“The Blackhawks and the Nationwide Hockey League have misplaced a legend in Tony Esposito, who handed away as we speak after a short battle with pancreatic most cancers. As we mourn along with his spouse Marilyn, sons Mark (Kim) and Jason, and grandchildren Lauren and Kamryn, we have fun Tony’s life and contributions to the Blackhawks and the group.
Tony was one of the essential and well-liked figures within the historical past of the franchise as we close to its a hundredth anniversary. 4 generations of our household — my grandfather Arthur, my father Invoice, my son Danny and I — have been blessed by his work ethic as a Corridor of Fame goalie, however extra importantly, by his mere presence and spirit.
Likewise, 4 generations of hockey followers grew to like Tony. We have been fortunate sufficient to draft him from the Montreal Canadiens on June 15, 1969, for a sum of $25,000. The Blackhawks had completed in final place of the East Division the earlier season. Tony instantly took over because the No. 1 goalie, and led the Blackhawks to an unprecedented leap to first place in his first season whereas registering 15 shutouts, nonetheless a contemporary file.
He was tireless, dependable and an awesome teammate. For those who have been a brand new participant in Chicago, Tony and Marilyn at all times made you’re feeling welcome and cozy. Rookies have been invited to their residence for numerous dinners, and when the Espositos held their annual Christmas occasion, all people related to the Blackhawks was there. All people, whether or not you have been a longtime veteran or an awed rookie.
Tony’s quantity 35 has lengthy been retired, however his profession with the Blackhawks really encompassed two marvelous chapters. In any case these years of creating spectacular saves and listening to chants of “TO-NEE!! TO-NEE!!” all through the Stadium, he joined the Blackhawks as an envoy. He was born for that position, too, as he reached out — whether or not by request or on his personal — to followers, sponsors, and pals of our group. He rejected hundreds of pucks in his first job, he by no means mentioned no in his second job.
It’s a unhappy day for the Blackhawks and all of hockey. However along with his fantastic household, allow us to have fun a life effectively lived. Tony Esposito’s banner might be a part of the United Heart perpetually, as will his legacy as a famous person, on and off the ice.”
Esposito went seven consecutive seasons with 30-plus wins (1969-76). A local of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, he was inducted into the Hockey Corridor of Fame in 1988 the place he joined his brother, Phil, who performed 18 seasons within the NHL. Tony Esposito’s No. 35 was retired by the Blackhawks on November 20, 1988 at Chicago Stadium. In 2017, Esposito was named one of many “100 Biggest Gamers in NHL Historical past” by the NHL. Esposito has served as a Blackhawks Group Ambassador since March 19, 2008.
He was honored on the United Heart that evening in a pregame ceremony the place he joined Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita who have been earlier provided that title with the group.