Gump Worsley

Last updated
Gump Worsley
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1980
Born(1929-05-14)May 14, 1929
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died January 26, 2007(2007-01-26) (aged 77)
Beloeil, Quebec, Canada
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight 155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens
Minnesota North Stars
Playing career 19521974

Lorne John "Gump" Worsley (May 14, 1929 – January 26, 2007) was a professional ice hockey goaltender. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, 'Gump' was given his nickname because friends thought he looked like comic-strip character Andy Gump.

Ice hockey team sport played on ice using sticks, skates, and a puck

Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.

Goaltender person who blocks the goal in ice hockey

In ice hockey, the goaltender or goalie or goalkeeper is the player responsible for preventing the hockey puck from entering their team's net, thus preventing the opposing team from scoring. The goaltender usually plays in or near the area in front of the net called the goal crease. Goaltenders tend to stay at or beyond the top of the crease to cut down on the angle of shots. In today's age of goaltending there are two common styles, butterfly and hybrid. Because of the power of shots, the goaltender wears special equipment designed to protect the body from direct impact. The goalie is one of the most valuable players on the ice, as their performance can greatly change the outcome or score of the game. One-on-one situations, such as breakaways and shootouts, have the tendency to highlight a goaltender's pure skill, or lack thereof. No more than one goaltender is allowed to be on the ice for each team at any given time. Teams are not required to use a goaltender and may instead opt to play with an additional skater, but the defensive disadvantage this poses generally means that the strategy is only used as a desperation maneuver when trailing late in a game or can be used if the opposing team has a delayed penalty.

Montreal City in Quebec, Canada

Montreal is the most populous municipality in the Canadian province of Quebec and the second-most populous municipality in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city. The city is centred on the Island of Montreal, which took its name from the same source as the city, and a few much smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which is Île Bizard. It has a distinct four-season continental climate with warm to hot summers and cold, snowy winters.



At the outset of his career, Worsley played four years in the minor leagues, most notably for the New York Rovers of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), the St. Paul Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL), and the Saskatoon Quakers of the Western Hockey League (WHL). For three straight seasons between 1950 and 1952, he achieved success with all three teams, garnering First Team All-Star and leading goaltender recognition.

The New York Rovers were a senior ice hockey team that was established in 1935. They played in the Eastern Hockey League as a farm team of the New York Rangers. The Rovers played alongside the Rangers in Madison Square Garden. They played in the Eastern League through 1947–48. When the EHL took a break for the 1948–49 season, the Rovers played in the Quebec Senior Hockey League until the EHL resumed for the 1949–50 season. The Rovers folded in 1952 because of a dispute over television rights. The team couldn't sell the rights and could not afford to go on without doing so.

Eastern Hockey League

The Eastern Hockey League was a minor professional United States ice hockey league.

The St. Paul Saints are a defunct professional ice hockey team that played from 1945 to 1951 in the United States Hockey League. The Saints were based in Saint Paul, Minnesota and played at the St. Paul Auditorium.

Photo with New York, 1962 1962 Topps Gump Worsley.png
Photo with New York, 1962

In the fall of 1952 he was signed by the New York Rangers of the NHL; though playing for a last place team, won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. However, after asking for a $500 a year pay increase, he was promptly returned to the minor leagues the following season. In 1954, playing for the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL, he won the league most valuable player award.

The 1952–53 NHL season was the 36th season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the Boston Bruins four games to one in the final series.

New York Rangers hockey team of the National Hockey League

The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in New York City. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden in the borough of Manhattan, an arena they share with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They are one of three NHL teams located in the New York metropolitan area; the others being the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.

National Hockey League North American professional ice hockey league

The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.

In 1954, Worsley resumed as the Rangers starting goaltender, beating out future NHL star Johnny Bower. Wearing the traditional number 1 for goaltenders, he toiled for the Rangers for the next nine seasons, generally playing well for poor performing teams.

The 1954–55 NHL season was the 38th season of the National Hockey League. The Detroit Red Wings were the Stanley Cup champions as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens four games to three in the best-of-seven final series. The Canadiens were without star forward Maurice 'Rocket' Richard who had been suspended for the playoffs, a suspension which led to the March 17, 1955 "Richard Riot" in Montreal.

Johnny Bower Canadian ice hockey player

John William Bower, nicknamed "The China Wall", was a Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender who won four Stanley Cups during his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 2017 he was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.

