Moose Vasko

Elmer Vasko was a fan favorite in Chicago, as fans used to chant "Moooose!" when he touched the puck.

''I used to think they were booing me. Now I know they want me to go out and do my best. It's great to be wanted!'' Vasko once said.

Moose Vasko got his nickname for rather obvious reasons. When he broke into the NHL in the late 1950s, the 6'2" 200lb defenseman was as big as they came back then. He wasn't particularly mean spirited but he certainly knew how to use his size to his advantage.

The long time Chicago Blackhawks player and one time captain was a classic stay at home defenseman, often paired with the slick and outstanding Pierre Pilote. Think Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith.

Vasko overcame early shoulder trouble to establish himself as one of the top defensemen of the 1960s. In 1963 he finished fourth in Norris trophy balloting, and in 1964 he finished third. Both years he was named to the NHL's post-season All Star Team.

Those were great years for Vasko, but it was 1961 that he would cherish the most. That was the year the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. The 1950s were lean times in the Windy City, but thanks to the play of the likes of Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Pilote and Vasko, the Hawks emerged as the best team in all of hockey. They remained good throughout the 1960s, but that generation of Hawks never won the Stanley Cup again.

Vasko would play until 1966 when he temporarily retired. In 1967 the expansion Minnesota North Stars convinced him to return to the ice. He played two more years in the NHL, serving as team captain and representing the North Stars in the NHL All Star Game in 1969.

Vasko, one of the earliest NHLers of Slovak descent, was born December 11th 1935, in Duparquet, Quebec. In 786 regular season NHL games he scored 34 goals and 166 assists for 200 points. He added 719 PIMs. In 72 playoff games he scored 2 goals and 9 points with 73 penalty minutes.


Anonymous,  5:04 PM  

Mooose you have always been my hero as a kid growing up in Chicago and playing hocky your number was on my back

Alan Vrana

Plano, Texas now

Anonymous,  7:52 AM  

Mr Vasko,
You gave me your game used stick after a game in which your North Stars played the Penguins. I was about 12 years old then (some 40 + years ago). You have always been my favorite player of all time since then. Thank you and rest in peace sir.
Bill Evans
Pittsburgh Pa

Anonymous,  4:43 PM  

Mr. Vasko was my hockey coach in bantams back in the 70s, playing at the Willow Ice Chalet. I wasn't very good; however, I still remember an occasion where my parents could not drive me to a game, and coach Vasko called our house offering to pick me up and drive me there because in his words, "I was a crucial part of our team." He was a gentle-man in more ways then one, who I will always fondly remember.

Larry Poyer,  9:18 PM  

I was fortunate to see all of Vasko's years at the old stadium, his charges up the ice put us all on the front edge of our seats hoping he would score.

When I heard of Elmer's passing, I was living in River Grove, a short drive over to the funeral home in Berkeley.

My wife spotted me leaving the house with my red Hawk jersey on, she thought I was crazy.

At the funeral home, I would say half the mourners had their jerseys on. Elmer was laid out in a business suit, with his jersey next to the casket, but if he could have, I'm sure he would have changed into that #4 to feel like he was part of the crowd.

Thanks Moose, for all the great Hawk memories, rest in peace. . . . GrampsLar Poyer

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP