BOSTON - Boston Bruins legend Milt Schmidt has passed away at the age of 98. Schmidt passed at Newton-Wellesley Hospital on January 4, 2017, and is survived by his son, Conrad, and daughter, Nancy.
Schmidt, who was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, is the only person in Bruins history to have served the club as a player, captain, coach and general manager. He won more Stanley Cup Championships with Boston than any other person, capturing two as a player in 1939 and 1941 and two more as the club's general manager in 1970 and 1972. Schmidt was a four-time All-Star, won the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player in 1951 and the Ross Trophy as the NHL's scoring champion in 1940.
Schmidt, who still ranks 12th on the Bruins all-time scoring list, was the center on the famed "Kraut Line", along with Woody Dumart on the left wing and Bobby Bauer on the right wing. The trio made NHL history in 1939-40 when they finished the season 1-2-3 in the league's scoring race - the only time that three players from one team comprised the top three NHL scorers.
After Schmidt retired as a player in December 1954, he immediately stepped onto the bench as a coach for the team's game against Chicago on December 25, 1954. He remained as head coach through the 1960-61 season, then became the club's assistant general manager for two seasons before returning to the bench for four more seasons in the mid-1960's. Schmidt became the Bruins' fourth general manager at the start of the 1967-68 season, engineering the Phil Esposito-Ken Hodge acquisition that was key to the team's Stanley Cup Championships of 1970 and 1972. He remained as Boston's general manager for five seasons.
Below are quotes from Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, Bruins President Cam Neely, Bruins legend and Hockey Hall of Famer John Bucyk, Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara , Bruins alternate Captain Patrice Bergeron and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the passing of Milt Schmidt.
Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs
"Milt's impact in Boston, as both a player and a coach, will forever be felt amongst hockey fans.
He was a legendary personality in the Bruins organization and goes down in history as the ultimate Bruin. We should all be envious of the longevity and meaningfulness of his life."
Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs
"It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of our dear friend, Milt Schmidt. Milt embodied everything it meant to be a Boston Bruin both on and off the ice.
Milt has impacted the Boston Bruins organization in many different capacities, as a player on the ice, a coach behind the bench and as a general manager, cementing himself in NHL history as one of the all time greats.
Anyone who knew Milt personally know he was one of the all time greats off the ice as well. His beaming smile, sharp whit and infectious laugh could light up a room with such an incredible presence that can't be matched. We extend our condolences to all of Milt's family and friends during this difficult time."
Bruins President Cam Neely
"I got to know Milt when I arrived in Boston, and I quickly learned that he was an outstanding ambassador for the game of hockey, a true gentleman, and that he epitomized what it means to be a Bruin.
When people today talk about 'Bruins Hockey' they talk about the style that Milt created, and generations of Bruins after him tried to emulate. After his playing and coaching days were over, he remained incredibly giving of his time and the wealth of knowledge that he had accumulated over his career to everyone associated with the Bruins and the game of hockey. He will be dearly missed. On behalf of the Bruins organization, I would like to extend our most sincere condolences to Milt's family and friends."
Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney
"The Boston Bruins, the NHL and the family and friends of Milt Schmidt are mourning the passing of a legendary player, coach, manager and most importantly, a tremendously caring person. Milt Schmidt personified what generations of Bruins players and fans have identified with what being a Bruin truly meant. We will miss his steely handshake and warm smile as we fondly remember and acknowledge his life and legacy."
Bruins legend and Hockey Hall of Famer John Bucyk
"He was like a big brother to me in his coaching days and his GM days and ever since after that we were very close friends.
He just loved the Bruins, to this day. He watched the games and we'd bring him to games. He was just a great man. [I consider him] right on top [as the greatest Bruin] along with Bobby [Orr] - to me, they'd be the two favorites. Milt was my first coach, my first GM. He was such a great person, I just can't say enough about him."
Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara
"Today is a very sad day to find out about losing one of our own breed, Mr. Milt Schmidt.
Milt has been one of the most respected and friendly human beings that I have ever met and spent time with. Losing Milt, who spent his life dedicated to the game of hockey, is a great loss for the Boston Bruins organization and the entire hockey community. I will always cherish the times we had together listening to him reminisce about old time hockey as well as our conversations on today's style of the game - the game that he just loved so much. My deepest condolences go out to his entire family and closest friends. Milt will be greatly missed but never forgotten."
Bruins Alternate Captain Patrice Bergeron
"When you think about the Bruins, you think about Milt Schmidt.
It has been amazing for me to see the impact that he has had, and continued to have on the organization. The last time I saw him, he was on the ice with Bobby (Orr) earlier this year. He shook my hand and said 'Go get 'em.' He was always rooting for the Bruins and in our corner. He lived an amazing life and I am very proud to have known him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
"It would be a challenge to find anyone who took greater pride in being a Boston Bruin than Milt Schmidt did - be it as a player, an executive or an ambassador over the 80-plus years he served the franchise, the City of Boston and the National Hockey League.
Milt's respect for the game was matched by his humility and was mirrored by the great respect with which his opponents, and generations of Bruins players, treated him through the years. An ultimate competitor, a mainstay of two Bruins Stanley Cups as a player and architect of two more as the Bruins' General Manager, Milt was a landmark presence in Boston's sports landscape. The NHL family cherishes his contribution to our history and sends deepest condolences to his family, fans and all whose lives he touched."