Murray Bannerman

As Tony Esposito's career wound down in Chicago, eventually ending in 1983-84, the Blackhawks had a young goalie from Fort Frances, Ontario apprenticing to take over between the pipes. His name was Murray Bannerman.

"Murray was a guy that started off as a real good goaltender," explained former teammate Terry Ruskowski. "He was in the shadow of Esposito for a number of years, but when it was his time to play, he played, and he played very, very well.

Originally a 5th round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 1977, Bannerman was traded to Chicago as part of the Pit Martin trade after playing just a single game with the Canucks. He would apprentice with the Hawks farm team in New Brunswick and then as Esposito's understudy, taking over the starting role in 1982-83.

Bannerman was a standout early in his career, playing well enough to earn NHL All Star game invites in both 1983 and 1984. Ultimately he did not have the focus to take a poor Hawks team to a higher level. The intense scrutiny placed upon him as the man replacing Tony Esposito certainly did not help him.

He had all the tools to be a starting goalie, but critics agree he lacked the concentration skills. He was very inconsistent from game to game and even from period to period. When he was good he was good, but when his game fell apart he would sit too far back in his net and flopped in his goal crease like a fish out of water. An excellent skater and one of the earliest puckhandling goalies, Bannerman liked to stray from his crease, with some spectacularly disastrous results early in his career.

After seven years with the Hawks, Bannerman was sent to Saginaw of the IHL early in the 1987-88 season. He quit professional hockey soon after.

"I knew they were going to get some other goaltenders. The only thing I was upset about was when I talked to them all summer, they told me to come to camp, work hard and 'we'll give you a good chance to be a member of the team again.' Obviously, when you don't play one league game, that's not much of a chance. It's their right to make changes. But is it really so much to tell a guy you're not in the plans? i don't feel they ever really did it. Judging by the way many things have been handled, I guess you can't expect it."

Bannerman's NHL career spanned 8 seasons and 289 games played. His record in that time was 116 wins, 125 losses with 33 ties. He had 8 career shutouts and a lifetime 3.83 GAA.


Anonymous,  8:23 PM  

I have to agree that Muzz had tremendous pressure trying to replace Tony-O. Unfortunately, it led Murray onto a battlefield of Demons which would ultimately lead to the end of his career. Off the ice he was a very quiet,and private person. I met him at Gunzos in Forest Park one time, and he maybe said about 10 words. I think he deserves to be a Blackhawk legend, and will never be forgotten.

Anonymous,  7:56 AM  

He works in carson now!!

Anonymous,  7:54 PM  

He was a great goalie, it was the organization he played for that lead to the end of his career. He will always be an all star in lots of peoples eyes.

Anonymous,  10:30 AM  

my son has done goalie clinics with him. he's a good guy.

Anonymous,  7:23 AM  

Just picked up his authentic game won goalie mask at a charity auction for $700.... great piece

Anonymous,  2:08 PM  

seen him many times and I must say is one of the nicest people in the world!

I love the guy!

Mike35,  9:02 PM  

The very first post is correct in that Murray delt with serious personal issues, and I have to give him credit in that he decided to walk away from the game for the sake of his Family. He could've played a lot more years. A very quiet individual in his playing days. If you met him now, you'd never know this guy was once a NHL Goalie....

Anonymous,  11:39 AM  

Really a true gentleman who accomodated me into his busy schedule so that I could have him sign my mask...a real class act. I've met a lot of ex-NHLers, but he's among the nicest and most genuine of all. And, he gave us a lot to cheer about back in the 80's....

Mike35,  2:54 PM  

It's nice to see so many nice comment about Murray. One thing I'm very disappointed with the fact that the Balckhawks have not included Murray in their heritage night festivities throughout the season. This guy was a key part to the Hawks success throughout the early to mid 80's, and he hsould be honored as such.

Anonymous,  5:47 PM  

My son was a young peewee defenseman who played with Murray's son, Dana. Murry taught him more about hockey in that one season than the rest of his career that included playing in college D-1. Murry had a wonderful ability to teach.

vatican2 9:23 PM  

He has the coolest hockey mask of all time. I would love to own one.

Unknown 5:14 AM  

We lived next door to the Bannermans in Winnipeg back in the 60's I used to skate with Murry on the outdoor open ring across the street from our house. I were only 8 or 9 back then didn't realize back then how far he would take it...Would love to touch base with him some day for old time sake.
Victoria Wittman Marchant

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