It’s a sad day in Boston Bruins history as the Original Six hockey club lost their oldest living legend with Milt Schmidt dying at 98 years old.
The Hall of Fame center from the Kraut Line was also known as “Mr. Bruin” because he was a player, a coach and general manager during his long tenure with the Black and Gold. The Kitchener, Ontario remained in Boston after his NHL career was over and was a regular at charity golf events and special Bruins events all the way up to an appearance earlier this season to commemorate his 80th anniversary with the hockey club.
“It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of our dear friend, Milt Schmidt. Milt embodied everything it meant to be a Boston Bruin both on and off the ice," said Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs in a press release. "Milt has impacted the Boston Bruins organization in many different capacities, as a player on the ice, a coach behind the bench and as a general manager, cementing himself in NHL history as one of the all time greats.
"Anyone who knew Milt personally know he was one of the all time greats off the ice as well. His beaming smile, sharp wit and infectious laugh could light up a room with such an incredible presence that can't be matched. We extend our condolences to all of Milt's family and friends during this difficult time."
Just a couple of days ago Schmidt was named one of the first 33 players included in the top 100 NHL players of all time compiled by the league as they celebrate and commemorate their Centennial Anniversary.
According to the Boston Globe, Schmidt had recently suffered a stroke and was living at a care facility following the incident.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, Schmidt helped the Bruins win a pair of titles as a player in 1939 and ’41, and two more as GM of the Bobby Orr-era Bruins teams in the 1970’s. Schmidt served as head coach immediately following his playing days, leading Boston to back-to-back Cup Finals in ’57 and ’58, and was one of a number of NHL players that lost some of their prime years while serving in World War II.
When Schmidt visited the TD Garden for what would be his final time with Orr earlier this season so each could commemorate their 50th and 80th anniversaries with the Bruins organization, the legend recounted the story of his Habs rivals carrying him off the Montreal Forum ice on their shoulders after his last game prior to being deployed for World War II. It was the kind of remarkable story told by a remarkable man that achieved the greatest heights in his beloved professional of hockey, but never lost the perspective, good humor and class much more commonplace with the heroes and role models of the Greatest Generation than it is in today’s cynical world.