Pat Stapleton (ice hockey)

Patrick James "Whitey" Stapleton (born July 4, 1940) is a Canadian former ice hockey player. A defenceman, Stapleton played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) and the World Hockey Association (WHA), most notably for the Chicago Black Hawks. He is the father of Mike Stapleton, who had a lengthy career in the NHL as well.

Pat Stapleton
Born (1940-07-04) July 4, 1940
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for AHL
Buffalo Bisons
Boston Bruins
Chicago Black Hawks
Chicago Cougars
Indianapolis Racers
Cincinnati Stingers
National team  Canada
Playing career 19591978

Playing career

Stapleton played Junior B hockey with the Sarnia Legionnaires before spending two seasons with the St. Catharines Teepees of the Ontario Hockey Association, winning the Memorial Cup in 1960. With the Legionnaires he won two Western Jr. 'B' championships and one Sutherland Cup as an all-Ontario champion. Although he was a defenceman, he led the Legionnaires in scoring during his second season.

His first full season was with the Sault Thunderbirds of the Eastern Professional Hockey League in 1960–61. Stapleton had signed with the Chicago Black Hawks, but was claimed by the Boston Bruins in the intra-league draft in June 1961 and began his National Hockey League career with the Bruins in the 1961–62 season. The next year, he split his time between Bruins and their EPHL affiliate, the Kingston Frontenacs. Stapleton spent the next two years in the minor leagues, playing with the Portland Buckaroos of the Western Hockey League. He received the Hal Laycoe Cup as the WHL's top defenceman for the 1964–65 season.

Stapleton was briefly the property of the Toronto Maple Leafs in June 1965 as part of a trade with the Bruins, but he was left unprotected in the intra-league draft and was claimed the next day by the Chicago Black Hawks. Wearing number 7, he played some games with the Hawks' Central Hockey league affiliate, the St. Louis Braves, in 1965–66, but they would be the final minor league games of his career. Stapleton remained in the NHL for eight seasons with the Black Hawks, and was named Second Team All-Star three times (1966, 1971, and 1972). Stapleton played with the Black Hawks in the Stanley Cup finals in 1971 and 1973. His highest scoring season was 1969, where his 50 assists set a new NHL record for assists in a season by a defenceman (broken the next year by Bobby Orr).

Stapleton was a member of the Team Canada team at the Summit Series in 1972. During the tournament he was a +6 and was often paired with his Black Hawks teammate Bill White. It is believed that Stapleton is the owner of the puck used by Paul Henderson to score the series-winning goal. Stapleton himself admits that he doesn't know which one of the hundreds of pucks he owns is that game winning one, though it is in his possession.[1]

In 1973, Stapleton jumped from the NHL and signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association where he became player-coach, replacing Marcel Pronovost as coach. He was a WHA first-team all-star in 1974 and won the Dennis A. Murphy Trophy as the league's top defenceman in the 1973–74 season.

Stapleton again represented Canada in the 1974 Summit Series against the national team from the Soviet Union, this time as team captain, recording three assists in eight games. He was again player-coach of the Cougars in 1974–75, and the team struggled on the ice and financially. In December 1974, he and teammates Dave Dryden and Ralph Backstrom bought the troubled franchise. At the time, Stapleton also owned two small arenas in the Chicago area along with other business interests.

The Cougars folded after the 1974–75 season and Stapleton was claimed by the Indianapolis Racers, where he played for two seasons and was named a second-team all-star in 1976. When the Racers refused to honour his contract in 1977, Stapleton was transferred to the Cincinnati Stingers, where he played one season before retiring in 1978. Over his career, Stapleton scored 337 points in the NHL and 239 in the WHA.

Post-playing career

Stapleton lives in Strathroy, Ontario and is a member of the advisory board of the Junior B Strathroy Rockets of the Western Ontario Junior Hockey League. He has a Strathroy and District Hockey Association award named after him.

In 2008, Stapleton brought the puck that Paul Henderson fired into the net to win the 1972 Summit Series with the Russians to a Sarnia Legionnaires game. He dropped it at a ceremonial faceoff being held to honour Legionnaire founder Tommy Norris. He told the Sarnia Observer that he had the puck on his stick when the buzzer sounded to end the series. He was about to shoot it down the ice when he suddenly paused and picked it up. In May 2010, Stapleton told the Toronto Sun that he will hang onto the puck until the 40th Anniversary of the Summit Series in 2012.[2]


In 2005, he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame as a member of Team Canada in the 1972 Canada - USSR Summit Series. In 2010, he was elected as an inaugural inductee into the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame.[3]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1957–58Sarnia LegionairesWOJHL4814314524
1958–59St. Catharines TeepeesOHA-Jr.491026361870006
1959–60St. Catharines TeepeesOHA-Jr.4712354783175121732
1959–60Buffalo BisonsAHL10002
1959–60St. Catharines TeepeesM-Cup14591437
1960–61Sault Ste. Marie ThunderbirdsEPHL595434822121892
1961–62Boston BruinsNHL6925742
1962–63Boston BruinsNHL210338
1962–63Kingston FrontenacsEPHL4910263692542612
1963–64Portland BuckaroosWHL70544498051670
1964–65Portland BuckaroosWHL70295786611034716
1965–66Chicago Black HawksNHL55430345262354
1965–66St. Louis BravesCPHL142466
1966–67Chicago Black HawksNHL703313454611212
1967–68Chicago Black HawksNHL674343834110444
1968–69Chicago Black HawksNHL756505644
1969–70Chicago Black HawksNHL494384228
1970–71Chicago Black HawksNHL76744513018314174
1971–72Chicago Black HawksNHL78338414782244
1972–73Chicago Black HawksNHL7510213114162151710
1973–74Chicago CougarsWHA786525844120131336
1974–75Chicago CougarsWHA684303438
1975–76Indianapolis RacersWHA80540454870222
1976–77Indianapolis RacersWHA81845532992680
1977–78Cincinnati StingersWHA654454928
NHL totals 635 43 294 337 353 65 10 39 49 38
WHA totals 372 27 212 239 187 28 2 21 23 38


Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1972 Canada SS 7 0 0 0 6
1974 Canada SS 8 0 3 3 12
Senior totals 15 0 3 3 18

Coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
Chicago Cougars1973–74 7838355814th in WHA EastLost in Avco Cup Finals
Chicago Cougars1974–75 7030471613rd in WHA EastMissed playoffs
Indianapolis Racers1978–79 255182127th in WHATeam folded


Preceded by
Pierre Pilote
Chicago Black Hawks captain
Succeeded by
Pit Martin
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.