Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Greatest Sweater Numbers: #1 Glenn Hall

In an idea blatantly copied from White Sox Cards,  today is the debut post of a new feature here at Blackhawks Cards, a look at the greatest Hawk players wearing a particular sweater number.  We'll start at #1 and work our way up.

Fortunately for me, #1 is a complete no-brainer. The number hangs in the rafters of the United Center and belongs to a legendary Hall of Famer, "Mr. Goalie" Glenn Hall.

Glenn Hall is most famous for two things, his ridiculous record of 502 consecutive games played between the pipes, and the fact that he vomited before each game. It's hard to imagine a goalie playing 500 straight games, especially considering the fact Glenn wasn't wearing a mask while he did it.  As far as the vomiting goes, legend has it it was his way to calm his nerves before taking the ice. Some other facts about "Mr. Goalie":

  • He originally signed with the Red Wings in 1949, although he languished in the minors until the 1955-56 season, replacing Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk.
  • Recored 12 shutouts in his rookie year en route to winning the Calder Trophy. He played every game of the season, and would continue for 8 more years.
  • He was traded, along with Ted Lindsay, to Chicago before the 1957-58 season.  According to the book Net Worth, the trade occured due to Lindsay orgainzing the first NHL union, and Detroit originated the trade to the lowly Blackhawks in an effort to "punish" Lindsay.
  • Won the Stanley Cup with the Hawks in 1961.
  • The streak ends at 502 on November 8, 1962, due to Hall having back problems.
  • Won the Vezina Award in 1963 and 1967.
  • Was picked up by the Blues in the 1967 Expansion Draft.
  • Won the Conn Smythe Award in the 1968 Stanley Cup playoffs, despite the fact that the Blues were swept in 4 games by the Montreal Canadiens.
  • Shared goaltending duties in the 1968-69 season with fellow Hall of Famer Jacques Plante, and won his third Vezina Trophy.
  • He retired after the 1970-71 season, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.

There have always been "unbreakable records" in sports, such as Babe Ruth's home run records or Gordie Howe's goals scored record, that turned out to be not so unbreakable.  But I think Glenn Hall's 502 straight games just may be the safest record in all of sports.  Not only does it speak to tremendous toughness to accomplish that feat (remember, no mask was worn), it takes remarkable consistency. And that, I believe, is the most amazing thing about the streak, the fact the his abilities were at such a high level during its course. Looking at the Blackhawks goalies woes today, I definately appriciate the streak even more.


  1. Great post, looking forward to the rest of these!

  2. Awesome! The idea lives on! :)

    I'm looking forward to these.