- Bernie Parent
Infobox Ice Hockey Player
image_size = 200px
Boston Bruins Philadelphia Flyers Toronto Maple Leafs Philadelphia Blazers
caught = Left
height_ft = 5
height_in = 10
weight_lb = 170
nationality = CAN
birth_date = birth date and age|1945|04|3
birth_place = Montreal, PQ, CAN
career_start = 1965
career_end = 1979
halloffame = 1984
Bernard Marcel Parent (born
April 3, 1945, in Montreal, Quebec), better known as Bernie Parent, is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender.
Bernie Parent grew up in Montreal in the early 1950s and played pickup games on the street with a
tennis ball. Something of a loner as a kid, he liked playing in goal. Remarkably, Parent didn't learn to skate until he was 11. In his first game as a kid, he sheepishly admitted he let in 20 goals, not a great start for someone aiming for the pros. Parent's hero as a young boy was Montreal Canadiensgoalie Jacques Plante, whose sister lived in Parent's neighborhood. Many times Parent watched out for Plante's visits to his sister and her family.
Québécois, Parent's use of English was a never ending source of locker room and bus trip humor, especially when he was excited. During his early playing career, Parent did not conduct interviews in English for fear of saying the wrong things.
Parent played for the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA Junior A league. A two-time winner of the Dave Pinkney trophy (lowest goals against average or GAA), he wrapped up his junior career by backstopping the team to the OHA championship and the
Memorial Cupchampionship in 1965.
Parent began his career with the struggling
Boston Bruinsin the 1965-66 season, appearing in 39 games. The following season was split between Boston and the Bruins farm club in Oklahoma.
Left unprotected for the
1967 NHL Expansion Draft, Parent was chosen by the Philadelphia Flyerswhere he and Doug Favell, another former Bruin prospect, split the netminding duties for the Flyers' first season. Parent recorded a solid 2.48 GAA with 4 shutouts in helping the Flyers finish first in the NHL’s West Division. Over the next two seasons, with Favell performing inconsistently or injured, Parent became the Flyers #1 goalie and appeared in 58 and 62 games for the offensively weak Flyers. Looking for help up front to improve the club’s offence, the Flyers dealt Parent to the Toronto Maple Leafsin January, 1971.
The move proved to be beneficial to Parent, as he joined his boyhood hero, Jacques Plante, who at 42 was having an all-star season. Plante was a wealth of knowledge and experience, a true student of the game. Under his tutelage, Parent became a more consistent and technically proficient goalie. Parent played well for the Leafs through the 1971-72 season, gaining valuable regular season and playoff experience as the team’s workhorse goalie facing the top teams and shooters in the league.
Without a contract with the Leafs in the summer of 1972, Parent signed a large contract with the
Miami Screaming Eaglesof the newly forming World Hockey Association. He was the first player to ‘jump’ to the WHA. The Miami franchise fizzled and became the Philadelphia Blazers. Parent faced a barrage of shots in 63 regular season games for the Blazers in the defensively weak league. After leaving the team over a contract dispute during the 1973 WHA playoffs, he sought a return to the NHL but did not wish to return to the Leafs. Toronto traded Parent’s NHL rights back to the Flyers for Doug Favell and a first round pick in that summer’s (1973) amateur draft.
The next two seasons were the greatest of his career. Playing 73 games in a 78 game schedule, Parent sparkled in leading the league with a 1.89 GAA and 12 shutouts. He shared the
Vezina Trophywith Chicago’s Tony Espositoand was named a first team all-star in leading the Flyers to a first place finish in the West Division. He finished the year in fine style, taking the Conn Smythe Trophy(playoff MVP) while leading the Flyers to the first of two Stanley CupChampionships. The following year was much of the same, adding another Vezina Trophy to a second Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup. “Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent” became a catch-phrase and bumper sticker in the city of brotherly love in those years.
Following the championship seasons, Parent was sidelined by injury and appeared in only 11 games in 1975-76. Over the next three seasons, he played well overall but experienced difficulties at times. Jacques Plante, although in retirement, continued to have a strong influence on Parent's career. Parent, like Plante, was always a stand-up type goalie. At one point Parent was playing poorly and considering retirement. Plante watched him practice in Philadelphia for two days, then told Parent exactly what he was doing wrong - sitting back on his heels, backing into his crease and losing concentration. Parent heeded Plante's advice and rebounded to form.
In February,1979, Parent's career was cut short by a career ending eye injury in a game against the
New York Rangers. An errant stick entered the right eye hole of his mask causing permanent damage to his vision. This incident led many NHL goalies to move away from the fibreglass facemask toward the cage and helmet style widely used today.
Parent admitted he had considerable fear of playing goal in the
NHL, and that fear helped him play better. On game nights, he never appeared without his mask on, even going to and from the dressing room. He also had a strict pre-game ritual. He sat alone under a miniature Stanley Cupand thought about the opposing players he would face, then slept for eight hours, had a steak for lunch and then slept again.
After Parent's retirement, the Flyers retired his jersey number (1) in his honor.
Parent was inducted into the
Hockey Hall of Famein 1984. In 1998, he was ranked number 63 on "The Hockey News"' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
Still residing in the
Philadelphiaarea as of 2008, Parent is co-owner of Face-Off Circle, an ice rink in Warminster, PA.
Parent has been a resident of
Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey. [Fitzgerald, Barbara; and Strauss, Robert. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B04E3DC143BF930A25757C0A9659C8B63&scp=1&sq=%22bernie+parent%22+%22cherry+hill%22&st=nyt "WORTH NOTING; And a Team in Pennsauken Loses Its Owner"] , " The New York Times", April 13, 2003. Accessed February 18, 2008. "Mr. Parent, who lives in Cherry Hill, is a marketing account executive in the insurance division at Commerce and has long been an investor in the team."]
*Previously held the mark for most wins in a season (47), surpassed by
New Jersey Devilsgoaltender Martin Brodeurduring the 2006-2007 season with 48 wins, though Parent didn't have the benefit of overtime or shootouts in his era. Because of this his 47 win season in 1973-74 is still the record for most regulation time wins in a single season. [http://www.flyershistory.net/cgi-bin/nhlrec.cgi]
*Fourth hockey player and third goalie to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine. (
Lorne Chabotwas first.)
* Meltzer, Bill [http://flyers.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NewsPage&bcid=3003 Flyers Heroes of the Past: Bernie Parent at Philadelphiaflyers.com] Part I of II.
* Meltzer, Bill [http://flyers.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NewsPage&bcid=3013 Flyers Heroes of the Past: Bernie Parent at Philadelphiaflyers.com] Part II of II.
List of NHL statistical leaders
List of NHL seasons
* [http://www.databasehockey.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=PARENBER01 Career Stats]
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,917144,00.html Time.com: Courage and Fear in a Vortex of Violence - Feb. 24, 1975]
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