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May 10, 2016

Marcel Paille

Marcel Paille was a soft spoken goaltender in the Original Six era.

Like so many goaltenders in the pre-expansion era, Paille found it was almost impossible to crack a NHL goal crease. After all, teams were still using one goaltender exclusively, and there were only six teams. With Hall of Famers like Johnny Bower, Glenn Hall, Gump Worsley, Terry Sawchuk and Jacques Plante dominating the golden age of goaltending, it did not matter how good Paille might have been. He just was destined to never get a real shot.

Paille did play in 107 career NHL games, all with the New York Rangers, including the balance of the 1957-58 and 1964-65 seasons.

But his NHL career was almost a footnote in his impressive 18 year professional career.

Paille was born Shawiningan Falls, Quebec in 1932 - the same hometown of Jacques Plante. He would play the balance of his career in the American Hockey League. Paille played a record 15 AHL seasons in goal with six different teams. He played in a record 765 career games and rank second all time in wins with 344 - just 15 fewer than Bower's 359.

Paille won four Calder Cup trophies as AHL champion, including three consecutive with Springfield from 1960 through 1962.

Emile Francis described Paille's goaltending ability.

“Paille was a standup goalkeeper. He played his angles very well and gave up very few rebounds. Because of being a standup goalkeeper and playing his angles everything went off into the corner."

“He was a good goalkeeper. Hey when there are only six teams and you make it to the NHL you must be pretty good. And the American Hockey League was no different, all the teams in professional hockey carried only one goalkeeper. When I played in the American League it was the same thing they only had eight teams and out on the West Coast they only had eight teams so that was all you had. There weren’t that many places a goalkeeper could play.”

Marcel Paille passed away in 2002. He was inducted posthumously into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame in 2010.

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