Blackhawks Mourn Tony Esposito

Sadly, the Chicago Blackhawks announced on Tuesday evening that Hall of Fame netminder Tony Esposito has passed away.

Esposito, 78, played 15 seasons with the Blackhawks. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1970 and won three Vezina Trophies (1970, 1972, 1974) with Chicago. To this day, Esposito is the organization’s all-time leader in shutouts (74) and wins (418). His #35 was retired by the Blackhawks on November 20, 1988 at the Chicago Stadium.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement regarding the passing of Esposito:

“The National Hockey League, the Chicago Blackhawks and the city of Chicago lost a beloved member of the hockey family earlier today with the passing of Tony Esposito,” Commissioner Bettman said. “From his arrival in the Windy City in the late 1960s through an illustrious playing career and decades as a franchise icon, Tony left an indelible mark – both on the ice and in the community – over the next 52 years. Beyond the individual awards – and there were many, including a Calder Trophy, numerous All-Star and Vezina Trophy recognitions, and ultimately election to the Hockey Hall of Fame – it was Esposito’s style, charisma and heart that endeared him most to hockey fans not only in Chicago but across the NHL. ‘Tony O’ was a fierce competitor who also took great pride in being an entertainer, whether it was with his pioneering butterfly style during his playing days or interacting with fans across the League as one of this game’s great ambassadors.

“The hockey world will miss him greatly. The NHL family extends its deepest sympathies to his wife, Marilyn, sons Mark (Kim) and Jason, and grandchildren Lauren and Kamryn.”

20 thoughts on “Blackhawks Mourn Tony Esposito

  • August 10, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    Tony u where the greatest blackhawk goalie in franchise history will miss you

  • August 10, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Sad loss for the Esposito family and all of hockey.

  • August 10, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    Rest in Peace 35. The greatest goalie to wear the Blackhawk sweater.

  • August 10, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Sad day, certainly one of the alltime greats in Blackhawks history.

  • August 10, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    I echo all the above comments – great player great Hawk – the original butterfly goalie

    RIP Tony O

  • August 10, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    Shocked! Did not know he was very ill. So very sorry and sad. Much too young.

    I’ll give my age away by saying that I started watching hockey when Glenn Hall and Dennis Dejordy were our goalies. I didn’t understand at the time how great Espo was until I started looking at stats. He was never able to solve brother Phil, who scored on him a lot.

    Apologize for bringing this up but so many of us think of the Lemaire shot from center ice in Game 7 of the 1971 Cup loss to MTL. Felt awful for Tony. (Team was not nearly as deep as our dynasty this past decade.)

    Wanted: A goaltender as good as Tony O!

  • August 10, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Wow , Tony is my favorite player , always has been always will be . I became a Hawks fan because of him , my older brother was a Boston fan and loved Phil , my favorite number…35 . Been that was since i can remember .
    R.I.P Tony your dedication to the game is untouchable !

  • August 10, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    May Esposito rest in peace. 15 years as Hawk goalie.

    Glenn Hall was the first Hawk goalie I saw in person at the old Stadium in the early sixties (he’s now 89). He played 10 years with the Hawks and another 10 (before and after) with others.

    Aging myself.

  • August 10, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    He was my favourite goalie and I was so lucky to see him play a few time against Montreal … I was really young but he was my idol at the time .
    Great goalie
    Nothing is forever and we know .
    Maybe the next Italian goalie will be another great goaltender .

  • August 10, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    A very sad day for Blackhawks fans, but especially those of a certain age. Thanks Tony O!

  • August 11, 2021 at 6:55 am

    An inspiration. An innovator. A good man.

    Gone, but certainly will not be forgotten.

  • August 11, 2021 at 7:19 am

    As a young kid their was something about him-intangible, that helped seal my love for this team. God Bless.

  • August 11, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    How very sad to hear this tragic news. Pancreatic cancer moves very quickly, and once discovered it is usually too late. It was a great pleasure to watch Tony play at the Stadium for many years. His only disappointing moment to my memory was the 71 Cup final playoff game 7 where Richard goal scored in the “fog game” that was crushing to us Hawks fans at that time. The Cup was within our grasp leading 2-0! I will always fondly remember the booming To-ny, To-ny cheers at the Stadium. There certainly were plenty of those!!

    RIP Tony O. One of the greats…

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  • August 11, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    Tony O is the Bench mark that all goalies CAN TRY to measure up to but almost none will achieve… He was a great goalie & a Class Act as a person….
    Dedicate 2021-2022 to #35…
    Go Hawks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • August 11, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    I became a Hawks fan because of Tony-O, while living in Tucson, Arizona. He was the greatest. Rest In Peace.

  • August 11, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    TONY, TONY, TONY !!!!! Can still hear that after a big stop in the Old Barn. It makes me sad to think he is gone, heaven just got themselves a helluva goalie. I was lucky enough to meet him and he was as great a person as he was a goalie. I am sure when you were approaching the pearly gates you once again heard, TONY, TONY, TONY!!!!!
    Rest In Peace and thanks for all the great memories. You will be missed.

  • August 13, 2021 at 3:43 am

    1970 i was a third grader, 150 miles south of Chicago. I wasn’t a hockey hot bed. The fact that our school library had a book featuring both Esposito brothers was a huge factor in shaping my next 50 yrs. RIP Tony, thank you!

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