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Throwback Thursday: Pat Stapleton

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Pat Stapleton #12 Defenseman Chicago Black Hawks. (Photo courtesy of blackhawks.nhl.com)

Pat Stapleton #12

Chicago Black Hawks Career – (1965-1973)

Games – 545

Goals – 41

Assists – 286

PIM – 303

+/- – 154

CBH Playoffs – 65 games, 10 goals, 39 assists for a total of 49 points while adding 38 PIM.

Pat Stapleton was born July 4, 1940 and grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Growing up playing hockey Pat Stapleton began his path to the big leagues at the age of 17 with his hometown team the Sarnia  Legionnaires Junior B team in 1957. At the age of 18 he made the step up to the OHA-Jr. league playing for the Chicago sponsored St. Catherines Teepees. In 1961 he was acquired by Boston from Chicago in the Intra-League Draft that took place. He would play some in the NHL with Boston but then bounced from the EPHL to the WHL before being traded away by Boston to Toronto June, 8 1965. The following day another Intra-League Draft took place and he would end up returning to the Chicago organization after being claimed by them once again.

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During the 1965-66 season was when Pat Stapleton made his advance to the NHL. He had been playing with the Blackhawks Central Hockey League affiliate the St. Louis Braves but his call up would mark the last time he played in the minors. During the 1965-66 season he played in 50 games and scored 4 goals and provided a valuable 30 assists. The following season he played in all 70 games, his NHL  career high and scored 3 goals while providing 31 assists. From 1965-1972 Pat Stapleton was able to string together 7 consecutive seasons with 30+ goals, a very respectable feat. His best and highest scoring season as a Chicago Blackhawk was during the 1969 season when he put up 6 goals and 50 assists (the new NHL record for assists in a season by a defenceman at the time) for a total of 56 points on the year. Stapleton also helped the Blackhawks win four consecutive Western Division crowns while adding his talent during the Stanley Cup Finals in 1971 & 1973.

Beore the 1973-1974 season started Pat Stapleton signed with the Chicago Cougars of the WHA as a player-coach. During that season he scored 58 points in 78 games and won the WHA Dennis A. Murphy Trophy, the leagues top defenseman, while also being selected as a WHL First-Team All-Star. In 1974 he also represented Canada as team Captain in the Summit Series against the national team from the Soviet Union recording 3 assists over 8 games. Returning to the Chicago Cougars following the Summit Series, financial struggles were barely keeping the team afloat so Pat Stapleton and teammates Dave Dryden and Ralph Backstom bought the franchise only to see if fold after the 1974-75 season. From there he bounced around from the Indianapolis Racers to the Cincinnati Stingers before retiring in 1978.

Notable accomplishments:

  • NHL Second All-Star Team (1965-66, 1970-71, 1971-72)
  • Played in NHL All-Star Game (1967, 1969, 1971, 1972)
  • WHA Dennis A. Murphy Trophy (1973-74)
  • WHA First All-Star Team (1973-74)
  • WHA Second All-Star Team (1975-76)

Any Pat Stapleton fans out there on Throwback Thursday? Let me know what your thoughts are or any specific memories you may have in the comments below!

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