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Tony Esposito

Played Junior And College Hockey

After graduating from high school, Esposito was enlisted to play goal for the junior A hockey team in Sault Ste. Marie for the 1962-63 season. The team was founded by his father and other parents. This led to a scholarship at Michigan Technical University, where Esposito played goalie for the Huskies. In his four years there, he was in goal for three seasons, beginning in 1964. He

Tony Esposito

was an All-America every year, and won an NCAA championship. Esposito also earned a degree in business administration.

While playing for Michigan Tech, Esposito would visit his brother Phil, who was then playing professional hockey in the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks. There, Esposito talked about his position with the great goaltender Glenn Hall, who taught him a great deal. Hall used a version of the butterfly style of goaltending which influenced Esposito's own approach. When Esposito graduated in 1967, he immediately signed with the NHL's Montreal Canadians who loaned him to the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks for the rest of the 1967-68 season.

For the 1968-69 season, Esposito played on the Houston Apollos of the Central Hockey League, a farm team of the Canadiens. In nineteen games, he had a 2.42 goals against average. By this time, Esposito already had his distinctive style of goaltending. He was an early proponent of the butterfly style of goaltending. That is, he would drop to his knees to block shots and make saves. Unlike other early butterfliers, like Hall, Esposito would drop before the shot fired and stayed there after.

This was not the only aspect of Esposito's goaltending style. He would also sprawl on the ice, roam from his net, scramble—anything to make saves. He did whatever was necessary to get the job done, no matter how unorthodox. Esposito also had a quick glove. As a Newsweek contributor wrote of a game in 1970, "Against Boston last week, the pudgy, heavily padded Esposito whirled around the goal like a pirouetting pachyderm, deflecting shots with his elbows, knees, and shoulders. Occasionally he even used his stick."

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Famous Sports StarsHockeyTony Esposito Biography - Played Junior And College Hockey, Picked Up By The Blackhawks, Played In Summit Series, Retired As A Player - CONTACT INFORMATION