Former Habs goalie Charlie Hodge dies at age 82

The Canadiens announced Sunday that former goalie Charlie Hodge, who was part of six Stanley Cup teams with Montreal in the 1950s and ’60s, died Saturday at age 82.

The Lachine native played 237 games with the Canadiens over 10 seasons, starting out as a backup to Jacques Plante before becoming the No. 1 goalie in 1963. He won the Vézina Trophy twice, in 1963-64 and 1965-66.

Hodge left Montreal after the 1966-67 season, when he was selected by the Oakland Seals in the NHL expansion draft.

(Photo: David Bier Studios, Gazette files)

Little guy Hodge stood tall for Habs

PUBLISHED ON OCT. 26, 2008

DAVE STUBBS
MONTREAL GAZETTE

There is a street in the Ste. Dorothée district of Laval called Rue Hodge, the mailing address of a dozen or so houses not unlike countless others in suburbia.

Go door to door down this quiet road, between Rue Dautry and Chemin du Bord de l’Eau, and chances are excellent that not one of its residents will know for whom their street is named.

Indeed, by whom it was named – a terrific little goaltender who won four Stanley Cups and two Vézina trophies with glorious teams of the Canadiens’ past.

Charlie Hodge, still 5-foot-7 if not the 150 pounds he was during his playing days, was back in town yesterday. For two hours he shook hands, posed for photos, signed autographs and chatted with fans in English and French, a popular guest at the Collectors’ International sale and exposition at Centre Pierre Charbonneau.

The 75-year-old Lachine native was home less than a day, ending his visit with a melancholy stop at a St. Laurent cemetery, on his way to Dorval for an afternoon flight back to Vancouver.

“I want to put flowers on my parents’ grave before the winter,” he said.

Hodge hadn’t nearly the time to visit his namesake street in Ste. Dorothée. He’s been rarely back since he left Montreal in 1967, having settled in Oakland then Vancouver, the two cities where he played hockey post-Canadiens and made himself a life in business and NHL scouting after his 1971 retirement.

He had invested in real estate early in his career, building a home on a nameless street in the new development north of Montreal. In fact, Hodge owned four lots, a couple more than teammate Henri Richard, and made a trip to town hall with a bold suggestion.

“I told somebody there, ‘I’ll call it Hodge Ave.,’ ” he remembered. “They said: ‘That’s fine.’ But they called it Rue Hodge.

“I wasn’t aware of the market when I sold my lots, and I should have gotten double what I did for them. I’m sure Henri sold his for a lot more. But then, the street isn’t named after him.”

For years, Hodge kidded teammates that he’d be better remembered as an avenue than a goaltender.

That’s hardly true, a point made clear yesterday by the scores of fans who paid $20 for his signature on photos, pucks, jerseys, sticks and at least one miniature Stanley Cup.

It’s been written that Hodge’s father, John, had set up a net in the family’s basement to hone his young son’s skills.

“We didn’t have a basement,” he sniffed. “We were in a tenement house. My dad only had one eye. He put a net in the living room, moved the furniture, got down on his hands and knees and swatted a ball at me.”

Hodge seemed a career minor-leaguer, playing 529 games for nine teams outside the NHL from 1953 to 1963 while seeing action only 59 times for the Canadiens. Always he was an emergency substitute for an injured Jacques Plante; always he was shipped back when Plante recovered.

Plante was dealt to the New York Rangers in a seven-player trade in June 1963, yet it was incoming Gump Worsley who was pegged by coach Toe Blake as the Canadiens starter.

But when Worsley was hurt that fall, Hodge took the call in Quebec City, where he was playing for the American league Aces.

Another Montreal pitstop, he figured, packing only a shaving kit, pyjamas and an extra shirt. But this time he stayed for 62 games, edging Chicago’s Glenn Hall by two goals to win the Vézina with eight shutouts and a 2.26 average.

“There were times when it was very good,” Hodge said of that season. “But let’s face it, one of the fellows who deserved a lot of credit for it was Claude Provost. He was a hell of a checker.”

By now Hodge’s name already was engraved on the Stanley Cup four times, though among those he counts only his 12-game 1957-58 as legitimate, Plante having shouldered the load.

