Stanley Cups: 6
No. 1 was retired on October 7, 1995.
All professional athletes dream of leaving behind a legacy long after they are gone, but few get to impact their sport the way Jacques Plante did. The Habs goaltending legend did it all during his glorious career, including literally changing the face of hockey forever.
The Shawinigan Falls native began wearing a mask strictly in practices in 1956 since Plante was forbidden by Habs coach Toe Blake from doing so during games. However, after being struck in the face by a shot from the Rangers’ Andy Bathgate on November 1, 1959, Plante went off to the dressing room for stitches and then returned wearing his trusty mask. Blake was incensed, but had no other goalie to call upon and Plante refused to return to the crease unless he kept the mask on. Plante won the argument and the rest is history.
Plante’s dominance during his 11 years with the Canadiens saw him set numerous team records, while claiming six Vezina Trophies to go with the half dozen Stanley Cups he helped bring to Montreal. Plante was an integral part of the Habs dynasty of the late 1950s that saw the Canadiens win five consecutive Cups from 1956 to 1960 to establish a league record which still stands today.
In 1961-62, Plante became the first-ever goalie to earn both the Vezina and Hart Trophy as the league’s top goaltender and MVP in the same season. It took almost 40 years for Jose Theodore (2002) and Dominik Hasek (1997,1998) to join Plante in that elite club.
Plante was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978, and his No. 1 was retired by the Canadiens on Oct. 7, 1995. The goaltending pioneer passed away in 1986 at age 57.
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