April 14, 2004

Hockey History

The Vezina trophy is awarded each year to the top goaltender of the season. It's named for George Vezina, the first great goalie to play the game. He started his career in 1910, playing for a mediocre Montreal team. Despite that, he led the league in goals-against average his first two seasons, took Montreal to the Stanley Cup finals in his fourth season, and won it all for the first time in his fifth season.

In the early days, goalies were not allowed to fall to the ice to make a stop, making it much harder to prevent scoring. George Vezina developed a stand-up style that influenced other goalies in the league for decades.

In November, 1924, Vezina was obviously not in good health. Despite a high fever he was in net for the Canadiens' season opener versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. He collapsed during the first period, and was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis. He passed away four months later.

George Vezina was one of the original dozen players elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame when it opened in 1945.

Posted by Ted at April 14, 2004 07:57 PM
Category: History
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