Former New York Ranger Andy Bathgate speaks during a ceremony retiring his jersey prior to a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers Feb. 22, 2009. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
Status: NHL center/right wing from 1952-1971 with Rangers, Toronto, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Scored 349 goals and 973 points in 1069 NHL games. Played in eight NHL All-Star Games. Hart Trophy winner in 1959. Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978. Rangers No. 4 all-time leading scorer.
Ht: 6-foot Wt: 180 pounds
DOB: August 28, 1932 In: Winnipeg
Hockey Inspirations: "Well, there was no TV back then, I really liked a fella who played for Boston - Bill Cowley. And Syl Apps. They were described as great playmakers. I thought that's what I would like to be. I liked how they described them on the radio, how they were playing. I never saw them play really."
First Hockey Memory: "I remember in Winnipeg, we played all our games outdoors (age 9-17). If you got to the championship game, it was the only game you played indoors all year. They would play the championship game for all the age groups and would fill it up with 4,000-5,000 people. To play indoors was quite a thrill. You remember playing outside with the wind - sometimes you could go like hell with the wind behind you. But then you couldn't go the other way!"
Hobbies/Leisure Activities: "Mainly, I've been in golf longer than I've been in hockey. Fishing on the coast. My father-in-law was a great fisherman. Been in the golf business since I was 20 - the driving range business (Bathgate Golf Center in Mississauga). Enjoyed that. Played fairly well."
Nicknames: "They used to call me ‘Buzz’ as a kid. ‘Tubby’ in New York. I wasn't fat, but Bathgate, bathtub."
Favorite Movies: "I'm not a movie-goer. I like ones with a real story behind it. Gary Cooper was one. I went in New York a lot."
Last Book Read: "Not a book reader. Most of the time I'm involved with work. May pick one up in the winter."
Favorite TV Shows: "Mostly sports. I try to keep up on sports. Wheel of Fortune. I got a couple of horses. If I can't get out to the track, watch my horses on TV."
First Job: "A garbage man, picking up garbage in the neighborhood. Actually it was probably caddying at the golf course. And hunting golf balls."
Current Car: "Lexus (blue)."
Pre-game Feeling: "Well, the goaltender was the main thing in our era. You could beat certain goalies low, had to get certain goalies up. At that time, our sticks were almost straight. I hooked the stick, tried to keep it relatively straight. Gotta pick the spots. Everything related back to your hockey stick. It didn't matter how big or strong you were; if you couldn't handle your stick, you're only going to be an average player. "
Favorite Meal: "Tonight I'm having ribs. My wife makes very good ribs. I don't really like anything fancy or gourmet, just basic meat and potatoes. Fish, too."
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Chocolate."
Greatest Sports Moment: "I guess - I've been very lucky. Been on four championship teams - three pro teams. I won a Memorial Cup in junior. Got a Stanley Cup in Toronto. Playing with Cleveland in the American League. Vancouver in the WHL. I scored a goal in New York that put us in the playoffs, eliminated Detroit. It was a thrill to score it. I deked the fella, had an open net. If I had missed it we would have missed the playoffs. In Toronto I got the winning goal in the seventh game of the playoffs. I had been traded to the Leafs in February for Dick Duff and Bob Nevin, a five for two trade. We ended up winning the Stanley Cup - my only Stanley Cup (1964)."
Most Painful Moment: "I guess...I was very lucky, I didn't have very many injuries. I scored that winning goal against Detroit playing with the Leafs in the playoffs. I got the goal early in the game when Gordie Howe dropped the puck back to the point. I was just going out to check him and just touched the puck, which went over his stick. Got the breakaway and scored. The next season, Junior Langlois and Gordie Howe got even with me. They were by me when I tipped the puck. They took a run at me. My momentum broke the glass, the glass flew out and I hit the partition. Put my hands up and broke my thumb, broke it really bad. Thought I finished my career. I guess that was the lowest. I was sent to the minors three times."
Closest Hockey Friends: "Harry Howell is still a close friend. Larry Popein - I visit him every year. Louie Fontinato – I’ve known him for over 50 years. He's a cattle farmer. Dean Prentice."
Funniest Players Encountered: "Larry Cahan would be. Gump Worsley had a dry wit. Sometimes you didn't know how he meant it. We didn't have many winning teams. It's all easier when you're winning."
