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Top 100 Goalies: No. 66 — Charlie Hodge

Few goalies have carved out more illustrious careers in a safety-net role backing up other stars.

It’s fair to say Charlie Hodge was denied a long and productive career as an NHL starting goalie by the fact he was squeezed out by a six-team league. But for a guy who was rarely more than a backup – three seasons aside – Hodge has enough hardware to fill a good-sized trophy mantle.

Playing second fiddle, first to Jacques Plante and later to Gump Worsley, Hodge won a remarkable six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1950s and ’60s. (He got his name on the Cup a seventh time as a scout with the 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins.) With the Habs of the 1950s, he was the backup on one of the greatest dynasties the game has ever seen. With the Habs of the ’60s, he was the backup for the NHL’s most overlooked dynasty. “He’s another guy where six teams, one goalie really hurt him,” said hockey historian Bob Duff. “He was a lot like Don Simmons that way, a really good goalie who never really got a chance (as a long-term starter). Really, the only time he was the Canadiens’ go-to guy was a couple of years in the 1960s when they got Worsley and Worsley struggled.”

That was never more apparent than in 1964-65 when Hodge appeared in 53 games and led Montreal to a second-place finish. (In Hart Trophy voting that season and the year before, Hodge finished in the top five.) Coach Toe Blake turned to Worsley in the 1965 playoffs but was forced to go back to Hodge in the Cup final after Worsley hurt his knee with Montreal leading the series 2-1.

Despite losing two of the next three games, Hodge was expected to start Game 7. Worsley, thinking he wasn’t playing, took his wife out to lunch the day of the decisive match only to find out Blake expected him to suit up for Game 7. Worsley was brilliant, shutting out Chicago 4-0 to win his first Cup.

Born: July 28, 1933, Lachute, Que.
NHL Career: 1954-71
Teams: Mtl, Oak, Van
Stats: 153-130-62, 2.70 GAA, .906, 24 SO
All-Star: 2 (Second-2)
Trophies: 2 (Vezina-2)
Stanley Cups: 6

DID YOU KNOW?

Hodge was an original member of not one, but two NHL expansion teams: the 1967-68 Oakland Seals and 1970-71 Vancouver Canucks. He registered the first victories for both first-year squads.

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