The Chicago Blackhawks announced that Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito has passed away at the age of 78. Esposito was battling pancreatic cancer, but lost that battle on Wednesday.
We are heartbroken to have lost a legend in Tony Esposito, who passed away today after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.#TonyO ❤️
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) August 10, 2021
Tony Esposito Passes Away
Esposito started his career with the Montreal Canadiens, but was claimed in the intraleague draft in 1969. He was a backup to Rogie Vachon and was left unprotected in the draft. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native flourished in the Windy City and won the Calder Trophy for the league’s top rookie. He logged a 2.17 goals-against-average and set a modern league record with 15 shutouts in a season. Esposito finished second in the Hart Trophy voting that season, but Bobby Orr won the second of his third straight MVP awards.
“Tony O” as he was called won the first of three Vezina Trophies for the league’s top goalie. He picked up six All-Star Game selections and was a member of the 1972 Summit Series team that beat the USSR. The all-time great ended his career with 423 wins, 306 losses and 151 ties. He got a career GAA of 2.92 and a .906 save percentage and retired after the 1983-84 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
“It is a sad day for the Blackhawks and all of hockey,” Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement. “But with his wonderful family, let us celebrate a life well lived. Tony Esposito’s banner will be part of the United Center forever, as will his legacy as a superstar, on and off the ice.”
Tony’s brother, Phil Esposito, was also one of the greatest players in NHL history. The duo was arguably one on the best brother tandems in the long, storied history of the game.
He left a long-lasting legacy, including his sweater being worn by Dana Carvey’s character, Garth Algar, in Wayne’s World. We send our condolences to the friends and family of Esposito.