July 29, 1963 - Jacques Plante (pictured in 1960), 34, who believes he is the “best goaltender in the business,” today became the highest paid goalie in the history of the New York Rangers. The six-time Vezina Trophy winner and the first goalie to wear a mask in a professional hockey game, Plante signed his 1963-64 contract with the Rangers following a five-minute conference with Muzz Patrick, general manager and vice president of the club. The Rangers never disclose contract terms, but it is believed that Plante will receive about $24,000. Plante was acquired by the Rangers last June along with Phil Goyette and Don Marshall, both forwards, from the Montreal Canadiens for goalie Gump Worsley and Dave Balon, Len Ronson, and Leon Rochefort, forwards. Today, Plante said: “The Rangers are on their way up and the Canadiens are on the way down. I’m glad to leave Montreal. Things up there have changed. The fans and the management have gotten so used to winning, they put the pressure on you. You don’t mind the pressure when you have the players to handle it, but the Canadiens don’t have them any more.” According to Jacques, Montreal has only four really good scorers left — Boom Boom Geoffrion, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, and Gilles Tremblay. “The Boomer doesn’t shoot as hard as he used to; Beliveau has been sick; Henri loses too many scoring chances trying to pull the goalies, and Tremblay always shoots off the wrong foot,” was Plante’s capsule comment. As for the two men who accompanied him in the swap — Goyette and Marshall — Plante said both will help the Rangers rise from their fifth-place standing. “Marshall is still one of the best defensive players and penalty-killers in the business, and I think Goyette can be a 20-goal man,” he declared.
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