January 02, 2011

Bob Champoux

The California Golden Seals goalie pictured above is Bob Champoux. Don't worry, this well travelled goalie usually played with a catching glove, although he is not here in this photo. Maybe he threw it at somebody. He was an intense goalie known for his temper - he would regularly yell at his own defensemen.

Bob Champoux's first professional season was with a poor Cincinnati Wings team in the CHL. The Red Wings affiliate was one of the worst teams in pro hockey history, winning only 12 of 72 games. Bob was the team's starting goalie, and despite valiant efforts, ended up with a horrible 10-44-5 record with a 5.60 GAA.

Champoux got his first taste of NHL experience in the 1964 NHL playoffs. Red Wings starting goalie Terry Sawchuk got injured 5 minutes into a game and Champoux, who was traveling with the Wings just in case of an event like this, was called in. Champoux played admirably, allowing 4 goals in 55 minutes, good enough to give Detroit the victory. Sawchuck would return the next night, but for Champoux is was a great way to end the horrible season.

Despite his playoff heroics, Champoux had a hard time coming out from the shadow cast upon him by the terrible season in Cincinnati. Champoux would bounce around the minor leagues for 9 years in such places as Memphis, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Dallas and Jacksonville, but he was best known as the San Diego Gulls goalie. The Wings traded the St. Hilaire Quebec native to San Diego in 1966.

In 1973 the California Golden Seals signed Champoux as a free agent, thanks mainly to injuries to regulars Gilles Meloche and Marv Edwards. It was a natural fit as Champoux was known to hockey fans in the area already due to his days with the Gulls. Unfortunately for Champoux, the Golden Seals weren't much better than the Cincinnati team Champoux started with 9 years earlier. The Seals only won 13 games out of 78. Champoux, who had been playing very well with the Seals' farm team in Salt Lake, appeared in 17 NHL games, sporting a 2-11-3 record with a bloated 5.20 GAA.

Champoux was released at the end of the season, but he did play three more seasons of pro hockey, this time with the Southern Hockey League's Winston-Salem Polar Bears.

No one will accuse Bob Champoux of being a great goalie. The fact that Champoux played in 14 professional seasons of hockey points out this much - you can't tell how good a guy was by his stats. Champoux's stats were awful, but not nearly as bad as some of the teams playing in front of him.

1 comment:

Graham Clayton said...

Champoux holds the record for the longest gap between the first and second NHL victories by a goaltender - 10 years between 1964 and 1974.