Like many red-blooded Canadians, Phil Esposito grew up around the ice. That’s just what he did, every moment he had he played, he loved it and always played for fun. My consistency in posting lately has been on ice too. We recently sold our house, moved into a rental and have started plans to build ourselves a new home. Busy, busy, busy and it has been taking away some of my blogging time. Enough of that though, back to Phil.
As a young man Phil played hard enough to earn a spot onto the Minor League Tee Pees where he went on to impress the scouts of the Chicago Blackhawks and was given the chance at the pro level in the season of 1963-64. His career in Chicago was short lived, mainly because he couldn’t get along with Blackhawks management. By the end of the the 1967 season he was traded by Chicago to the Boston Bruins.
This trade has arguably been one of the worst in Chicago Blackhawks history and one of the best in Boston Bruins history. This trade paired Esposito with another All-Time Great, Bobby Orr. The two complimented each others style of play and brought much success to the Bruins. If Orr couldn’t find a score he would pass the puck to Esposito who would typically be planted in the slot right in front of the net. Esposito wouldn’t hit the puck very hard like some centers, instead his talent was in his quickness and accuracy.
Phil Esposito was also known for being big and strong, he was hard to move. He would stand in front of the net and you couldn’t get him to move, everyone knew what the strategy was but you couldn’t do anything about it. Goal scoring for him was being in front of the net, in the right place at the right time all the while utilizing his speed and accuracy of the puck. The moment the puck hit his stick it was gone, imitating a carom in billiards.
The most memorable moment of Phil’s career was in the 1972 Summit Series when Canada hosted Russia. The series was not going very well and the Canadian fans began booing their team. Esposito in a live interview immediately after one of the games rebuked the Canadian fans:
“If the Russian fans boo their players in Moscow like you people are booing us, I’ll come back and apologize personally to every one of you, but I really don’t think that will happen. We gave it and are doing our best. All of us guys are really disheartened… We came out here because we love Canada. They’re a good hockey team, and we don’t know what we could do better, but I promise we will figure it out. But it’s totally ridiculous – I don’t think it is fair that we should be booed.
The fans responded to Esposito and embraced him. Later that year Esposito won the 1972 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s outstanding male athlete of the year and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Other accomplishments include: 2x Stanley Cup Winner | 8x All-Star | 2x Hart Memorial Trophy | 2x Ted Lindsay Award | 5x Art Ross Trophy.
Career Stats: Goals 717 | Assist 873 | Points 1590 | Game Winning Goals 118.
ROOKIE CARD OF HALL OF FAMER PHIL ESPOSITO
1965-66 Topps, Card No. 116 (shop ebay)
The 1965 Hockey Set houses 128 cards. The cards were grouped together by team which is a concept I’ve always liked. The cards were printed in Canada this is why their is a french translation following the english translation. Card design is phenomenal. I love the colors on the front of this card, the red Blackhawks uniform pops in front of that blue background. The card back screams pure vintage and I’m wondering if any of you hockey aficionado’s knows the answer to the trivia question?
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $60.00-$140.00; graded Excellent-Mint copies (6) sell between $330.00-$450.00 and a Near Mint – Mint copy (8) sells in the $900.00-$1400.00 range. On 4/22/19, just 3 days prior to this post, a PSA 9 sold for $4,200.51 respectively.
Phil Esposito Stats | Hockey-Reference.com https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/e/esposph01.html (accessed April 25, 2019).
Wikipedia contributors, “Phil Esposito,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Phil_Esposito&oldid=893857098 (accessed April 25, 2019).
Victor Roman Sr
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