Toughest Competitors: "I think almost every team had a tough fella you had to be careful of. Not necessarily for fighting, but for bodychecking. Pierre Pilote. Fernie Flaman. Leo Boivin. Bobby Baun. Doug Harvey in Montreal. You had to watch John Ferguson. He didn't bother me much, I had one fight with him, he didn't bother me too much after that. Gordie Howe - you had to watch his elbows all the time, he had his stick. Ted Lindsay was always aggressive, when he was in Detroit and Chicago."
Funny Hockey Memory: "Oh well, it all depends, you gotta sort of be part of it. The players do things. That's sort of left in the locker room. In New York it was tough, most of the guys came from small towns and go to the Big Apple, New York City. Some of the players couldn't cope with it. Larry Cahan played defense in New York. He was sort of our comedian. He was a comical man just the way he spoke. He kept our attention off the game. A big, strong man, died very young, unfortunately."
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "I didn't have too many fights. I could look after myself, but I didn't play that way. I had it in my head to score goals. The odd time you get upset, you gotta handle it, get it over with in a hurry. My father was a boxer and he said if you get in a fight make sure you get it over with fast. And make sure you get in the first punch. Certain times, certain players keep coming after you. I just tried to play hockey. We didn't have a lot of big players in New York, compared to some of the other teams. We would try to move the puck around."
Favorite Players To Watch: "So many of them. They handle the puck well. The shooters are fine, they shoot from 40-feet out sometimes, but I like the playmakers. I like Joe Sakic. He had a terrific wrist shot. I liked Jaromir Jagr, but some nights he'd go to sleep on you. He could have dominated the game with his size and skill if he put it all together. I heard from Glen Sather recently he was 240 pounds. He had the talent. Young Crosby now is very exciting. He goes all out all the time. It's hard to play full speed like he does because there's a lot of big, physical players hitting him. Ovechkin is dynamic around the net. There's a lot of talent. And their personalities are good for the game. They conduct themselves very well."
Most Memorable Goal: "I guess the one against Detroit (with Rangers). And the one with Toronto. Although, I had a chance to win the scoring title (1961-62). Bobby Hull got it that year (Hull had 50 goals, 34 assists for 84 points, Andy had 28-56-84). Hull got it because he had more goals. We played Chicago in the last game. But I didn't have a stick for the last seven minutes. It was 1-1 then we scored three goals. But I didn't have a stick. I was either wrestled to the ice or held. When we scored I had no stick. Soon as the whistle blew they'd jump me, they'd call the penalty, play would go on until the whistle blew. I wrestled and tried to get away from their guys, tried to circle around the net a few times to get a cheap assist, but we didn't know how to cope with it. They protected the scoring title for Bobby. I had no stick I could handle. I didn't get a chance for the goal. It was a disappointment. "
Strangest Game: "I guess one - Jacques Plante tripped me one night in New York. Jacques Plante used to come out of the net, he was the first one to stop the puck behind the net and circle the net. We had sort of a verbal talk on the ice. One time playing the puck, he sort of showboated, 'Like picking cherries, Bathgate.’ Then later I said, ‘Oh, you played great tonight, you had five shots.’ I had to remind him he didn't have much to worry about. Later he came back behind the net and he tripped me. I hit the end boards pretty hard, luckily I didn't hurt myself or break my neck, I hit it hard. Just cut my ear, got it stitched up and came back out. He tried to hurt me. There's other ways I can get you back. You want to play that way, I can play that way, too. Later he had his stick out and I gave him a shot right on his cheek, it wasn't a slapshot. He went off and came back on with the mask on. We thought it was a joke. But he revolutionized the game. I'm not taking credit, but it changed the game for sure."
Personality Qualities Most Admired: "Jean Beliveau, to me, was the classic player. He was big, very, very strong; he came to play. And anyone who played with him for any length of time seemed like they were in the Hall of Fame. ‘Boom Boom’ Geoffrion. Yvan Cournoyer, Bert Olmstead. He played like a majestic game, like it was supposed to be played. If he hit you illegally, he'd say, ‘I'm sorry, it won't happen again.’ If you clipped him, you'd apologize to him the same way."
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