Famously nicknamed “Tony O”, Esposito lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Tuesday. Esposito played all but one season of his historic career in Chicago, after being acquired from Montreal in 1969.
In Esposito’s first season with Chicago, he won the Calder Trophy for best rookie in the league after he recorded 15 shutouts. The stat still stands as a record to this day. In 886 career games, Esposito owned a 423-306-152 record. Considering he played in an era where ties still existed, Tony O’s numbers were impressive. He also had 76 shutouts in his Hall of Fame career.
In addition, in well over 52,000 minutes of play, Esposito owned a career 2.93 GAA and .906 save percentage. His personal accolades are also well documented, as Esposito added five All-Star appearances and three Vezina Trophies to go along with his Calder Trophy.
However, the new era Blackhawks fan knows Tony O as a kind, lovable ambassador of the Blackhawks organization. Esposito’s #35 is retired, and for good reason. That said, it might be symbolically retired for the person he was off the ice as much as it was for his accomplishments on the ice.
Personally, I had the pleasure of sharing a flight home with Tony Esposito from Tampa, Florida back in 2015. He said hello to the entire Saint Xavier University football team, and even took pictures with a few groups of us. It was a brief interaction, but there was no denying the man he was.
Esposito is survived by his wife, two children, and two grandchildren. He will be sincerely missed.
Rest in peace, Tony O.
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