Of all the greatly crafted athletes, if I plunge back into the days, I surely can’t miss out on the legendary goalie, Terry Sawchuk. Speaking of Sawchuk gives off a melancholy melody yet filled with brilliance.
I believe every generation that has come and that is yet to come will keep Sawchuk in the palms of their hands and keep him alive forever and ever. To illustrate, Sawchuk was the highest-ranked goaltender in the National Hockey League (NHL) history.
Furthermore, he showcased his professionalism in the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, and the New York Rangers. Not to mention, he is a four-time Stanley Cup winner, the Vezina Trophy for the year’s best goalie four times.
During his career, he established himself as the all-time leader among NHL goaltenders with a record of 447 wins and with 103 shutouts. Sawchuk was the rage, the sea’s calm demeanor who flaunted every time with his physical injuries in the sport full of toughs.
“The day they put me on the net, I had a good game. I’ve stayed there ever since.”
|Full Name||Terrance Gordon Sawchuk|
|Date of Birth||December 28, 1929|
|Birth Place||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|Nick Name||“Ukey” or “The Uke”|
|Death Date||May 31, 1970|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|Father’s Name||Louis Sawchuk|
|Mother’s Name||Anne Sawchuk|
|Siblings||Two brothers, Mike Sawchuk and Roger Sawchuk|
|Wife||Patricia Ann Bowman Morey (m. 1953-1969)|
|Kids||Total Seven kids (including a son, Jerry Sawchuk)
A grandson, Jon Sawchuk
|Profession||An ice hockey player|
|Position||Detroit Red Wings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Los Angeles Kings
New York Rangers
|Net Worth||$5 million (approx)|
Terry Sawchuk | Early Life
Sawchuk (fully named Terrance Gordon Sawchuk) was born on December 28, 1929, under Capricorn’s sun sign. Terry was the third of the four sons and an adopted daughter of Anne Sawchuk and Louis Sawchuk.
As we ponder into the athlete’s early life, he has the tragic points that pierce someone. To illustrate, Sawchuk was first born in the North End of Winnipeg and later moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Back then, the section they moved into the east Bowman Avenue was the working-class Ukraine section.
Additionally, his father was a young boy who shifted to Canada from Galicia, Austria–Hungary (now Ukraine) and started working as a tinsmith. However, his mother, Anne, was simply a homemaker.
Furthermore, the foremost tragedy that struck the household was the second son, Roger’s death due to scarlet fever (pneumonia). As Terry was still a baby, he may not have had a huge impact; however, his oldest brother Mike’s death left him shaken.
As in detail, Mike was an aspiring baseball player, and Terry, who was ten during that time, idolized his older brother. Altogether, his brother died of a heart attack he was seventeen at that time.
“He used to take me out in Dad’s car and let me drive. We played cards together all the time. I missed him for a long time afterward.”
After his brother’s death, coming out of grievance was hard for the young Terry; however, he had moved into his life. When he was twelve, Terry had injured his right elbow during the rugby game; however, he kept the fact hidden from his parents.
Indeed, children shouldn’t be filled with fears because let’s look into the day when Terry had the injury. Not wanting to get punished and the fear within made him hide the fact, which later resulted in limited mobility. Not only this, but it also ended him having his right arm shorter than the left.
Altogether, the simple yet big mistake made him regret his whole career as it bothered his gameplay in every way possible. Speaking of his career, Sawchuk commenced playing in a local league after gaining a good friend’s goalie equipment.
Alongside his gameplay, Sawchuk also worked in a sheet-metal company installing vents over bakery ovens. Consequently, Terry Sawchuk was athletic ever since he entered the field and was highly sought even as an amateur. Therewith, he was signed into the Detroit Red Wings with an amateur contract and went to play for the junior team in Galt, Ontario, in 1946.
All in all, 1946 was also the year when he advanced to grade eleventh, however as far as the sources, Terry did not graduate from high school. He was trying various sports as baseball during the tenure as he starred in infield and the outfield.
By the end of the time, Terry Sawchuk posted the league’s batting title, where he was the part of the Elmwood Giants in the Manitoba Senior AA League.
