Mike Palmateer
Position Goaltender
Shoots Right
5 ft 09 in (1.75 m)
170 lb (77 kg)
Teams Toronto Maple Leafs
Washington Capitals
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born (1954-01-13)January 13, 1954,
Toronto, ON, CAN
Pro Career 1976 – 1984

Michael Scott Palmateer (born 13 January, 1954, in Toronto, Ontario) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goalie. He played in the NHL from 1976 to 1984 for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Washington Capitals.

Career[edit | edit source]

Palmateer was drafted 85th overall by the Leafs in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. Palmateer played 356 games in the NHL, posting 149 wins against 138 losses and 52 ties while compiling a 3.53 Goals Against Average. Palmateer was the Leafs' starting goalie from 1976–1980, making him the only Leafs' goalie between Johnny Bower and Félix Potvin to hold on to the starting job for more than 2 years.

In 1980, while with the Washington Capitals, Palmateer was the player whose hit led to the end of Rick Martin's career with the Buffalo Sabres.

From early on in his career, Mike Palmateer tended goal from the pee-wees to the Toronto Marlboros. He won the Memorial Cup in 1972-73.

The Leafs did finally bring Palmateer into the chain in 1974. He was promptly dispatched to the minors where he tended goal for the Saginaw Gears of the IHL and the Oklahoma City Blazers of the CHL. It wasn't until early in the 1976-77 campaign that he was brought to Maple Leaf Gardens for an extended stay. Suddenly, fans, analysts, and the club's management were all struck by the little fireball between the Leafs' pipes.

Some described him as a leprechaun in goal pads while others claimed he was brash and overrated and carried a chip on his shoulder. But whether people liked him or not, they couldn't help but be entertained by his dynamic exploits in the crease. He could make saves like a vaudeville dancer falling to the ice and then in an instant, be right back on his feet, ready for the next attack. He was colourful, cantankerous, and cocky while playing his daring game close to the edge.

From 1977 to 1979, with Palmateer in goal, the Leafs fortunes began to rise up from the depths of ineptitude. During the playoffs of 1978, he was a standout as the Leafs ousted the up-and-coming Islanders from the playoffs. But in 1980, Palmateer engaged in a contract dispute with the Leafs. He wanted a three-year deal while the club would offer only two. As a result, he was traded to the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenceman Robert Picard.

In his first season in Washington, Palmateer was slowed by a series of nagging injuries that included a pulled hamstring, ankle ligament damage, and bone chips in his wrist. Year two got even worse as his action-worn knees began to give way.

He was put on the shelf to have arthroscopic surgery at a local hospital. He was already dressed in hospital linen, on his way into the operating room when an urgent call came through from the Caps. Their other goalie, Wayne Stephenson, had just gone down with an injury. They needed Palmateer, bad knee and all, for the evening's game. So, he was packed back into the ambulance and delivered the rink in time for the game. His surgery was completed several days later.

In 1982, with his legs in decline, Palmateer was sold back to the Leafs where he gave his career one last try. But a plethora of operations on his knee failed to give the backstopper the mobility he needed to be effective. He got to the point where he couldn't even cover the right side of the net. As a result, he was forced to hang up his pads at age 30 in 1984.

External links[edit | edit source]

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