wasn't born in St. Louis and he called it home for less than four years, but his contributions in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s to a city that had just been awarded an NHL franchise were immeasurable.
And perhaps that’s why, more than 40 years later, Hall is being recognized for those contributions with an induction into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.
Nicknamed “Mr. Goalie,” Hall is often credited with establishing the butterfly-style of goaltending, a method he perfected to win 401 career games. He was playing for the Chicago Blackhawks when St. Louis was awarded an NHL franchise, and the Blues selected the hockey legend with their first pick in the 1967 expansion draft.
“I didn’t know if I would enjoy it, and it ended up that it couldn’t have been better,” Hall told radio play-by-play broadcaster Chris Kerber in a recent interview on KMOX 1120 AM. “The ownership (in St. Louis) was outstanding with the Solomons, and certainly Lynn Patrick as general manager and Scotty (Bowman) as coach, it didn’t get better than that.”
Although he came to St. Louis near the end of his career, Hall and teammate Jacques Plante
would backstop the Blues to three consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances. Hall claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ Most Valuable Player in 1968 despite playing on the losing team and claimed the Vezina Trophy in the 1968-69 season, an award he had won on two previous occasions.
He also was named to the NHL All-Star team during his first two seasons as a Blue.
He played in 140 regular season games with St. Louis, posting a 58-52-28 record to go along with a 2.43 goals-against average. He ranks as the Blues’ all-time leader in shutouts (16). In addition, Hall is seventh in franchise history in games played (140), 10th in wins (58) and eighth in minutes played (7,983).
He was 12-18 in the playoffs with a 2.58 goals-against average for St. Louis.
“Those were some of the best years I put into hockey, I really, really enjoyed it,” Hall told Kerber. “The style of hockey they played was tremendously complimentary to the goalkeepers.”
Hall, now 81, will enter the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame alongside former Cardinals’ center-fielder Jim Edmonds, former football Cardinals’ Jim Hanifan, former Rams’ offensive tackle Orlando Pace and broadcaster Bob Costas.
It’s just another honor in a long list for the legendary goaltender, who joins former Blues Bernie Federko, Al MacInnis and Garry Unger in the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.
Hall was also inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975 and ranked No. 16 on The Hockey News’ 1998 list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
He was in town this week attending an autographed session in Clayton on Sunday before attending Wednesday night's induction dinner at the Millennium Hotel downtown.
“It’s always nice to come back,” Hall told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Like I said, this is a huge honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, it’s so complimentary.”