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Milt Schmidt

Milt Schmidt

Canadian ice hockey player
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Canadian ice hockey player
Countries Canada
Occupations Ice hockey player Ice hockey coach
Gender male
Birth 5 March 1918 (Kitchener)
The details
Biography

Milton Conrad "Milt" Schmidt (March 5, 1918 – January 4, 2017) was a Canadian professional ice hockey centre, coach and general manager, mostly for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL), where he was a member of the Kraut Line. He is an Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. On January 1, 2017, in a ceremony prior to the Centennial Classic, Schmidt was part of the first group of players to be named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.

Early years

Schmidt's early years were spent in Kitchener, where he attended King Edward Public School. In high school, he briefly attended Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School, but dropped out at age 14 in order to work in order to support his family (his father had become too ill to work regularly), and took a job at a shoe factory. He made 18 cents per hour ($3.04 per hour in 2017 dollars) while working there and claimed that he knew the value of the dollar. (NHL Network January 2009) He continued playing junior hockey with the Kitchener Empires and Kitchener Greenshirts. Schmidt was a childhood friend of fellow Hall of Famers Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer. At about the age of 20, while still playing for the Boston Bruins' former AHL farm team, the Providence Reds, Schmidt was invited to try out for the St. Louis Cardinals MLB National league pro baseball team, but knew himself well enough from his own previous youth baseball experience that while he could hit the ball out of the park, that he would usually strike out many more times than hitting home runs in his past.

Playing career

Playing

Schmidt played junior hockey with Dumart and Bauer in Kitchener, Ontario before their rights were all acquired by the Bruins in 1935. After playing a final year of junior hockey in Kitchener, Ontario, and half a year with the Bruins' AHL Providence Reds farm team, Schmidt would be called up to the Bruins during the 1937 season. He would quickly prove himself as a hardnosed centre, a skilled stickhandler and smooth playmaker.

Schmidt and his childhood friends Bauer and Dumart would be teamed together in the NHL as well. They formed the famous Kraut Line, and were a strong and dependable line for the Bruins for most of the following fifteen seasons. They were a key ingredient to the Bruins' success as they rampaged to the regular season title and a hard fought Stanley Cup victory in 1939. The following season would be Schmidt's true coming out party, as he led the league in scoring and guided the Bruins to another first place finish and the third most goals in team history to date.

The 1941 season saw Schmidt spearhead the Bruins to their second Cup win in three years. However, the powerhouse Brown and Gold were decimated by World War II the following year as Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart enlisted in the Canadian military and superstar American goaltender Frank Brimsek enlisted with the United States Coast Guard. The Kraut Line found success playing hockey for the Ottawa RCAF team by winning the Allan Cup before heading overseas. Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart would end up missing three productive NHL seasons due to their service in the War.

Schmidt returned for the beginning of the 1946 season. He resumed his starring ways and finished fourth in league scoring in 1947. Named captain in 1951, Schmidt won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player that year. He retired as a player partway through the 1954–1955 to take over head coaching duties, replacing Lynn Patrick.

Coaching

Schmidt coached the Bruins up to the 1966 season with a year and a half hiatus. He also was Boston's assistant general manager. After coaching the Bruins for 11 seasons Schmidt was promoted to the general manager position in 1967 just as the league ushered in six new franchises, doubling in size. Schmidt proved to be a great architect in the new era of the NHL, acquiring and drafting several key players to build a Bruins team that won two more Stanley Cups titles in 1970 and 1972. His biggest deal was a blockbuster as he acquired youngsters Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield from the Chicago Black Hawks in exchange for journeymen Pit Martin, Gilles Marotte and Jack Norris.

After his long and loyal career in the Bruins organization, Schmidt left the team to become the first General Manager of the expansion Washington Capitals for the start of the 1975 season. Unfortunately for Schmidt, the Capitals set a benchmark in futility that still stands as an NHL record today, as the new franchise finished the year with a minuscule 21 points with the worst record in the 18 team league (8 wins - 67 losses -5 ties).