Hodge claims only three championships, adding 1964-65 and 1965-66, having shared the Vézina with Worsley the latter year. But you’ll find his name on the Cup seven times, including 1991-92 with Pittsburgh as a scout. It is spelled four different ways on the sterling bands – C Hodge, CH Hodge, Charles Hodge and Charlie Hodge.

He was signing “Charlie” yesterday, as he does only for memorabilia.

“I sign cheques a different way and legal documents a way different than that,” he said. “If anybody copies what I sign today then tries to forge something legal, I can say: ‘No, this is not my signature.’

“It’s not that I don’t trust anybody,” he added, laughing. “It’s just that I don’t trust anybody.”

Hodge’s days in Montreal ended in 1967, claimed by the California Golden Seals when the Canadiens left him unprotected in June’s expansion draft.

It was hardly a picnic tending goal behind the Seals’ invisible defence. But Hodge, then 34, enjoyed playing for coach Bert Olmstead, a 1950s Canadiens teammate who shared an intensity ingrained by the CH.

His favourite game during his three-year Bay Area stay came in November against the Canadiens and his old friend, John Ferguson, a 2-1 home-ice victory.

“John was being a smart aleck, he came by the front of the net and smacked me in the behind, hitting me so hard you could hear it throughout the building,” Hodge recalled in Brad Kurtzberg’s book Shorthanded: The Untold Story of the Seals.

“Well, a penalty was called and I started laughing. (Canadiens coach) Toe Blake chewed John out, and I had the satisfaction of beating the best.”

From 58 games and Seals player-of-the-year honours in their inaugural season to 28 games the next two, Hodge wound up with the expansion Vancouver Canucks in 1970-71, where he retired after one year.

In 358 NHL games, he earned 61 shutouts and had an excellent 2.69 average, 2.38 in 16 more playoff games.

For two decades Hodge scouted B.C. for the Pittsburgh Penguins and does likewise still today for the Tampa Bay Lightning, bird-dogging junior games. And don’t think he’s not irked when instructed to study only the goaltenders taller than six feet.

There was ample leg room on any seat he chose for his flight home, the little guy lighter for a confession that had unburdened his soul.

“When I was young, my favourite goaltender, and I hate like hell to say it, was (Toronto’s) Turk Broda,” Hodge said, almost under his breath. “That was a no-no. When I realized that one training camp, I figured I’d better switch.”

 

56 Comments

  1. bwoar says:

    [moving to new thread]

  2. rabidhab says:

    RIP , Mr. Hodge.

  3. jrs10069 says:

    I like what I’m seeing in the playoffs but wtf are the refs doing? Did they eliminate charging from the rulebook? All kinds of massive hits which are fun to watch but I don’t get the no calls..

    https://www.nhl.com/video/cizikas-big-hit/t-277350912/c-43575603

    Habs would be getting destroyed

    jrs10069

    • Strummer says:

      Charging is now called “finishing your check”. It’s rarely called these days.
      Same as running a player dangerously into the boards used to be called as “boarding”
      Hitting players when they don’t have possession of the puck was ‘interference”, but they call that occasionally.

      This is nothing new, it’s been years since they enforced the rule book.

    • on2ndthought says:

      To be fair to the officials, the game has “always been called that way” in the playoffs. Games are way more intense. Refs really don’t want to influence the play; and end up influencing it way more than if they just called things the way they do during the regular season.

      And yes, the Habs wiould be getting destroyed except now we have (sort of) McCarron, Matteau, Lessio, Danault, Pateryn, even Carr to complement Chuck and Gally (who are our only top six with push back).

      PK and Emelin are big bodies that can hit hard, but don’t really push back.

      We’ll see what this team looks like a) coming out of training camp and b) after the trade deadline next year. Possible candidates beside McCarron include Scherbak and Gauthier/Dubois.

  4. Paz says:

    My condolences

  5. CaliHabFan says:

    Second game in Tampa, 2 minutes to go, game well in hand and Tampa laying heavy hits on Wing’s D-men. Example: Blunden on Ericsson. Never know all that goes on during a game but I’m guessing those hits certainly helped light up the animosity. Brain-dead plays by Tampa forth liners.