Terry Sawchuk | Professional Career
His coach praised Sawchuk since his beginning days in ice hockey, and while getting evaluated, many greats had an eye on him.
Detroit Red Wings
In 1847, Detroit Red Wings signed in Sawchuk, and the responsibility was fast returned by him after claiming the Rookie of the Year in both the U.S. and American Hockey Leagues. Alongside as goalie Harry Lumley got injured, Sawchuk took the position in hand and posted his debut for the team against Boston.
Before Lumley retired to the team, Sawchuk had already covered seven games where he had recorded 103 shutouts. Altogether, as he showed promises for the team, the Red Wings traded Lumley to the Chicago Black Hawks.
Advancing further, in just a five-year tenure, Sawchuk led his team to the Stanley Cups three times, where he bagged the Calder Memorial Trophy. Apparently, he had three Vezina Trophies and became the top rookie selected as the All-Star five times.
Equally important, as a rookie, Sawchuk maintained fifty-six shutouts and had his goals-against average (GAA) under 2 while being selected as the outstanding rookie in the USHL in 1948 and the AHL in 1949.
Later, the 1951-52 season was far better after losing his weight as instructed by the Detroit general manager Jack Adams. As good things are followed by the bad, he was soon struggling to gain weight, which eventually made him sulky, impacting his personality.
Moreover, his games went by Sawchuk playing alongside his pain as there was no replacement goalie. Eventually, he had to have three operations on his right elbow and an appendectomy. Apart from this, he was already suffering through cuts and bruises, a broken foot, a collapsed lung, ruptured discs in his back, and severed tendons in his hand.
Following it, Sawchuk also sat out from games due to his crippling anxiety and injuries. What’s more, saddening is his injuries that didn’t just finish here. Furthermore, Sawchuk faced lordosis (abnormal inward curvature of the lumbar spine) due to the years of crouching in the net.
As the foremost face protection helmet for ice hockey came in 1959, Sawchuk only got to wear it since 1962. Therefore, by that time, Sawchuk had 400 stitches just in his face, which, yes, included the three stitches in his right eye.
Overall, when a makeup artist for Life Magazine was asked to apply stitches and scars in Sawchuk’s face for demonstration, they couldn’t find more space. Now, you can imagine how bad would that have been!
In June 1955, Detroit Red Wings traded Terry Sawchuk to the Boston Bruins to have a capable younger goaltender, Glenn Hall, in the minor leagues.
“(Glenn) Hall is more advanced now than Sawchuk when he joined us, and all the players insist Glenn has been NHL material for the past year. It was a case of trading one of them, and Sawchuk is the established player. Consequently, he brought a better offer.”
-Detroit general manager Jack Adams
No doubt, Terry Sawchuk was devasted with the statement and purpose but not willing to back up. Back then, Boston wasn’t as good as Detroit; however, Terry tried his best; however, he ended the fifth after missing the playoff season.
“Everybody in Boston has been wonderful to me. I’ll always give them my best.”
Similarly, he made up to the third position in the next season before ending up with mononucleosis. As we all know, Sawchuk is physically poor since his early days; thus, he feared his health was not only hampering him but the whole Boston team.
Therewith, Sawchuk announced about leaving the team, hoping to return to Detroit. However, he publicly announced his early retirement instead in 1957, which bought him might backlash. Most people and newspaper labeled him as the ‘quitter.’
Return to Detroit
Amidst the heated public and situation, the Detroits traded Johnny Bucyk to Boston for Sawchuk and Glenn Hall to Chicago. With it, the Detroit manager Adams stated Sawchuk to be the best goalie, to which Sawchuk replied, he wouldn’t want to play for any team other than Detroit.
Altogether, Sawchuk stood as the second All-star that season while the Detroit team finished last. Having these, the history repeats itself when Detroit waived Sawchuk when they had another promising young goalie, Roger Crozier.
Toronto Maple Leafs
All in all, the Toronto Maple Leafs reacted quickly to sign in Sawchuk for their team, where he played alongside Johnny Bower. The duo took the game by storm after bagging the Vezina Trophy and led the team to the 1967 Stanley Cup.
