NHL News: Statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the Passing of Tony Esposito

NEW YORK (Aug. 10, 2021) – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement on the passing of Hockey Hall of Famer Tony Esposito:

“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 Bettman said. “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.

“The hockey world will miss him greatly. The NHL family extends its deepest sympathies to his wife, Marilyn, sons Mark (Kim) and Jason, and grandchildren Lauren and Kamryn.”


Anthony James “Tony O” Esposito (April 23, 1943 – August 10, 2021) was a Canadian-American professional ice hockey goaltender, who played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), 15 of those for the Chicago Black Hawks. He was one of the pioneers of the now popular butterfly style. Tony was the younger brother of Phil Esposito, a centre. Both brothers had notable careers and are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Esposito’s jersey number 35 was retired by the Blackhawks in 1988.

Esposito won the NHL’s Vezina Trophy, then awarded to the goaltender(s) of the team which allowed the fewest goals in the regular season, three times, most notably in 1970, when he recorded the modern (since 1942) NHL record of 15 shutouts in a season. He was also awarded the Calder Trophy as the best rookie in the league that season. He was named to the league’s First All-Star Team three times and to the Second All-Star Team two times, and served as one of Canada’s two goaltenders in the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union. In 2017 Esposito was named one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players‘ in history.


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