Terry Sawchuk was born December 28, 1929 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Sawchuk's father, a Ukrainian immigrant, had met his mother when they were working in a burlap factory together. Sawchuk learned to skate at age four, and started playing hockey with his older brother Mitch on an ice rink at his uncle's house. Mitch and another brother died while Sawchuk was young, and Sawchuk wore Mitch's old goalie pads when he played. A Winnipeg-based scout for the Detroit Red Wings invited him to Detroit to work out with the team when he was fourteen, and he signed a contract with the Wings soon after.