Skip to main content

Jerry "Topper" Toppazzini Passes Away


Boston Bruins legend Jerry "Topper" Toppazzini passed away on April 21st after a short illness. He was 81.

Toppazzini is best remembered as the last skater to play as a goaltender. On October 16th, 1960 he replaced injured goalie Don Simmons late in the third period. These were the days before back up goaltenders were mandatory on every roster. Topper never surrendered a goal in his less than a minute in the net.

After helping the Barrie Flyers win the Memorial Cup in 1951, Topper turned pro and became a star with the Boston Bruins in the 1950s. A participant in three NHL all star games, he also played with Detroit and Chicago in his 12 season career. He was a strong penalty killer (famous referee Red Storey called him the best penalty killer he ever saw), setting a then-record of scoring seven short-handed goals in the 1957-58 season.

That was Topper's best season, scoring a total of 25 goals. In the post-season he erupted for 9 goals in 12 Stanley Cup games, but he would never get the chance to sip champagne from Lord Stanley's famous chalice.

Topper was a popular, grinding third liner known for his enthusiastic forechecking, the type of lunch pail player Boston fans love. He was a consistent 15 goal, 45/50 point threat back in the day. He was a leader in the dressing room, too, known for his incessant chattering.

He retired as a player in 1968 and went into coaching. By 1975 he went home to Sudbury to coach the OHL Wolves and the likes of future NHL stars Mike Foligno, Randy Carlyle, Rod Schutt and Ron Duguay.

By 1977 Toppazzini bought the Belvedere Hotel on Lorne Street and converted it into the iconic Boston Bruins-themed sports bar and family restaurant known as the Beef 'n Bird.

Comments

Anonymous said…
he was a member of the Bruins 2nd line (not the third) in the late 50's-the 1st line was the UKE line (Horvath, Bucyk and Stasiuk) and the 2nd featured Don McKenney at center, Fleming Mackell at left wing and Topper on right wing- 2 of those 3 were usually on the ice together as penalty killers.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M