In the summer of 1963, he became involved in a proposed players' union, and was promptly traded to the Montreal Canadiens. While he was relegated to the minor-league Quebec Aces for parts of two seasons—and characteristically winning First Team All-Star honors in the AHL in 1964—Worsley played his best years for the Canadiens as a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams: 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969. His best season was 1968, where he followed up a Vezina-winning performance and a career-low 1.98 goals against average by going undefeated in the playoffs with eleven straight wins. In dispute with Sam Pollock, Montreal general manager, over refusal to be demoted to the minors, and coach Claude Ruel's consistent playing of Rogatien Vachon, he quit in the midst of the 1969–70 season. Suspended for not reporting to the Canadiens' Montreal Voyageurs farm team, he was replaced by Phil Myre.

The 1963–64 NHL season was the 47th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Toronto Maple Leafs won their third consecutive Stanley Cup by defeating the Detroit Red Wings four games to three in the final series.

Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League team in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Montreal Canadiens are a professional ice hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Quebec Aces ice hockey team

The Quebec Aces, also known in French as Les As de Québec, were an amateur and later a professional men's ice hockey team from Quebec City, Quebec. The Aces were founded in 1928 by Anglo-Canadian Pulp and Paper Mills, the name Aces standing for Anglo-Canadian Employees with an s to form a plural. The French name was added later. The Aces played until 1971, from 1930 on playing home games at the Quebec Coliseum. Most notable of the Aces' players was the legendary Jean Béliveau, who played for the Quebec Aces in 1951-52 and 1952-53.

Worsley was lured from retirement by the Minnesota North Stars to play in tandem with Cesare Maniago; he starred for parts of five more years, retiring at the age of 44 after the 1973–74 season. His best season with the North Stars was 1972, where he was second in the league with a 2.12 goals against average. Named to play in the 25th National Hockey League All-Star Game, Worsley was the first goaltender to have won 300 games and lost 300 games. [1] This feat was later accomplished by Curtis Joseph.

Minnesota North Stars former hockey team of the National Hockey League

The Minnesota North Stars were a professional ice hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 26 seasons, from 1967 to 1993. The North Stars played their home games at the Met Center in Bloomington, and the team's colors for most of its history were green, yellow, gold and white. The North Stars played 2,062 regular season games and made the NHL playoffs 17 times, including two Stanley Cup Finals appearances. In the fall of 1993, the franchise moved to Dallas, and is now known as the Dallas Stars.

Cesare Maniago Canadian ice hockey player

Cesare "Hail Cesare" Maniago is a retired National Hockey League goaltender. He is second all-time in games played in goal for the Minnesota North Stars, where he spent most of his career.

The 1973–74 NHL season was the 57th season of the National Hockey League. The Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup championship, the team's first. The team was the first of the post-1967 teams to win the Cup.

Worsley was known for his wry sense of humour and various eccentricities. Early in his career with the Rangers, regularly facing 40–50 shots a night, he was asked: "Which team gives you the most trouble?" His reply – "The New York Rangers." Accused by Rangers' coach Phil Watson of having a beer belly, he replied, "Just goes to show you what he knows. I only drink Johnnie Walker Red."

Worsley was vehemently opposed to wearing a mask. He was the second-to-last professional hockey goaltender to play without a mask. Andy Brown of the Indianapolis Racers was the last, the following season—wearing a mask in the last six games of his career. Asked about why he chose to go without, Worsley told reporters: "My face is my mask." [2]

Worsley was also well known for his fear of flying. On November 25, 1968, [3] en route to Los Angeles, he suffered a nervous breakdown after a rough flight from Montreal's Dorval Airport to Chicago. Subsequently, he received psychiatric treatment and missed action. It is said upon emerging from retirement to play for the North Stars he was assured, as Minnesota was in the central part of the continent, the team traveled less than any other in the league.

Soccer career

Worsley was an excellent soccer player, beginning his career as a junior with Westmount. In 1948 he was a member of the Montreal youth all-star team. As a promising young player, he soon attracted attention; the following year he moved up to McMasterville in the Montreal League. There he was selected to play in a trial game from which the Montreal all-stars were chosen to play the touring English club Fulham in 1951.

In the summer of 1952, while playing hockey for the Saskatoon Quakers, he played centre forward for the Saskatoon All-stars against the touring Tottenham Hotspur from England. In 1953, he joined Montréal Hakoah FC and helped his new club to the Canadian final, but they lost the three-game series to the Westminster Royals. [4] In 1954, continued his soccer career with Montreal Vickers. His father was also an outstanding soccer player and won a Canadian championship medal with Montreal Grand Trunk in 1919.