  6. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    The reason you have all these cheap-shots is because the NHL does nothing to punish these rats. Abdelkader should have been suspended. Is it really that hard to put fines and penalties into place? How much time did they spend looking at video for divers? You can’t do the same for after the whistle punches and stick-work? Fine them $1000/shot and these cheap shots will disappear fast. I don’t understand how you go after fighting but allow this stuff. At this point they are better off putting in exceptions for the instigator penalty and fighting. For example, if a player punches another player in the face with his glove, then the other player can drop and just start throwing without getting the instigator. On top of that, his 5 minute penalty is served without his team losing a playing. You can put in the exception for slashing, head-shots and hits from behind also. If the NHL does stuff like this, the game will be more clean.

    • frontenac1 says:

      The Rats are running free because their natural predators (Enforcers) have been banished to the minors.
      The League thinks The Refs are the Enforcers now. Good luck with that.

  7. Mavid says:

    172

    º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

    Weed Wacker -and now Flamethrower Grandma Smurf

  8. on2ndthought says:

    Condolences to the Hodge and Canadien families.

  9. Habby_Haberton says:

    I know we are all tired of the smurfs, but I would be okay with Habs selecting 5’10” Clayton Keller. He is lighting up the USHL and national team. Putting up elite numbers. Super skilled and I think if you are a Gaudreau/Kane type in the skill department, you can play in the NHL.

    I’m sure most here would rather a big guy but skill is most important IMO – however Habs are desperate for more size so not a likely pick.

    I just know there is a lot of Nylander/Dubois talk but the fact is both among with the other big names will be gone by 9-10. McLeod is probably our best bet, but just looking at alternatives.

  10. expat_habsfan says:

    R.I.P Charlie. You were there when the Habs needed you and the game was made better by your participation.

  11. ari says:

    My condolences to the Hodge family.
    I am sure he wouldn’t like to visit his street during rush hour. …

  12. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    Everybody talks about the scorers but this is the team built by great goalies: Hainsworth, Durnan, Plante, Hodge, Worsley, Vachon, Dryden, Laroque, Roy, Theodore and now Price…and it will probably never change. RIP

  13. KWS-3164-NRC-22 says:

    My condolences to Mr. Hodge’s family. May he rest in peace.

    ————————————————————————————————————————
    The Canadiens won about two-thirds of their Stanley Cups when there were only six teams and each year a couple of clubs weren’t even competitive. WOW !!!!!

  14. Peter Young says:

    When I was a boy and a young man in the 1950s and 1960s, it seemed Charlie Hodge would be around the Canadiens forever. I saw him play many times, both live and on the television.

    Charlie was a 5’6″ (some, like Red Fisher above give him an extra inch) acrobat who had the misfortune to come of age when there were only six NHL teams, each carrying only one goaltender. He waited a long time, filling in on the Canadiens only occasionally, until he finally got his big chance in the early 1960s, when Jacques Plante was traded and the goaltender the Canadiens got in exchange for him, Gump Worsley, was injured.

    That was the 1963-64 season, and Charlie seized the chance, winning the Vezina Trophy and selection to the second all-star team. He deserved to win first team honors, but, as usual when it wasn’t a runaway choice, the sportswriters based in the USA’s four NHL cities, who outnumbered those based in Canada’s two, went for Glenn Hall of the Chicago Black Hawks (as they were known then), as they did several times when other Canadiens goaltenders (Jacques Plante and Gump Worsley) won the Vezina in the 1950s and 1960s. Charlie also won second team honors the following year, the 1964-65 season.

    From the late 1940s to 1967, Charlie played for the Canadiens or their junior or farm teams. He was a most loyal servant to the club, contributing to several Stanley Cup victories, and he deserves gratitude and a salute from all Canadiens fans.

    Condolences to Charlies’ family and friends. May he be where peace, love and happiness prevail.

  15. Goldenchild says:

    Thanks, Timo. Sorry to appear harsh. You make me laugh all year long. Keep it up! Cheers.

