Terry Sawchuk
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Nickname(s) Uke
5 ft 11 in (1.8 m)
190 lb (86 kg)
Teams New York Rangers
Detroit Red Wings
Los Angeles Kings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston Bruins
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born December 28,1929,
Winnipeg, MB, CAN
Died May 31, 1970 (age 40),
New York, NY, U.S.
Pro Career 1949 – 1970
Hall of Fame, 1971

Terence Gordon Sawchuk (December 28, 1929, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada–May 31, 1970 in New York City, New York, United States) was a Canadian professional goaltender who played 21 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.

Playing CareerEdit

During his career, Sawchuk won 501 games, 447 regular season and 54 playoff games, while recording 115 shutouts, 103 in the regular season and 12 in the playoffs Nicknamed "Uke" because of his Ukrainian ancestry, Sawchuk began his professional career at age 17, winning rookie-of-the-year honors in the United States Hockey League. He won rookie-of-the-year honors again after being promoted to the Indianapolis Capitals of the American Hockey League. Called up to the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League for the 1950–51 season, he won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, making him the first player to win the rookie-of-the-year award in three different professional leagues. He also was voted onto the first All-Star team, the equivalent to today's Vezina Trophy, since the Vezina at that time was given to the goalie(s) with the lowest goals against average.

In 1952, Sawchuk led the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup in the minimum eight games of two best-of-seven series during which he recorded four shutouts and allowed only five goals. In each of his first five years in the NHL, he led the league in wins and was named to the All-Star team. In 1954–55, he was traded to the Boston Bruins where he had difficulty adjusting. During the 1956–57 season he retired from the game, succumbing to severe stress and a bout with mononucleosis. However, the following year he returned to play after being traded back to Detroit. In return, the Red Wings sent a young forward named Johnny Bucyk to Boston in what is arguably one of the most one-sided trades in NHL history. Before the start of the 1964-65 season he was claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs via the intraleague waiver draft, where he won another Vezina Trophy in 1964–65 and helped the Leafs win the 1966–67 Stanley Cup.

Sawchuk's ability to play despite painful injuries, a valuable asset in the days before goalies wore protective facemasks, was shown early in his life. A neglected injury he received while playing a friendly rugby match when he was 12 was discovered two years later to have been a broken arm that had healed poorly, leaving Sawchuk with one arm two inches shorter than the other. In his professional hockey career, Sawchuk played for more than a dozen years without a mask and received over 600 stitches to his face. However, he later wore a mask and valued its protective use.


He struggled with untreated clinical depression, a condition that often affected his conduct. An alcohol-induced shoving match with his New York Rangers teammate Ron Stewart left Sawchuk with internal injuries that led to his death a few weeks later in New York. It is not clear whether this incident was horseplay or a fight, but an investigation into possible involuntary manslaughter charges was undertaken, and no charges were filed against Stewart. In any event, Sawchuk suffered a lacerated liver and clots had to be surgically removed, but a clot stopped Sawchuk's heart on May 31, 1970. Sawchuk was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Pontiac, Michigan.


Sawchuk finished his hockey career with 447 wins, a record that stood for thirty years, and his career record of 103 shutouts remains unsurpassed among NHL goaltenders. (George Hainsworth holds the record for total major league shutouts with 104, 94 of them in the NHL.) In 1971, Sawchuk was posthumously elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contribution to hockey in the United States. His number 1 has been retired by the Detroit Red Wings. The Terry Sawchuk Arena in his hometown of Winnipeg is named in his honour.

Awards and AchievementsEdit


  • NHL record - Career shut-out leader - 103
  • NHL record - Career ties leader - 172

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular SeasonEdit

Season Team League GP Min GA W L T SO GAA
1949–50 Detroit Red Wings NHL 7 420 16 4 3 0 1 2.29
1950–51 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 4200 139 44 13 13 11 1.99
1951–52 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 4200 133 44 14 12 12 1.90
1952–53 Detroit Red Wings NHL 63 3780 120 32 15 16 9 1.90
1953–54 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 4004 129 35 19 13 12 1.93
1954–55 Detroit Red Wings NHL 68 4080 132 40 17 11 12 1.96
1955–56 Boston Bruins NHL 68 4080 181 22 33 13 9 2.60
1956–57 Boston Bruins NHL 34 2040 81 18 10 6 2 2.38
1957–58 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 4200 207 29 29 12 3 2.94
1958–59 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 4020 209 23 36 8 5 3.09
1959–60 Detroit Red Wings NHL 58 3480 156 24 20 14 5 2.67
1960–61 Detroit Red Wings NHL 37 2150 113 12 16 8 2 3.10
1961–62 Detroit Red Wings NHL 43 2580 143 14 21 8 5 3.28
1962–63 Detroit Red Wings NHL 48 2775 119 22 16 7 3 2.55
1963–64 Detroit Red Wings NHL 53 3140 138 25 20 7 5 2.64
1964–65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 36 2160 92 17 13 6 1 2.56
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 27 1521 80 10 11 3 1 3.16
1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 28 1409 66 15 5 4 2 2.81
1967–68 Los Angeles Kings NHL 36 1936 99 11 14 6 2 3.07
1968–69 Detroit Red Wings NHL 13 641 28 3 4 3 0 2.62
1969–70 New York Rangers NHL 8 412 20 3 1 2 1 2.91
NHL Totals 971 57228 2401 447 330 172 103 2.52


11Nov1954-Wings scale wire

Sawchuk, Skov and Lindsay go after a heckler, November 11, 1954.

On November 11, the Detroit Red Wings were playing a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Angry that Metro Prystai had been traded to the Chicago Blackhawks at the bequest of Leafs Conn Smythe in the name of league parity, the Wings were in a foul mood. Ted Lindsay fought with Leafs Jim Thomson and then coach King Clancy. The Leafs won 1-0 and as the Wings were leaving the ice, a hometown fan heckled Glen Skov. Skov, goalie Terry Sawchuk, Sid Abel and Lindsay scaled the wire mesh over the boards to get at the fan, with Lindsay punching the heckler in the eye.


Preceded by
Jack Gelineau
Winner of the Calder Trophy
Succeeded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Preceded by
Al Rollins
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
1952, 1953
Succeeded by
Harry Lumley
Preceded by
Harry Lumley
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
Succeeded by
Jacques Plante
Preceded by
Charlie Hodge
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Johnny Bower

Succeeded by
Gump Worsley
and Charlie Hodge

External LinksEdit

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