2017 just started and we lost a Bruins legend. Mr.Bruin Milt Schmidt passed away. Milt’s life read like a New York Times Bestseller. Schmidt was a player, captain, coach, and general manager. His team’s won the Stanley Cup in 1939 and in 1941 and when he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force two months after the Pearl Harbor attacks along with his linemates Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer, they even got carried off the ice on the shoulders of the Montreal Canadiens.
“I got to know Milt when I arrived in Boston, and I quickly learned that he was an outstanding ambassador for the game of hockey, a true gentleman, and that he epitomized what it means to be a Bruin,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in a statement released by the team. “When people today talk about ‘Bruins Hockey,’ they talk about the style that Milt created and generations of Bruins after him tried to emulate. After his playing and coaching days were over, he remained incredibly giving of his time and the wealth of knowledge that he had accumulated over his career to everyone associated with the Bruins and the game of hockey. He will be dearly missed.”
“Milt has been one of the most respected and friendly human beings that I have ever met and spent time with,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said in a statement. “Losing Milt, who spent his life dedicated to the game of hockey, is a great loss for the Boston Bruins’ organization and the entire hockey community. I will always cherish the times we had together listening to him reminisce about old-time hockey as well as our conversations on today’s style of the game — the game that he just loved so much.”
“It would be a challenge to find anyone who took greater pride in being a Boston Bruin than Milt Schmidt did — be it as a player, an executive or an ambassador over the 80-plus years he served the franchise, the City of Boston and the National Hockey League,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement Wednesday.
“He was like a big brother to me in his coaching days and his GM days, and ever since after that, we were very close friends,” Bucyk said. “He just loved the Bruins, to this day. He watched the games and we’d bring him to games. He was just a great man. [I consider him] right on top [as the greatest Bruin] along with Bobby [Orr] — to me, they’d be the two favorites. Milt was my first coach, my first GM. He was such a great person, I just can’t say enough about him.”
Schmidt started his career off in the AHL. After a brief stint in the minors, he was called up to Boston and played 15 seasons in the NHL. He missed three seasons due to you know just being in World War II. He won two Stanley Cups as a player and another two as the organization’s general manager. He retired in 1955 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. His No. 15 was retired by the Bruins in 1980.
In 1955 Schmidt became the coach of the Bruins and his teams reached the Stanley Cup finals in 1957 and ’58. He became the GM of the team in 1966.
Schmidt was just an ultimate Bruin. I never saw him play but he embodied all that it meant to be a Boston Bruin. He will truly be missed.