There’s a lot of hype surrounding the NHL today. Whether it be the same big name players making the headlines night in night out. Young starlets coming into the league and taking it by storm. Or even the expansion, welcoming other teams from places where gambling is more of a priority than watching sports.
The way the NHL shapes up, it’s easy to get caught up in all the antics of sports with 82 games in a season. But from time to time, we tend to forget about the true greats that made the sport of Ice Hockey what it is today, until we’re reminded through not only life, but death.
On January 4th, Boston Bruins legend Milt Schmidt sadly passed away, at the age of 98. By his side in his final moments were son and daughter, Conrad and Nancy.
After being elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, Schmidt was an outstanding individual. He was the only person in Bruins history to serve the hockey club as a player, captain, coach and general manager. He won 4 Stanley Cups in Boston, which is more than any other player in club history. Two cups as a player (1993, 1941) then two later on as a GM (1970, 1972). During this time Schmidt played in four All-Star games and won the Hart Trophy as the leagues Most Valuable Player in 1951, as well as an Art Ross Trophy in 1940, as the leagues scoring champion. There’s a reason he’s been named the ultimate Bruin.
Milt Schmidt ranks 12th all-time on the Boston Bruins scoring list, and played on a line known to many as the ‘Kraut Line’, alongside linemates Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer. During the time they were linemates, the trio produced a magnificent season in 1939-1940, as they finished the league 1-2-3 in scoring. That feat has never been repeated again, and probably never will.
After his retirement in 1954, Schmidt went straight to coaching. He stayed behind the bench for the 1960-61 season, then went into the Bruins front office as an assistant General Manager the year after. But that was short lived, two years later he was back to coaching. Then, four seasons on, he became the Bruins’ fourth GM at the start of 1967-68, and won two cups, before stepping down after five seasons.
Ever since the moment he left the Bruins organisation, he never really left. He was involved in a lot behind the scenes at TD Garden, and was brought out for ceremonial puck drops on many occasions. The entire Bruins organisation are no doubt saddened by Schimdt’s death, and will remember him forevermore.
Even though he is gone, he will always be the Ultimate Bruin. RIP.