Hall of Famer Bert Olmstead passes away at 89
Hockey Hall of Famer and five-time Stanley Cup champion Bert Olmstead passed away on Monday. He was 89.
Olmstead played 14 seasons in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. He reached the Stanley Cup Final 11 times, winning four titles with the Canadiens and another with the Maple Leafs.
“Bert's passion for the game earned unwavering respect from his teammates; his knowledge of the game once earned him a role as a playing assistant coach; and his skill led to what was then an NHL single-season record for assists: 56 in 1955-56,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “We send heartfelt condolences and comfort to Bert's family and friends.”
Olmstead began his career with the Blackhawks in 1948, but made his name after a trade to Montreal in 1950. Appreciating his strong two-way game, coach Dick Irvin slotted him alongside Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach on a reconstituted Punch Line. The assignment suited the gifted winger: Olmstead scored 38 points in just 39 games, and finished sixth in the voting for the Hart Trophy.
He twice was honored with a berth on the league's Second All-Star Team (1953 and 1956) and twice led the NHL in assists (1955 and 1956). His 56 apples in 1956 stood as the league record for five seasons until broken by his former linemate, Jean Beliveau.
In 1954 he tied Richard's franchise mark for points in a game with eight.
Acquired by Toronto in 1958, he captured one more Cup in 1962. In his biography, Frank Mahovlich tells the story that Olmstead ripped into Harold Ballard when the Toronto owner made his first appearance of the season before the Game 6 clincher to glad hand the team.
Olmstead retired after that Cup win with 181 goals and 602 points in 848 regular season games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.