange for journeymen Pit Martin, Gilles Marotte and Jack Norris.

After his long and loyal career in the Bruins organization, Schmidt left the team to become the first General Manager of the expansion Washington Capitals for the start of the 1975 season. Unfortunately for Schmidt, the Capitals set a benchmark in futility that still stands as an NHL record today, as the new franchise finished the year with a minuscule 21 points with the worst record in the 18 team league (8 wins - 67 losses -5 ties).[6]

Career playing statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1933–34Kitchener EmpiresOHA-Jr.7246242350
1933–34Kitchener GreenshirtsOHA-Jr.17206261432240
1935–36Kitchener GreenshirtsOHA-Jr.54372441511
1936–37Boston BruinsNHL2628101530000
1936–37Providence RedsIAHL2381912
1937–38Boston BruinsNHL441314271530000
1938–39Boston BruinsNHL4115173213123362
1939–40Boston BruinsNHL482230523760000
1940–41Boston BruinsNHL45132538231156119
1941–42Boston BruinsNHL3614213534
1941–42Ottawa RCAF FlyersOCHL6471110
1941–42Ottawa RCAF FlyersAl-Cup136172319
1944–45Middleton RCAFExhib.
1945–46Boston BruinsNHL4813183121103582
1946–47Boston BruinsNHL592735624053144
1947–48Boston BruinsNHL33917262852572
1948–49Boston BruinsNHL441022322540228
1949–50Boston BruinsNHL6819224141
1950–51Boston BruinsNHL622239613360117
1951–52Boston BruinsNHL692129505772130
1952–53Boston BruinsNHL6811233430105166
1953–54Boston BruinsNHL6214183228410120
1954–55Boston BruinsNHL23481226
NHL totals 776 229 346 575 466 86 24 25 49 60

Career coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
GWLTPtsDivision RankResult
Boston Bruins1954–55 40131215(41)4th in NHLLost in Semi-Finals
1955–56 70233417595th in NHLMissed Playoffs
1956–57 70343412803rd in NHLLost in Cup Finals
1957–58 70343412803rd in NHLLost in Cup Finals
1958–59 7032299732nd in NHLLost in Semi-Finals
1959–60 7028348645th in NHLMissed Playoffs
1960–61 70154213436th in NHLMissed Playoffs
1962–63 56133112(38)6th in NHLMissed Playoffs
1963–64 70184012486th in NHLMissed Playoffs
1964–65 7021436436th in NHLMissed Playoffs
1965–66 7021436485th in NHLMissed Playoffs
Washington Capitals1974–75 8260(4)5th in NorrisMissed Playoffs
1975–76 363285(11)5th in Norris(fired)
Total770257410127

Retirement and death

Schmidt was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. After his retirement from hockey management, Schmidt remained involved with the Bruins through their alumni team and as manager of the Boards and Blades Club at the Boston Garden. Milt Schmidt's jersey #15 was retired by the Boston Bruins on March 13, 1980. On October 6, 2010 the Bruins celebrated Schmidt's 75 years with the team during Milt Schmidt Night. On this night he received 2 commemorative Stanley Cup miniatures to represent the two cups he had brought to the club, plus he personally raised his number to the rafters inside TD Garden. He was the last surviving member of both the Bruins' 1939 and 1941 Stanley Cup teams. Schmidt was also the last living NHL player to play in the 1930s and the last to have played against the Montreal Maroons (a team that folded in 1938).

On October 20, 2016, Schmidt along with Bobby Orr dropped the ceremonial puck at the Boston Bruins' first home game of the season.[7]

Schmidt died after a stroke on January 4, 2017 in a retirement facility in Westwood, Massachusetts[8] at the age of 98; at the time of his death he was the oldest living former NHL player, and the last living player to play in the AHL's inaugural season.[9][10][11] Following Schmidt's passing, Chick Webster became the oldest living NHL player.

Awards and achievements

References

  1. 1 2 "100 Greatest NHL Players". National Hockey League. January 1, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  2. Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada. "Consumer Price Index, historical summary". Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 26, 2018. CANSIM, table (for fee) 326-0021 and Catalogue nos. 62-001-X, 62-010-X and 62-557-X. And "Consumer Price Index, by province (monthly) (Canada)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  3. Hicks, Jeff (November 4, 2006). "Kitchener's Great One". The Record, Kitchener, Ontario. p. A1, A8, A9.
  4. Bailey, Arnold (September 10, 2008). "Pesky, Schmidt share a Boston bond for life". sportscollectorsdigest.com. Retrieved January 17, 2017. “It was around 1938 that I was invited to a tryout by the St. Louis Cardinals,” Schmidt recalled. “I had been an outfielder, and at bat, I’d either hit the ball out of the park or end up walking back to the dugout (after a strikeout). Unfortunately, I ended up walking back to the dugout more than I ended up running around the bases.” Schmidt never followed up on the Cardinals invitation. “In Boston, we were in a fight for the Stanley Cup, anyway, and I was just too busy with that to give baseball much thought,” he said.
  5. Diamond, Dan (ed.) (2000) [1998]. Total Hockey: Second Edition. Total Sports Publishing, Kingston, New York. pp. 655, 698, 802.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Скончался член Зала славы НХЛ Милт Шмидт
  7. Goss, Nicholas (October 20, 2016). "Bruins Legends Bobby Orr, Milt Schmidt Take Part In Special Puck Drop Ceremony". NESN.com. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  8. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?pid=183382124
  9. "Bruins legend Milt Schmidt dies at 98". Boston Globe.
  10. jreiser (January 4, 2017). "Milt Schmidt Passes Away at 98". Stanley Cup of Chowder. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  11. Shinzawa, Fluto (January 7, 2017). "The state of the NHL leaves much to be desired. Here are 7 fixes to improve it". Boston Globe.

NESN October 28, 2010

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Hap Emms
General Manager of the Boston Bruins
196772
Succeeded by
Harry Sinden
Preceded by
Lynn Patrick
Phil Watson
Head coach of the Boston Bruins
195461
196366
Succeeded by
Phil Watson
Harry Sinden
Preceded by
Position created
General Manager of the Washington Capitals
197476
Succeeded by
Max McNab
Preceded by
George Sullivan
Head coach of the Washington Capitals
19 75
Succeeded by
Tom McVie
Preceded by
John Crawford
Boston Bruins captain
195054
Succeeded by
Ed Sandford
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Chuck Rayner
Winner of the Hart Trophy
1951
Succeeded by
Gordie Howe
Preceded by
Toe Blake
NHL Scoring Champion
1940
Succeeded by
Bill Cowley
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