Pat Stapleton
Position Defence
Shoots Left
5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
180 lb (82 kg)
Teams AHL
Buffalo Bisons
Boston Bruins
Chicago Black Hawks
Chicago Cougars
Indianapolis Racers
Cincinnati Stingers
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born July 4, 1940(1940-07-04),
Sarnia, ON, CAN
Died April 8 2020 (aged 79),
Strathroy-Caradoc, Ontario, Canada
Pro Career 1959 – 1978

Patrick James ("Pat", "Whitey") Stapleton (July 4, 1940 – April 8, 2020) was a Canadian defenceman who played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association, most notably for the Chicago Black Hawks. He was the father of Mike Stapleton, who had a lengthy career in the NHL as well.

Playing CareerEdit

Stapleton played Junior B hockey with the Sarnia Legionnaires before spending two seasons with the St. Catharines TeePees of the Ontario Hockey Association, winning the Memorial Cup in 1960.

His first full season was with the Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds of the Eastern Professional Hockey League in 1960-61. Stapleton had signed with the Chicago Black Hawks, but was claimed by the Boston Bruins in the intra-league draft in June 1961 and began his National Hockey League career with the Bruins in the 1961–62 season. The next year, he split his time between Bruins and their EPHL affiliate, the Kingston Frontenacs. Stapleton spent the next two years in the minor leagues, playing with the Portland Buckaroos of the Western Hockey League. He received the Hal Laycoe Cup as the WHL's top defenceman for the 1964–65 season.

Stapleton was briefly the property of the Toronto Maple Leafs in June 1965 as part of a trade with the Bruins, but he was left unprotected in the intra-league draft and was claimed the next day by the Chicago Black Hawks. He played some games with the Hawks' Central Hockey league affiliate, the St. Louis Braves, in 1965–66, but they would be the final minor league games of his career. Stapleton remained in the NHL for eight seasons with the Black Hawks, and was named Second Team All-Star three times (1966, 1971, and 1972). Stapleton played with the Black Hawks in the Stanley Cup finals in 1971 and 1973.

Stapleton was a member of the Team Canada team at the Summit Series in 1972. During the tournament he was a +6 and was often paired with his Black Hawks teammate Bill White. Stapleton is the owner of the puck that was used by Paul Henderson to score the series-winning goal.

In 1973, Stapleton jumped from the NHL and signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association where he became player-coach, replacing Marcel Pronovost as coach. He was a WHA first-team all-star in 1974 and won the Dennis A. Murphy Trophy as the league's top defenceman in the 1973–74 season.

Stapleton again represented Canada in the 1974 Summit Series against the national team from the Soviet Union, this time as team captain, recording three assists in eight games. He was again player-coach of the Cougars in 1974–75, and the team struggled on the ice and financially. In December 1974, he and teammates Dave Dryden and Ralph Backstrom bought the troubled franchise. At the time, Stapleton also owned two small arenas in the Chicago area along with other business interests.

The Cougars folded after the 1974–75 season and Stapleton was claimed by the Indianapolis Racers, where he played for two seasons and was named a Second Team All-Star in 1976. When the Racers refused to honour his contract in 1977, Stapleton was transferred to the Cincinnati Stingers, where he played one season before retiring in 1978. He would have turned 38 before the start of the next season. Over his career, Stapleton scored 337 points in the NHL and 239 in the WHA.


Stapleton lived in Strathroy, Ontario and was a member of the advisory board of the Junior B Strathroy Rockets of the Western Ontario Junior Hockey League. He has a Strathroy and District Hockey Association award named after him.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1958–59St. Catharines TeepeesOHA491026360
1959–60St. Catharines TeepeesOHA471235470
1959–60Buffalo BisonsAHL10002
1960–61Sault Ste. Marie ThunderbirdsEIHL595434822121892
1961–62Boston BruinsNHL6925742
1962–63Kingston FrontenacsEPHL4910263692542612
1962–63Boston BruinsNHL210338
1963–64Portland BuckaroosWHL70544498051670
1964–65Portland BuckaroosWHL70295786611034716
1965–66St. Louis BravesCPHL142466
1965–66Chicago Black HawksNHL55430345262354
1966–67Chicago Black HawksNHL703313454611212
1967–68Chicago Black HawksNHL674343834110444
1968–69Chicago Black HawksNHL756505644
1969–70Chicago Black HawksNHL494384228
1970–71Chicago Black HawksNHL7674451301834174
1971–72Chicago Black HawksNHL78338414782244
1972–73Chicago Black HawksNHL7510213114162151710
1973–74Chicago CougarsWHA786525844120131336
1974–75Chicago CougarsWHA684303438
1975–76Indianapolis RacersWHA80540454870222
1976–77Indianapolis RacersWHA81845532992680
1977–78Cincinnati StingersWHA654454928
NHL totals 635 43 294 337 353 65 10 39 49 38


Preceded by
Pierre Pilote
Chicago Black Hawks captains
Succeeded by
Pit Martin
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