  16. ProHabs says:

    Brian Boyle is such a punk. He’s tough when he is the biggest guy on the ice but runs and turtles when someone his size goes after him.

    He skates off the ice tonight doing the chicken dance cause Justin abelkater won’t scrap with him. Boyle should remember how he ran when Matt carkner or chara wanted to go with him.

    What a punk

    • Timo says:

      Davey D would have tuned him in.

    • Mavid says:

      It was Abelkater who thought he was tough beating a guy down on the ice..yet challenged by someone toe to toe..he declines..he is no better

      º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

      Weed Wacker -and now Flamethrower Grandma Smurf

    • frontenac1 says:

      They’re both spot picking punks and fake tough guys. Not long ago when there were real Enforcers, both these guys would be either in the hospital or the minors.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Boyle and Gaustad are the worst. I have no sympathy for TB or Detroit because they are both instigators and rats. I hope Washington destroys whichever loser they play.

      • Mavid says:

        Incredible how nasty it has become….yep I am all about Washington..I also would not mind Pittsburg..I always loved Lemieux and I am a big fan of sid the kit..

        º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

        Weed Wacker -and now Flamethrower Grandma Smurf

    • expat_habsfan says:

      Agree on Boyle because there were some bigger Wing players on the ice but he picked on Abdelkader, who can also be an instigating dipstick but this time wasn’t on the wrong side.

      That deliberate attempt by Kucherov and Boyle to run Kronwall at the end was especially chickenshit as was the run at Zetterberg. Also, Killorn going after Zetterberg, what a douche.

      I don’t particularly like either team but the Bolts are bigger douches than the Wings but both should be crushable by the Caps.

  17. Timo says:

    Fireworks in Detroit. There are teams out there that are enjoying playoffs hockey.

  18. Dust says:

    RIP
    Seeing that he was only 5’7″ he would probably not even get a chance to play in the nhl now a days. I wonder how many great goalies get passed over now without even getting the opportunity to play in the nhl if they are under 6′

  19. montreal ace says:

    What a great picture of Charlie. R.I.P.

  20. Timo says:

    Wings – Tampa, pretty good hockey. High tempo, pack possession, precise passing, pretty good physicality. Pretty much everything that Habs do not have.

  21. habsfan0 says:

    Another link to Habs glorious past gone..but not forgotten.
    RIP Charlie Hodge.

  22. theox_8 says:

    Chicago already had their version of Weise in Kruger and Shaw . Doesn’t mean he can’t be effective but they have a few energy , soils guys . He is just there for added depth to an already stacked team . Probably hurting his UFA status a tad though .

  23. powdered toastman says:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  24. chilli says:

    Weiss is playing 2mins a period in Chi-town.
    They definitely don’t speak Dutch in Chicago.

    • Habfan17 says:

      What does that say then about the job Bergevin has done? Weise was, or appeared to be very valuable his first season and a bit. Some found, he got away from playing his game this season.

      Was he as good as we thought, or was he successful because the Habs don’t have as much dep, as Chicago?

      Habfan17

      • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

        Danault clearly stated when he started playing for the Habs that the Habs’ system is different from Chicago’s. Weise is probably better suited for MT’s dump and speed system.

      • Coach K says:

        It tells me that when compared against the GMs of championship winning teams, Bergevin is failing at being able to properly assess talent – both players and coaches.
        Results speak volumes.

        -There are NO foxholes in hockey-

  25. Heisenberg says:

    RIP Mr. Hodge.

  26. Goldenchild says:

    Timo,

    First or not, NOT the point. Respect for Mr. Hodge please. A true classic and a gentleman from my hometown of Lachine, QC. Thank you, Mr. Hodge. I will always look up to a Hab great from Lachine, a place where many hockey greats came from and lived at one point. Mr. Goyette still lives there. Cournoyer’s brasserie was there on 32nd. Yvon Lambert and if not mistaken, Mr. Bowman lived in West Lachine as well. Dixie Park in Lachine – home to many and many hours and hours of outdoor hockey in freezing storms. A true hockey town. RIP Mr. Hodge. And, Timo, not too late to pay some respects, man. Come on.

  27. Timo says:

    First, baby!!!!

    Go Timo!!!


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