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Hall of Famer Worsley passes away at age 77

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Hall of Fame goaltender Lorne "Gump" Worsley, who spent the first 14 of his 26 seasons in professional hockey with the Rangers organization, died on Saturday at age 77 at his home in Beloeil, Quebec. The Montreal Gazette reported that Worsley had suffered a heart attack five days earlier.

Worsley played nearly 600 games with the Blueshirts and more than 300 with the team's farm clubs, earning All-Star honors in five leagues, including the NHL, during his years in the organization.

Famous for refusing to wear a mask until his final season with Minnesota in 1973-74, Worsley was a fan favorite in New York, helping the team reach the playoffs in 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1962. He became the team's No. 1 goaltender as a 23-year-old in 1952-53 and won the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year that season. To date, he remains the only Rangers goaltender to earn this honor.

After a brief stint in the minor leagues while Johnny Bower tended goal for the Blueshirts, Worsley returned to the Rangers and reassumed his position as the No. 1 goalie from the 1954-55 season through the 1962-63 season.

By the early 1960s, he was one of the NHL's top goaltenders. Named the Rangers MVP in 1960-61, he represented the Blueshirts in his first NHL All-Star Game that season. He made the All-Star squad again in 1962 and went on to win team MVP honors in 1962-63, his final season with the club.

Worsley left the Rangers in a major 1963 trade after having led the NHL with 67 games played in the previous season. He went on to solidify his Hall of Fame credentials in Montreal, where he played on four Stanley Cup champions with his hometown Canadiens.

He briefly retired during the 1969-70 season but came out of retirement to join the Minnesota North Stars before the start of the 1970 playoffs. He went on to extend his career another four years before retiring in 1974 at age 45.
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