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Tony Esposito Passes Away at 78

Tony Esposito, a goaltending legend and a pioneer of the butterfly goaltending style, has passed away at the age of 78 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
Tony Esposito

The hockey world was hit with a huge loss on Tuesday evening.

Tony Esposito, a goaltending legend and a pioneer of the butterfly goaltending style, has passed away at the age of 78 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

Esposito was a three-time Vezina Trophy winner and is the all-time Chicago Blackhawks franchise leader in shutouts (74) and wins (418). In 1969-70, Esposito had one of the most incredible seasons by a goaltender with 15 shutouts, with his 76 total tying him with Ed Belfour for 10th all-time.

Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Esposito was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and has served as a Blackhawks team ambassador since 2008. Esposito also spent time with the Montreal Canadiens.

“The National Hockey League, the Chicago Blackhawks and the city of Chicago lost a beloved member of the hockey family earlier today with the passing of Tony Esposito,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a league statement. “From his arrival in the Windy City in the late 1960s through an illustrious playing career and decades as a franchise icon, Tony left an indelible mark – both on the ice and in the community – over the next 52 years. 

"Beyond the individual awards – and there were many, including a Calder Trophy, numerous All-Star and Vezina Trophy recognitions, and ultimately election to the Hockey Hall of Fame – it was Esposito’s style, charisma and heart that endeared him most to hockey fans not only in Chicago but across the NHL. ‘Tony O’ was a fierce competitor who also took great pride in being an entertainer, whether it was with his pioneering butterfly style during his playing days or interacting with fans across the League as one of this game’s great ambassadors."

Tony leaves behind wife Marilyn, sons Mark (Kim) and Jason, and grandchildren Lauren and Kamryn.

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