No other team can claim a history as rich and colorful as the Chicago Blackhawks. As storied as the organization has been, its players have proven to be even more memorable and intriguing. Join us now as we take a journey back and visit with some of our heroes of yesterday to find out what they have been doing since leaving the game.
Goaltender - 1980-87
Video: Bannerman makes a big save against Minnesota
Tony Esposito's backup for the early portion of his career, Murray Bannerman finally got a chance to shine in the first round of the 1982 playoffs. He won his first two games -- on the road no less -- and powered his Chicago team to a series victory over the Minnesota North Stars.
He became the number one goalie in Chicago the next season, with Esposito acting as his backup, and eventually tended goal twice in the NHL All-Star game for his yeoman work in the Hawk net. Bannerman was the 'player to be named later' when he came to Chicago in 1978. Pit Martin, once traded for Phil Esposito, was dealt by Chicago to Vancouver in 1977.
Bannerman sits fifth on the Blackhawks' all-time goalie list with 116 wins and 288 games played. He finished with a 3.83 GAA and over 1,600 minutes played in a Chicago jersey. Bannerman is also fourth on the all-time Blackhawks' goaltender playoff statistics list with 20 wins and 40 games played.
So where is Murray Bannerman now?
I am in sales for a company called Accel based out of Naperville, IL. I am in the plastics industry doing color concentrates for plastics. So any plastic product that is made, whether it be an injection molder or blow mold or any of those types of things, we manufacture the color for those products.
What you would consider as your crowning achievement since your playing days ended?
I am involved with the Chicago Young Americans. It is a youth hockey organization. So I am on the ice with the kids four nights a week doing goalie instruction and coaching one of the teams. I have been doing that now for 16 years. I got involved with youth hockey because I had a son that was playing and I just stayed involved.
Any reflections on your days in a Blackhawks' sweater?
I don't know that there is any one thing. Obviously when we were in the playoffs against Minnesota back in the early 1980s was a highlight. Just being at Chicago Stadium was a highlight. With that building full and when the people got going, it was pretty intense just to be in the building.
What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time away from work?
In the spare time that I do have I like to play golf as most ex-hockey players do. I have a couple of daughters who play college soccer. One is in West Virginia and the other is at Colorado College. So during the fall when they are playing, I spend a lot of time traveling around watching them play. Other than that there isn't a whole lot of time between youth hockey, work and watching the kids.
If you could walk into a professional hockey team's locker room, what would you tell the players in the game today?
I think the biggest thing is that, at times, it almost feels like the respect for the game and the privilege of playing, if you will... sometimes it almost feels like some of today's athletes feel like they are owed something. The love of the game and the respect for the game doesn't really seem to be the same as it was in the 1980s. That is something that the game needs to get back. I really believe it would help the cause as far as the fans go and bringing them back to the game.