Worsley suffered many injuries during his career, including: a near career-ending back injury while with Vancouver of the WHL, when Gus Kyle hit him from behind; a knee problem in the 1956 playoffs that required surgery; a severed tendon in 1960; in 1961, a blistering shot from Bobby Hull that hit him in the forehead; a pulled hamstring that same year; a pulled hamstring in 1963–64; knee surgery in 1966, followed by a sprained knee then a concussion from a hard-boiled egg thrown by a New York fan; a broken finger in the 1969 playoffs; a pulled hamstring in 1972–73 that reduced his effectiveness to the point he temporarily retired from hockey. The blast to the forehead from Bobby Hull landed him, unconscious, in Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. Upon awakening, asked how he was feeling, Gump replied: "Good thing the puck hit me flat!" [5]

Retirement and death

At the time of his retirement, Worsley had played more games than any goalie except for Terry Sawchuk and Glenn Hall. He retired with a record of 335 wins, 352 losses and 150 ties, with 43 shutouts, and a goals against average of 2.91.

Worsley suffered a heart attack on January 22, 2007, and died at his home in Beloeil, Quebec on January 26, 2007. [6]


Two Canadian indie rock bands, Huevos Rancheros ("Gump Worsley's Lament") and The Weakerthans ("Elegy for Gump Worsley"), have recorded tribute songs to Worsley. Canadian band Sons of Freedom also named their second album Gump after Worsley.

Career achievements and facts

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
1946–47Verdun CyclonesQJHL256181150013835.52
1947–48Verdun CyclonesQJHL291311517409513.285143172103.97
1948–49Montreal St. Francis XavierMMJHL4724212284012272.585233101603.10
1948–49 New York Rovers QSHL 2120502.50
1949–50New York Rovers EAHL 4725175283013372.8612827202712.25
1949–50 New Haven Ramblers AHL 2200120402.00
1950–51 St. Paul Saints USHL 6433265392018432.82413257902.19
1951–52 Saskatoon Quakers PCHL 66331914396020653.07131038183112.27
1952–53Saskatoon Quakers WHL 135717805003.84
1952–53 Edmonton Flyers WHL110060202.00
1952–53 New York Rangers NHL 5013298300015323.06.901
1953–54 Vancouver Canucks WHL7039247420016842.4012747092902.45
1954–55 New York RangersNHL65153317390019743.03.916
1955–56 New York RangersNHL70322810420019842.83.9223031901404.67.861
1956–57 New York RangersNHL68262814408021633.18.9065143162103.99.893
1957–58 New York RangersNHL372110622008642.32.9296243652804.60.872
1957–58 Providence Reds AHL251211215288303.26
1958–59 New York RangersNHL67263011400119822.97.907-
1959–60 New York RangersNHL397238230113503.52.899
1959–60 Springfield Indians AHL1511319003332.20
1960–61 New York RangersNHL5920298347319013.28.912
1961–62 New York RangersNHL6022279353117222.92.9126243842103.28.918
1962–63 New York RangersNHL67223410398021723.27.915
1963–64 Montreal Canadiens NHL83224442212.97.897
1963–64 Quebec Aces AHL4730161282012852.729455432903.20
1964–65 Quebec AcesAHL3724121224710122.70
1964–65 Montreal CanadiensNHL19107110205012.94.9068535011421.68.936
1965–66 Montreal CanadiensNHL5129146289911422.36.92010826022011.99.931
1966–67 Montreal CanadiensNHL189628884713.18.90020180201.50.956
1967–68 Montreal CanadiensNHL40199822137361.98.922121106722111.88.930
1968–69 Montreal CanadiensNHL30195417036452.25.9207513701402.27.921
1969–70 Montreal CanadiensNHL53123601402.33.915
1969–70 Minnesota North Stars NHL85114532012.65.9323121801404.67.880
1970–71 Minnesota North StarsNHL24410813695702.50.9204312401303.25.888
1971–72 Minnesota North StarsNHL341610719236822.12.934421194712.16.935
1972–73 Minnesota North StarsNHL126236243002.88.906
1973–74 Minnesota North StarsNHL29814516018603.22.901
NHL totals86133535215050,1832407432.88.913704026408418952.78.912

"Gump Worsley's stats". The Goaltender Home Page. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 

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  1. Hockey’s Book of Firsts, p.18, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN   978-1-57215-037-9
  2. Litsky, Frank (29 January 2007). "Gump Worsley, 77, Hall of Famer Who Won Four Titles, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  3. Toronto Star, Monday 25 November 1968, page 15
  4. Norm Gillespie (August 19, 1953). "Draw with Hakoah". Google. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  5. "Gump Worsley". Legends of Hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  6. Associated Press (28 January 2007). "Worsley, who helped Montreal to four Cups, dies at 77". ESPN. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
Preceded by
Bernie Geoffrion
Winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Camille Henry
Preceded by
Johnny Bower
and Terry Sawchuk
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Charlie Hodge

Succeeded by
Denis DeJordy
and Glenn Hall
Preceded by
Denis DeJordy
and Glenn Hall
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Rogatien Vachon

Succeeded by
Glenn Hall
and Jacques Plante