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Milt Schmidt's Message to the Fans
Milton Conrad Schmidt (born March 5, 1918) is a former professional ice hockey center, coach and general manager, mostly for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. He is an Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Born in in Kitchener, Ontario, Schmidt's early years were spent there, where he attended King Edward Public School. In high school, he briefly attended Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School, but dropped out at age 14 in order to work in order to support his family (his father had become too ill to work regularly), and took a job at a shoe factory. He continued playing junior hockey with the Kitchener Empires and Kitchener Greenshirts. Schmidt was a childhood friend of fellow Hall of Famers Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer.
Schmidt played junior hockey with Dumart and Bauer in Kitchener, Ontario before their rights were all acquired by the Bruins in 1935. After playing a final year of junior hockey in Kitchener, Ontario, and half a year with the Bruins' AHL Providence Reds farm team, Schmidt would be called up to the Bruins during the 1937 season. He would quickly prove himself as a hardnosed center, a skilled stickhandler and smooth playmaker.
Schmidt and his childhood friends Bauer and Dumart would be teamed together in the NHL as well. They formed the famous Kraut line, and were a strong and dependable line for the Bruins for most of the following fifteen seasons. They were a key ingredient to the Bruins' success as they rampaged to the regular season title and a hard fought Stanley Cup victory in 1939. The following season would be Schmidt's true coming out party, as he led the league in scoring and guided the Bruins to another first place finish and the third most goals in team history to date.
The 1941 season saw Schmidt spearhead the Bruins to their second Cup win in three years. However, the powerhouse Brown and Gold were decimated by World War II the following year as Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart enlisted in the Canadian military and superstar American goaltender Frank Brimsek enlisted with the American Coast Guard. The Kraut Line found success playing hockey for the Ottawa RCAF team by winning the Allan Cup before heading overseas. Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart would end up missing three productive NHL seasons due to their service in the War.
Schmidt returned for the beginning of the 1946 season. He resumed his starring ways and finished fourth in league scoring in 1947. Named captain in 1951, Schmidt won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player that year. He retired as a player partway through the 19541955 to take over head coaching duties, replacing Lynn Patrick.
He would coach the Bruins up to the 1966 season with a year and a half hiatus. After coaching the Bruins for 11 seasons Schmidt was promoted to the General Manager position in 1967 just as the league ushered in six new franchises, doubling in size. Schmidt would prove to be a great architect in the new era of the NHL, acquiring and drafting several key players to build a Bruins team that won two more Stanley Cups titles in the early 1970s. His biggest deal was a blockbuster as he acquired youngsters Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield from the Chicago Black Hawks in exchange for journeymen Pit Martin, Gilles Marotte and Jack Norris.
After his long and loyal career in the Bruins organization, Schmidt left the team to become the first General Manager of the expansion Washington Capitals for the start of the 1975 season. Unfortunately for Schmidt, the Capitals set a benchmark in futility that still stands as an NHL record today, as the new franchise finished the year with a minuscule 21 points with the worst record in the 18 team league (8 wins - 67 losses -5 ties.
Milt Schmidt's jersey #15 was retired by the Boston Bruins. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. After his retirement from hockey management, Schmidt remained involved with the Bruins through their alumni team and as manager of the Boards and Blades Club at the Boston Garden.
Finished his career with 229 goals and 346 assists for 575 points in 776 games.
At the time of his retirement, was third in NHL history in points scored and second in assists.
Named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1940, 1947 and 1951.
Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1952.
Played in All-Star Game in 1947, 1948, 1951 and 1952.
Won the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in 1996.
Was the last active NHL player who played during the 1930s.
In 1998, he was ranked number 27 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
1^ Hicks, Jeff. "Kitchener's Great One", The Record, Kitchener, Ontario, November 4, 2006, p. A1, A8, A9.
2^ Diamond, Dan (ed.) (1998, 2000). Total Hockey: Second Edition. Total Sports Publishing, Kingston, New York, 655, 698, 802.
Source: Wikipedia.org at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milt_Schmidt
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