Former Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens goalkeeper Tony Esposito died at the age of 78 on Tuesday, succumbing to pancreatic cancer.
The Illinois Organization made the announcement along with a free letter from the party’s chairman, Rocky Wirts.
“Tony was one of the most important and recognizable figures in the history of our team,” Wirtz said. Four generations of my family have been blessed with his work ethic, presence and spirit, in what he accomplished in his Hall of Fame career.”
National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Pittman also shared his glowing comments.
“The NHL, the Blackhawks and the City of Chicago have lost a beloved member of our hockey family,” he said in a statement. From his arrival in Windy City in the late 1960s to his illustrious career in which he played as an icon for the organization, Tony has left an indelible mark on Ice and society. Besides his multiple singles honors, it was Esposito’s style, charisma and heart that got fans excited throughout the NHL. Tony O was a fierce competitor who prided himself on being an athlete, whether as a pioneer of butterfly style in goalkeeping, or as one of the best ambassadors for the National Hockey League.
The goalkeeper played his first 13 National League games in Canadian uniform before spending the rest of his career with the Illinois roster. He showed a 418-302-148 career record between 1968 and 1984, having signed 74 lockouts. He won the Vézina Cup three times.
“Pop culture maven. Unapologetic student. Avid introvert. Gamer. Problem solver. Tv fanatic.”