Career playing statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1933–34 Kitchener Empires OHA-Jr. 7 2 4 6 2 4 2 3 5 0
1933–34 Kitchener Greenshirts OHA-Jr. 17 20 6 26 14 3 2 2 4 0
1935–36 Kitchener Greenshirts OHA-Jr. 5 4 3 7 2 4 4 1 5 11
1936–37 Boston Bruins NHL 26 2 8 10 15 3 0 0 0 0
1936–37 Providence Reds IAHL 23 8 1 9 12
1937–38 Boston Bruins NHL 44 13 14 27 15 3 0 0 0 0
1938–39 Boston Bruins NHL 41 15 17 32 13 12 3 3 6 2
1939–40 Boston Bruins NHL 48 22 30 52 37 6 0 0 0 0
1940–41 Boston Bruins NHL 45 13 25 38 23 11 5 6 11 9
1941–42 Boston Bruins NHL 36 14 21 35 34
1941–42 Ottawa RCAF Flyers OCHL 6 4 7 11 10
1941–42 Ottawa RCAF Flyers Al-Cup 13 6 17 23 19
1944–45 Middleton RCAF Exhib.
1945–46 Boston Bruins NHL 48 13 18 31 21 10 3 5 8 2
1946–47 Boston Bruins NHL 59 27 35 62 40 5 3 1 4 4
1947–48 Boston Bruins NHL 33 9 17 26 28 5 2 5 7 2
1948–49 Boston Bruins NHL 44 10 22 32 25 4 0 2 2 8
1949–50 Boston Bruins NHL 68 19 22 41 41
1950–51 Boston Bruins NHL 62 22 39 61 33 6 0 1 1 7
1951–52 Boston Bruins NHL 69 21 29 50 57 7 2 1 3 0
1952–53 Boston Bruins NHL 68 11 23 34 30 10 5 1 6 6
1953–54 Boston Bruins NHL 62 14 18 32 28 4 1 0 1 20
1954–55 Boston Bruins NHL 23 4 8 12 26
NHL totals 776 229 346 575 466 86 24 25 49 60

Career coaching record

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Division Rank Result
Boston Bruins 1954–55 40 13 12 15 (41) 4th in NHL Lost in Semi-Finals
1955–56 70 23 34 17 59 5th in NHL Missed Playoffs
1956–57 70 34 34 12 80 3rd in NHL Lost in Cup Finals
1957–58 70 34 34 12 80 3rd in NHL Lost in Cup Finals
1958–59 70 32 29 9 73 2nd in NHL Lost in Semi-Finals
1959–60 70 28 34 8 64 5th in NHL Missed Playoffs
1960–61 70 15 42 13 43 6th in NHL Missed Playoffs
1962–63 56 13 31 12 (38) 6th in NHL Missed Playoffs
1963–64 70 18 40 12 48 6th in NHL Missed Playoffs
1964–65 70 21 43 6 43 6th in NHL Missed Playoffs
1965–66 70 21 43 6 48 5th in NHL Missed Playoffs
Washington Capitals 1974–75 8 2 6 0 (4) 5th in Norris Missed Playoffs
1975–76 36 3 28 5 (11) 5th in Norris (fired)
Total 770 257 410 127
Milt Schmidt at a public autograph signing on March 6, 2011

Retirement and death

Schmidt was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. After his retirement from hockey management, Schmidt remained involved with the Bruins through their alumni team and as manager of the Boards and Blades Club at the Boston Garden. Milt Schmidt's jersey #15 was retired by the Boston Bruins on March 13, 1980. On October 6, 2010 the Bruins celebrated Schmidt's 75 years with the team during Milt Schmidt Night. On this night he received 2 commemorative Stanley Cup miniatures to represent the two cups he had brought to the club, plus he personally raised his number to the rafters inside TD Garden. He was the last surviving member of both the Bruins' 1939 and 1941 Stanley Cup teams.

On October 20, 2016, Schmidt along with Bobby Orr dropped the ceremonial puck at the Boston Bruins' first home game of the season.

Schmidt died after a recent stroke on January 4, 2017 in a retirement facility in Needham, Massachusetts at the age of 98; at the time of his death he was the oldest living former NHL player, and the last living player to play in the AHL's inaugural season.

Awards and achievements

  • Stanley Cup champion - all with Boston (1939 and 1941 as a player), (1970 and 1972 as general manager)
  • Finished his career with 229 goals and 346 assists for 575 points in 776 games.
  • At the time of his retirement, was fourth in NHL history in points scored and third in assists.
  • Named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1940, 1947 and 1951.
  • Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1952.
  • Played in NHL All-Star Game in 1947, 1948, 1951 and 1952.
  • Won the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in 1996.
  • Was the last active NHL player who played during the 1930s.
  • In 1998, he was ranked number 27 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
  • Won the Hart Trophy in 1951
  • NHL Scoring Champion in 1940
  • In January, 2017, Schmidt was part of the first group of players to be named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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