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Ed Chadwick, who arrived in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs because of injury then proved to be a fan-favorite ironman by starting 140 consecutive games, died this week.

The oldest living Maple Leafs goalie was 90.

Now, the Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, the two NHL teams for which he played in the 1950s and 1960s, are meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chadwick never having played in the postseason.

"Chad," as he was popularly known, grew up worshipping the Maple Leafs, who played about 60 miles southeast of his hometown of Fergus, Ontario, but there was little to suggest in the NHL's one-goalie days of the 1950s that he'd crack a Toronto lineup anchored by veteran Harry Lumley. In fact, Chadwick overcame great odds to play hockey at any level, born with a club foot and unable to wear a pair of boots until his early teens.

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Goalie Ed Chadwick follows the puck during Toronto's 5-1 win against the Chicago Black Hawks at Maple Leaf Gardens on Feb. 14, 1959. From left: Bobby Baun, Tod Sloan, Ed Litzenberger, Carl Brewer, Ed Chadwick, Ted Lindsay and referee Red Storey.

"His foot became workable only because of the extraordinary devotion of his mother, who massaged it and twisted his toes into shape for thousands of hours, year after year," wrote Andrew Podnieks in his 2003 book, "Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide of Everyone Who Has Ever Played in the NHL."

A product of the Junior-B Weston Dukes, then-major junior Toronto Marlboros and St. Michael's Majors, Chadwick broke into the pros with Pittsburgh of the American Hockey League, shuffling to Buffalo then out to Winnipeg, the Maple Leafs' affiliate in the Western Hockey League.

When Lumley went down with a leg injury deep into the 1955-56 season, the Maple Leafs summoned Chadwick from Winnipeg for a five-game stint that he played over seven nights. He won two, both by shutout, and tied three, with an 0.60 goals-against average and .976 save percentage. 

Chadwick's NHL debut came Feb. 8, 1956, at Maple Leaf Gardens, a 28-save 1-1 tie against the first-place, Stanley Cup-bound Montreal Canadiens. He was back in Toronto for training camp the following season, Lumley having been traded a few months earlier to the Chicago Black Hawks, and in 1956-57 and 1957-58 he would play the 70-game schedules in their entirety. Chadwick nearly won the 1957 Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year, finishing second in voting to Larry Regan of the Bruins.

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Ed Chadwick as a member of the major junior Toronto St. Michael's Majors in the early 1950s, photographed at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Ahead of his time during his maiden season, Chadwick charted opposing shooters in a book, much as major-league pitchers cataloged batters.

Maple Leafs coach Howie Meeker suggested to his goalie in late December 1956 that a book on shooters could be useful, so Chadwick began the process.

"After every game, unless I'm lucky enough to get a shutout, I jot down the way goals were scored on me," he told Toronto Star hockey writer Red Burnett in January 1957. "And let me tell you, you remember most of those goals days later." 

Chadwick kept short notes on some shooters, much longer ones on others.

"I may have to devote an entire volume to fellows like Jean Beliveau, 'Rocket' Richard, Gord Howe, Ted Lindsay and Andy Bathgate," he told Burnett of the era's feared snipers. "Those fellows are full of tricks that make a goalie's life miserable. You figure you've got all their plays tabbed and next time around they show you something new.

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Goalie Ed Chadwick faces Ed Litzenberger of the Chicago Black Hawks during late 1950s action at Maple Leaf Gardens.

"You can fill pages about a star like Jean Beliveau. I don't think there's a move known to goal-scorers that big Jean hasn't made. Fellows like Bathgate, Dickie Moore and Henri Richard are a headache because they're always on the target and almost from any angle.

"One moment, Howe will blast a shot your way and the next he will cut across the goal and just let the puck slide past you. Lindsay hangs around the goal post and can thread the end of a needle. 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion, like Howe, Beliveau and the Rocket, can slam a buzz bomb your way or move right in for a clever deke that'll take you right out of your pads.

"But they all have a couple of favorite plays and that's where that info in the book will help."

Following two full seasons without a minute off, Chadwick played 31 games in 1958-59, sharing the net with legend-to-be Johnny Bower. With Rochester of the AHL in 1959-60, he won the Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award for fewest goals-against.

Bower, a favorite of Toronto coach and GM Punch Imlach, would play all 12 playoff games for the Maple Leafs in 1958-59, Toronto defeating Boston in a seven-game semifinal before falling to Montreal in a five-game Final.

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Toronto goalies Johnny Bower (left) and Ed Chadwick during 1958-59 training camp, and Chadwick with Maple Leafs coach and general manager Punch Imlach.

"Eddie was eight years younger than me but accepted me like a long-lost brother," the late Bower said in his 2006 biography "The China Wall," written by Bob Duff. "We were rivals for a position but there was no bitterness whatsoever. I wanted to help him any way I could, and he felt the same towards me."

Chadwick's tenure in Toronto ended with four games in 1959-60, eventually traded to Boston for fellow goalie Don Simmons. His NHL career wound down after four games with the sad-sack 1961-62 Bruins (0-3-1, 5.50 GAA, .852 save percentage), Boston finishing last with a record of 15-47-8.

His contract would be owned for brief spells by the Detroit Red Wings and Black Hawks, but he never played for their NHL teams, tending goal in the AHL for Hershey and Buffalo, and Kingston of the Eastern Professional league, through the 1967-68 season, his last in net.

A policeman during the offseason to makes ends meet, Chadwick played 184 NHL games and was 57-92 with 35 ties, a 2.94 GAA, .901 save percentage and 14 shutouts.

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Goalie Ed Chadwick makes a sprawling save at Maple Leaf Gardens on Dec. 31, 1958. He earned his 14th and final NHL shutout in a 2-0 win against the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

A hockey "lifer," he found gainful employment scouting for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Oakland Seals and New York Islanders.

Chadwick managed and coached the Islanders' Central league affiliate in Fort Worth, Texas, firmly instructed by his NHL boss Bill Torrey to get Fort Worth's new goalie ready in two years, period. A year later, in 1973-74, Glenn "Chico" Resch joined the Islanders to star on Long Island, winning the Stanley Cup in 1980.

"The one thing about the older goalies of the day -- Glenn Hall was a coach of mine for a time, as was Eddie Giacomin -- is that they coached your mental state, your psyche, your confidence," Resch said. "They weren't on the ice working the mechanics. Ed would point something out to me in Fort Worth, but he was more about my confidence, how I was feeling.

"Ed told me, 'I can influence Bill Torrey and (coach) Al Arbour, but you have to do most of the talking with your play.' I remember his smile and his chuckle. "

Resch recalls being called up by the Islanders in February 1974 and losing his first NHL game in California against the Golden Seals on Feb. 3, surrendering four goals on 25 shots in a 4-2 loss.

"Ed had arranged with Bill and Al to bring me back to New York for one more game, one more chance," he said. "We won 6-2 (facing 32 shots) against the Minnesota North Stars and that gave me the confidence I needed. It was Ed who said, 'Give him another game.' I'm thankful for that because who knows what would have happened?"

Chadwick left the Islanders for the Buffalo Sabres then in 1982 joined the Edmonton Oilers, for whom he worked through 2001. As a scout, he played an important role in the Oilers dynasty that won the Stanley Cup five times between 1984-90, his name engraved on the trophy in 1985, 1987 and 1990.

If Chadwick's NHL championships were won off the ice with Edmonton, he is in the Maple Leafs record books forever. Chad is the last Toronto goalie to have played every minute of a season, an achievement that will never be matched.

Top photo: Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ed Chadwick makes a glove save for a late 1950s publicity photo taken at Garden City Arena in St. Catharines, Ontario.