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Gary "Suitcase" Smith, a former professional ice hockey goaltender, was born in Ottawa, Ontariomarker on February 4, 1944. Gary is a son of Des Smith and brother of Brian Smith, both former National Hockey League (NHL) players. Gary played for numerous clubs, including the Chicago Black Hawks, Oakland Seals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets. He was the co-winner of the Vezina Trophy in the 1971–72 NHL season.

Playing career

Gary Smith won a Memorial Cup with the junior Toronto Marlboros in 1964. Entering the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1965, and was one of five goalies who played for the Maple Leafs during the 1966–67 regular season, their last Stanley Cup season.[Cox] He eventually earned the nickname "Suitcase" Smith because of the large number of teams he played for. After playing with the dismal [[California Golden Seals]] from [[1967–68 NHL season|1967]]–[[1970–71 NHL season|71]], where he set records in 1970–71 for both the most games played in a single season and most losses in a single season, his first success was sharing the [[1971–72 NHL season|1971–72]] [[Vezina Trophy]] with [[Tony Esposito]] while with the [[Chicago Blackhawks|Chicago Black Hawks]]. One year later, Smith and Esposito would help the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup final. In [[1974–75 NHL season|1974–75]], he also had a fine season with the [[Vancouver Canucks]], with 72 games played and six shutouts. Smith later played in the [[World Hockey Association]], and was a teammate of [[Wayne Gretzky]] while playing for the [[Indianapolis Racers]].[Cox], pg. 79 He would be part of the [[Winnipeg Jets]]' 1979 [[Avco World Trophy]] championship. Gary Smith’s last coach in Winnipeg was [[Tom McVie]], who coached Smith the previous season while both were with the [[Washington Capitals]].[Willes], pg.240 The Jets played the Edmonton Oilers, led by Wayne Gretzky. Ironically, when [[Wayne Gretzky]] went to his first game at [[Maple Leaf Gardens]], Gary Smith was one of the goalie’s in the game.[Willes], pg. 241 The Maple Leafs played the California Seals and Smith was the Seals goalie.

Gary Smith gave up the last goal in WHA history to Dave Semenko.

Smith's had many other claims to fame, according to an interview in the Vancouver Province in 1997. In his first NHL game, Smith left his crease in an attempt to score a goal. He got to the Canadiens' blueline but then JC Tremblay came along. "He nailed me," said Smith.

In another game Smith punted the puck in Maple Leaf Gardens, almost hitting the clock.

Amother time he left the Vancouver Pacific Coliseum still wearing his goaltender uniform. "It's tough driving in your skates," he said in the same 1997 interview.

As of 1997 he was living in Vancouver and managing the racehorses he owned, including one named Broadcaster, named after his brother Brian, an Ottawa broadcaster who was murdered.

Career statistics

   
Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1961–62 Toronto St. Michael's OHA 31 24 6 1 - 83 3 2.68 ?
1962–63 Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons OHA 28 - - - - - 3 2.25 -
1963–64 Toronto Marlboros OHA 55 40 8 7 - 186 3 3.41 -
1964–65 Rochester Americans AHL 1 - - - - - - - -
1964–65 Tulsa Oilers CPHL 1 0 1 0 60 5 0 5.00 ?
1964–65 Victoria Maple Leafs WHL 8 1 5 - - - - 4.38 ?
1965–66 Rochester Americans AHL 37 20 11 4 - - 2 2.86 -
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 3 0 2 0 118 7 0 3.56 ?
1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 2 0 2 0 115 7 0 3.65 ?
1967–68 Oakland Seals NHL 21 2 13 4 1129 60 1 3.19 ?
1968–69 Oakland Seals NHL 54 21 24 7 2993 148 4 2.97 ?
1969–70 Oakland Seals NHL 65 19 34 12 3762 195 2 3.11 ?
1970–71 California Golden Seals NHL 71 19 48 4 3975 256 2 3.86 ?
1971–72 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 28 14 5 6 1540 62 5 2.42 ?
1972–73 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 23 10 10 2 1340 79 0 3.54 ?
1973–74 Vancouver Canucks NHL 66 20 33 8 3632 208 3 3.44 ?
1974–75 Vancouver Canucks NHL 72 32 24 9 3823 197 6 3.09 ?
1975–76 Vancouver Canucks NHL 51 20 24 6 2864 167 2 3.50 .884
1976–77 Minnesota North Stars NHL 36 10 17 8 2090 139 1 3.99 ?
1977–78 Minnesota North Stars NHL 3 0 2 1 180 9 0 3.00 ?
1977–78 Washington Capitals NHL 17 2 12 3 980 68 2 4.16 ?
1978–79 Indianapolis Racers WHA 11 0 10 1 664 61 0 5.51 .848
1978–79 Winnipeg Jets WHA 11 7 3 0 626 31 0 2.97 .889
1979–80 Winnipeg Jets NHL 20 4 11 4 1073 73 0 4.08 ?
NHL totals 532 173 261 74 29,619 1675 26 3.39



References

  • A horse of a different color is Smith: Goalie Suitcase Gary takes a run at owning a race horse; David Banks. The Province. Vancouver, B.C.: Jul 18, 1997. pg. A.56

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