February 10, 2012
Suitcase Smith In The Dog House
This is Gary Smith. "The Suitcase" they called him, because he travelled around a lot. It was with the Canucks that he is probably best remembered.
Smith was an at-times sensational goaltender on a very weak team in the 1970s. He was entertaining and a folk hero. One thing is for sure - he lived up to his own hype.
"Everything you heard about me is true, I am a great goaltender" Smith announced as his first words to Canuck faithful. While it was obviously tongue in cheek, it was just a sign of things to come.
Smith was known for his stickhandling adventures in an attempt to become the first goaltender to score a goal. He would often stickhandle past his own blueline, yet his efforts were never rewarded. Another unrealized ambition of Smith's was to punt the puck over the scoreboard in Maple Leaf Gardens. While he never actually kicked it that high, it was an odd site in deed to see the goalie kicking the puck out of his own zone. He is also legendary for his famous late nights and partying.
Ultimately his wild partying may have cost him his job in Vancouver There is a story out there that one of the main reasons for his dismissal was his antics at a Christmas part. Smith got very drunk at a Canucks Christmas party. He was introduced to owner Frank Griffiths Sr.'s wife and was informed that her father was Dr. Ballard of the dog food company fame. Smith replied that he "could see the family resemblance from the can!"
Here's the full Suitcase Smith biography