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Wings Score Big Win in Chicago with Substitute Goalie

Mar. 29, 1964 - A hat trick by Norm Ullman (pictured) and rookie Bob Champoux’s clutch goaltending gave the Detroit Red Wings a big 5-4 victory over the Black Hawks at Chicago Stadium tonight. The victory, the Wings’ first in Chicago this season, was one of the most memorable of all Detroit’s appearances in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Champoux, only 21 and just finishing his first year as a professional, was called out of the stands to fill in for Terry Sawchuk at 5:20 of the first period after Sawchuk came up with a pinched nerve in his left shoulder.

A 21-year-old native of Montreal who wound up the Central League season a week ago with last-place Cincinnati, allowing more than 350 goals there for a 5.34 average, Champoux was dropped right down on the hottest spot in hockey. He took over when there was no score and the Hawks had a power play going with a jammed house of 16,241 fans roaring for the Hawks to score.

But the Wing defense, playing perhaps its best game of the season, put a wall around Champoux. For the next 54½ minutes, Champoux was given a merciless battering by Bobby Hull and the rest of the Hawks, who were licking their chops each time they readied another thrust at the Detroit goal. Champoux did yield four goals, but he withstood the assault, and when the final horn sounded, he had his reward.

“Nervous? I should say,” said the youngster afterward, speaking with a French accent. “The first time Bobby Hull blasted me with one of his power shots, all I saw was a blur. But I tried to forget that it was Hull, one of the game’s greatest players. I tried to forget about everything but my job. The nervousness lasted for about five minutes. No, I didn’t feel sick to my stomach. But I never would have got through the game if the other fellows hadn’t been so much help. They told me when I first went in they’d protect me as much as they could — and they did. Whenever I got in trouble, I had help.”

What did Sid Abel, Red Wing coach, tell Champoux when he sent him into his first NHL game?

“He put his arm around me and said, ‘Just do you best, kid.’ It gave me confidence.”


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