Milt Schmidt, legendary Bruins captain and Hockey Hall of Famer, died Wednesday following a recent stroke. He was 98, and the oldest living former NHL player.
The Kitchener, Ontario native captained the B’s to two Stanley Cup championships in 1939 and 1941, and served as general manager during the Big Bad Bruins’ Cup runs in 1970 and 1972. Schmidt won the Hart Trophy in 1952, awarded to the league’s most valuable player. His No. 15 was raised to the Garden rafters in 1980.
For much of his career with the Bruins, which spanned from 1936 to 1955, played on the so-called “Kraut Line,” alongside Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer, his childhood friends. Just as Ted Williams placed his playing career on hold to serve his country in World War II, Schmidt and his linemates enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In their last game before heading off to war, the Bruins walloped the Canadiens 8-1 at the Boston Garden, after which the Habs hoisted the Kraut Line on their shoulders and paraded them around the ice.
Bauer retired in 1950, but retired to the Bruins for one game in 1952, a sort of “Kraut Line Appreciation Night.” Not only did the Bruins shut out Toronto 4-0, but Bauer assisted on Schmidt’s 200th goal, a rare feat at the time.
Schmidt appeared alongside fellow Bruins great Bobby Orr for the ceremonial puck drop at the first home game of the 2016-17 season.
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