By: Amy Tolman | Follow me on Twitter @Amy7594
Born on March 5, 1918, in Ontario, Canada, Milt Schmidt was an icon in his days as a Boston Bruin. Schmidt is the only Bruins player in Boston franchise history to be a player, a coach, and general manager. He was also the only man to have his name on the Stanley Cup four times. Three of the four times was with Boston. He was also the oldest living former player in the National Hockey League. On January 1, 2017, Schmitdk was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players.
Schmidt started his journey on October 9, 1935, when he signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1939, in which Schmidt played center on the ‘Kraut Line” (originally called “Sauerkraut Line” for their bloodlines) with wings Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart. It’s a nickname they brought to the Bruins for their bloodlines in Ontario. The three were embraced by Boston fans while becoming the latter part of the decade’s most potent line. In 1939-40, they became the first line in NHL history to finish 1-2-3 in league scoring, and in 1941 the line brought home to Boston another Stanley Cup. The trio also served in World War II together, missing three years of hockey. The picture below is the Kraut line in 1942; from left to right Woody Dumart, Milt Schmidt, and Bobby Bauer.
When Schmidt returned to the Bruins at the beginning of 1946-47 season, he returned playing just like he did before, finishing fourth in the league. In 1951, he was named captain of the Bruins. That year he won the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player.
Coaching And General Manger
In the 1954 – 54 season, Schmidt became the Bruins head coach and their assistant general manager. In 1961, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Bruins retired his #15 jersey.
Schmidt’s biggest trade in 1963 was a blockbuster with the Chicago Blackhawks, as he acquired Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, and Fred Stanfield in exchange for Pit Martin, Giles Marotte, and Jack Norris. And in 1970 and 1972, the Bruins won two more Stanley Cups.
For the 1975 season, Schmidt left the Bruins and became the first general manager for the Washington Capitals. That was a horrible year for both Schmidt and the Capitals; they finished 8-67-5. To date, that year still holds in the NHL as a benchmark as the worse record with minus 21 in the 18-team league.
After he retired from hockey management, Schmidt remained involved with the Bruins with the alumni team and the Boards and Blades Club at the Boston Garden.
On October 6, 2010, the Bruins celebrated Schmidt’s 75 years with the team holding a Milt Schmidt Night. On this night, he received 2 commemorative Stanley Cup miniatures to represent the two cups he had brought to the team, plus he personally raised his number to the rafters inside TD Garden. On October 20, 2016, Schmidt, along with Bobby Orr, dropped the ceremonial puck at the Boston Bruins’ first home game season.
Schmidt was the last surviving member of both the Bruins’ 1939 and 1941 Stanley Cup teams. He was also the last living NHL player to play in the 1930s and the last to have played against the Montreal Maroons (a team that folded in 1938).
Sadly, on January 4, 2017, he passed away at 98 years of age at a hospice facility in Needham, Mass. According to his daughter, Nancy Sommer, his death was due to a stroke.
Bruins fans will always remember Schmidt as a legend and an icon of Boston Bruins history.