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Glenn Hall Biography

Simple Upbringing, Signs With Red Wings, Chronology, Streaking To A Cup, Career Statistics


Canadian hockey player

Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Hall's streak of 502 consecutive games (552, including playoffs) pales in raw number to the baseball streaks of Cal Ripken Jr. (2,632) and Lou Gehrig (2,130). It's not even the longevity mark in his own sport. But Hall's streak, from 1955 to 1962, is extraordinary because, as a goaltender, he played one of the most harrowing positions in sports and for all but his last three seasons, without a facemask. Further, Hall felt nauseous and threw up before most games, and even during intermissions. "You wouldn't think after all this time that I'd still be so afraid of a bad game I'd get sick about it," Hall told William Barry Furlong in Sports Illustrated in 1962.

Hall played for the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues over eighteen National Hockey League (NHL) seasons. He played for one Stanley Cup champion, won or shared the Vezina Award for best goal-tender three times, won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year and the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs. He was an eleven-time all-star and he ranks third in lifetime shutouts with eighty-four. In 1997, The Hockey News rated Hall 16th on its list of hockey's greatest 100 players. Goaltender historians credit Hall with popularizing the "butterfly" style of positioning, which mostly involves a goaltender dropping to his knees and spreading his skates out in a wide "V."

Glenn Hall

Even in defeat, Hall was sometimes part of history. He allowed the 500th career goal of Montreal Canadiens' great Maurice Richard. He earned his Smythe Trophy when the Blues lost the 1968 finals and two years later, he allowed the picturesque Cup-winning goal by Boston's Bobby Orr, immortalized by television and newspapers capturing Orr celebrating flying through the air, Superman-syle.

Yet, Hall admits he played because he had no other way to make a living. As Boys of Summer author Roger Kahn wrote in the Saturday Evening Post in 1968, "His distaste for play is overwhelming." A former teammate, according to Kahn, said, "Hall's bucket belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame."

Sketch by Paul Burton

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Famous Sports StarsHockey