Bill Durnan with the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils. Courtesy Hockey Heritage North.

Bill Durnan
Front durnan
Position Goaltender
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
190 lb (86 kg)
Teams Montreal Canadiens
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born January 22, 1916,
Toronto, ONT, Canada
Died October 31, 1972 (age 56),
Pro Career 19441950
Hall of Fame, 1964

William Ronald (Bill) Durnan (born January 22, 1916, in Toronto, Ontario - October 31, 1972) was a Canadian professional goaltender who played for the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League (NHL). Durnan was an ambidextrous goalie, equally adept at using his right or left hand (he wore special gloves that permitted him to catch with either hand while still holding his stick]). Until Roberto Luongo was named captain of the Vancouver Canucks on September 30, 2008, he was the last goalie to be a captain in the National Hockey League. Including Luongo, he is one of only seven ever.

Durnan only played seven seasons in the NHL, but accomplished much in his short career. Durnan was the recipient of the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender in each of his first four seasons, from 1944 to 1947, becoming the first to capture the award in four successive seasons. A poor season by the Montreal Canadiens in 1948 allowed Turk Broda of the Toronto Maple Leafs to end Durnan's streak. However, Durnan returned to prominence the next season, capturing his fifth and sixth Vezina Trophies in 1949 and 1950. Durnan would also be selected to the First Team All-Star 6 times during his career, including 4 consecutive selections from 1944–47. Following the 1949–50 NHL season, at the age of 35, Durnan abruptly retired, no longer able to stand the stress of playing professional hockey. He later went into coaching, most notably with the Ottawa Senators of the QSHL in 1950-51, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen of the OHA in 1958-59.

Durnan set a long-standing modern NHL record between February 26 and March 6, 1949, when he amassed four consecutive shutouts, not allowing a goal over a span of 309 minutes, 21 seconds. This record was not surpassed until 2004, when Brian Boucher, then of the Phoenix Coyotes, broke it.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964. In 383 regular-season games, Durnan had 208 wins, and 112 losses, with 34 shutouts and a 2.36 goals-against average. He had 27 wins, and 12 losses, with 2 shutouts and a 2.07 average in 45 playoff games. Durnan also won the 1940 Allan Cup with the Kirkland Lake Blue Devils. He died of kidney failure on October 31, 1972. He suffered from diabetes in his last years and his health had been failing steadily.

Ironically, he died just two weeks after the death of his goaltender rival, Turk Broda.

Awards Edit

Career statisticsEdit

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1943–44 Montreal Canadiens NHL 50 38 5 7 3000 109 2 2.18
1944–45 Montreal Canadiens NHL 50 38 8 4 3000 121 1 2.42
1945–46 Montreal Canadiens NHL 40 24 11 5 2400 104 4 2.60
1946–47 Montreal Canadiens NHL 60 34 16 10 3600 138 4 2.30
1947–48 Montreal Canadiens NHL 59 20 28 10 3505 162 5 2.77
1948–49 Montreal Canadiens NHL 60 28 23 9 3600 126 10 2.10
1949–50 Montreal Canadiens NHL 64 26 21 17 3840 141 8 2.20
NHL totals 383 208 112 62 22945 901 34 2.36

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Toe Blake
Montreal Canadiens Captains
Succeeded by
Émile Bouchard
Preceded by
Johnny Mowers
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
1944, 1945, 1946, 1947
Succeeded by
Turk Broda
Preceded by
Turk Broda
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
1949, 1950
Succeeded by
Al Rollins
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