Bert Olmstead (Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
Bert Olmstead, who won five Stanley Cups during his 14-year NHL career, has passed away at age 89 due to complications from a stroke. Olmstead was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985, and finished his career with 181 goals and 602 points in 848 games.
Hall of Fame left winger Bert Olmstead, a native of Sceptre, Sask., passed away Monday at 89 due to complications from a stroke, according to the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis.
Over his 14 seasons in the NHL, Olmstead played for the Chicago Black Hawks, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs and was also briefly a member of the Red Wings but never suited up for Detroit. Olmstead broke into the league with the Black Hawks in 1949-50 with a 20-goal, 49-point rookie campaign and finished second in Calder Trophy voting to Bruins goaltender Jack Gelineau.
Olmstead’s greatest successes came while a member of the Habs in the 1950s, though. Olmstead was a gifted playmaker, but wasn’t necessarily known for his own scoring ability, instead using his talents to set up linemates such as Elmer Lach, Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard and Jean Beliveau.
While in Montreal, he was a top-line winger and achieved his greatest personal heights in the 1954-55 and 1955-56 seasons. In both years, Olmstead led the NHL in assists, including a record-setting 56-assist season in 1955-56. Olmstead held onto the record for five seasons before it was broken in 1960-61 by then-former teammate Beliveau, who notched 58 helpers to take the record from Olmstead.
As a Canadien, Olmstead helped Montreal to four Stanley Cups, including a remarkable run of three straight from 1956 to 1958. Olmstead would move on from the Canadiens in 1958, however, as he was picked up in the Intra-League Draft by the Maple Leafs. Olmstead would remain a consistent 35-plus-point threat in Toronto, and helped the Maple Leafs to a Stanley Cup in 1961-62.
Olmstead’s career ended the following off-season when he was claimed by the New York Rangers in the Intra-League Draft. He decided not to join the Rangers and ended his career at 35. He retired with 181 goals and 602 points in 848 games. Olmstead returned to the NHL in 1967-68 to coach the expansion Oakland Seals, but was not back for a second season after posting an 11-37-16 record behind the bench.
In 1985, Olmstead was one of three players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, entering the Hall alongside Gerry Cheevers and Jean Ratelle.