Playing alongside Bower, Sawchuk also posted his one hundredth career shutout in March against the Black Hawks. Overall, during the Stanley Cup games, Sawchuk had recorded 40 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
Los Angeles Kings
In the June 1967 expansion draft, the Leafs left Sawchuk, picked up by the Los Angeles Kings. However, he was again traded to Detroit.
“Last season was not all I hoped for. I had some good games, but I had some bad games. But I figure I have one more year left and plan to make it a good one. It wouldn’t be in Los Angeles.”
New York Rangers
After playing for numerous teams, Terry Sawchuk ended the last season of his NHL career with the New York Rangers. During his tenure with the team, Sawchuk started six games where he also had his 103rd shutout against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Overall, his last appearance in NHL ground was on April 14 for the playoff games.
Terry Sawchuk | Achievements and Awards
Popularly known as the ‘legendary goalie,’ Terry Sawchuk has set the boundary for goalkeepers to date. By the end of his career, Sawchuk had featured 501 games with 115 shutouts and 447 wins.
With his retirement, his number 1 jersey also retired from the Red Wings. By far, he is the Lester Patrick Trophy’s claimer, who was also elected to the Hall of Fame. Altogether, you can still read his steps through the book ‘Shutout: The Legend of Terry Sawchuk’ by sports author Brian Kendal.
Not only a single book, but you can also find him in the book called ‘Sawchuk: The troubles and triumphs of the World’s Greatest Goalie’ by David Dupuis or ‘Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems’ by Randall Maggs. You can also find him on a Canadian postage stamp or the movie ‘Goalie’ released in 2019.
Well, his legend story doesn’t have enough ink and papers to come in, so every single word that comes alongside is hard to write. However, even to date, many athletes choose the number 30 jersey, which was actually the jersey of Sawchuk in the Maple Leafs, after leaving jersey number 24.
- USHL Rookie of the Year (1948)
- AHL Rookie of the Year (1949)
- Calder Memorial Trophy (1951 winner)
- NHL All-Star Game (1950-1956, 1959, 1963, 1964, and 1968)
- NHL Second All-Star Team (1954, 1955, 1959, and 1963)
- Vezina Trophy (1952, 1953, 1955, and 1965 winner)
- Stanley Cup championships (1952, 1954, 1955, and 1967)
- Lester Patrick Trophy (1971 winner)
- Honored Member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
- NHL First All-Star Team (1951-1953)
Terry Sawchuk is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $5 million. Altogether, he was earning a salary of $40,000 during his time in the Los Angeles Kings.
Terry Sawchuk | Personal Life
Sawchuk has been struggling his whole life; ever since his birth, tragedy struck his life in one form or the other. Thus, he found himself in the despair of anxiety and depression. Back in the days, Terry Sawchuk was a married man to Patricia Ann Bowman Morey.
The duo got married through a simple court procedure on August 6, 1953, and shared seven kids. However, their relationship did not go healthily as Morey divorced Sawchuk in 1969 after years of endurance.
To illustrate, Sawchuk was involved in alcoholism, verbal and physical abuse, due to which Morey had threatened Sawchuk for divorce many times. Apart from it, he also had impregnated a Toronto girlfriend in 1967.
With years and years of struggle throughout his life, Terry Sawchuk took his last breath on May 31, 1970, at 40. Let me rewind time a bit. After the divorce and 1969 gameplay, Sawchuk fought with his Rangers teammate Ron Stewart.
As per the source, they were both drunk and fought over the new house’s expenses in Long Island, New York, which they had rented together. After the fight, Sawchuk suffered internal injuries that required surgery.
Therefore, he was taken to the Long Beach Memorial Hospital, where they performed surgery to remove his gallbladder. Following it, Sawchuk again had another surgery at New York Hospital Manhattan, for his damaged liver.
All in all, it was during the second surgery where Sawchuk died of pulmonary embolism. After a thorough investigation of the cause and the case, Nassau County grand jury stated it to be an accidental death. At present, Sawchuck resides in Mount Hope Cemetery in Pontiac, Michigan.