The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Jacques Plante

Joseph Jacques Plante (January 17, 1929 - February 27, 1986) was a Canadian ice hockey player.

Born in Shawinigan Falls, Québec, Canada, he served as a goalie for a variety of teams, most notably for the Montreal Canadiens. He also played for New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.

His nickname was "Jake the Snake".

Plante is not generally acclaimed as "the greatest goalie of all time," but his contributions to how the position of goalie is understood are beyond that of any other individual. Plante was the first goalie to skate behind the net to stop the puck (a now common practice). He also was the first to raise his arm on an icing call to let his defensemen know what was happening. He perfected a stand-up style that emphasized positional play, cutting down the angles and staying square to the shooter.

His greatest contribution to the game, however, occurred on November 1, 1959. He was hit in the face by a shot from New York Rangers player Andy Bathgate. He went to the dressing room for stitches. When he returned, he was wearing a goalie mask. His coach, Toe Blake, was livid, but he had no other goalie to call upon and Plante refused to return to the goal unless he kept the mask. Blake agreed on the condition that Plante discard the mask when the cut healed. Only Camille Henry beat him in that game which the Canadiens won 3-1. In the ensuing days Plante refused to discard the mask, and as the Canadiens continued to win, Blake became less obstinate. The winning streak stretched to 18 games. Plante didn't wear the mask, at Blake's request, against Detroit on March 8, 1960. The Canadiens lost 3-0, and the mask returned for good the next night. Plante designed his own mask and masks for other goalies. Hall of Famer Bernie Parent was among those who wore Plante's masks. Although Plante was not the first NHL goalie to wear a face mask (the honor going to Montreal Maroons goaltender Clint Benedict ), he was the person who introduced the mask as everyday equipment, which continues to this day.

In his career, Jacques Plante:

  • Led Montreal to 6 Stanley Cups; (1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960)
  • Won 7 Vezina Trophies, of which 5 were won consecutively; (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1969)
  • First Team All-Star Goalie (1956, 1959, 1962)
  • Second Team All-Star Goalie (1957, 1958, 1960, 1971)
  • Won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the National Hockey League's Most Valuable Player in 1962.
  • played in 8 All-Star games
  • was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.
  • NHL regular season record: 837 games, 437 wins, 246 losses, 145 ties, 82 shutouts and 2.38 goals against average
  • NHL playoff record: 112 games, 71 wins, 36 losses, 14 shutouts and 2.14 goals against average

Jacques Plante died of stomach cancer in Sierre , Valais, Switzerland, where he had been living for a number of years. He was only 57 years old. Each year, the top goaltender in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League receives the Jacques Plante Trophy .

Last updated: 02-10-2005 22:45:58
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55