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Milt Schmidt (1918 - 2017)

Getty Images / NHLI / Photo by Steve Babineau

Milt Schmidt (1918 - 2017)

Milt Schmidt, a Hockey Hall of Famer who played for the Boston Bruins, died Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 98.

Schmidt was the oldest living former NHL player. Schmidt had been living in an assistant living facility in Westwood, Massachusetts.

"It would be a challenge to find anyone who took greater pride in being a Boston Bruin than Milt Schmidt did - be it as a player, an executive or an ambassador over the 80-plus years he served the franchise, the city of Boston and the National Hockey League," Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Milt was a landmark presence in Boston's sports landscape. The NHL family cherishes his contribution to our history."

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Schmidt was born March 5, 1918, in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He began his pro hockey career with the Providence Reds of the AHL, in 1936-37. He was called up quickly to the Boston Bruins in the NHL. He played with the Bruins for his entire career until he retired in 1955 at age 36.

Schmidt had just won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 1941 when he enlisted in the Canadian Royal Air Force after the invasion of Pearl Harbor. He missed three seasons during World War II.

Schmidt was part of the Bruin’s famous Kraut Line whose other members were his boyhood friends Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer. The three shared German ancestry, which inspired the nickname. They finished 1-2-3 in scoring in the NHL in 1940, with Schmidt coming in first.

Schmidt also won a Stanley Cup with the team in 1939. He won the 1951 Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's MVP after totaling 61 points in 62 games. He finished his career with 229 goals, 346 assists, and 466 penalty minutes.

After his playing career, Schmidt coached the Bruins and led them to the Stanley Cup finals in 1957 and 1958. He later became the Bruins' general manager. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

Schmidt was honored along with legendary Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr at the Boston Garden at the start of this NHL season. Before the game, the two legends playfully bantered about who was the franchise’s biggest star.

"I would go with you, Milty, being the greatest Bruin ever," Orr said.

"He's got to say that because I'm sitting right beside him," Schmidt replied.

"He wasn't very big, but his heart was this big on the ice," Orr said, spreading his hands wide. "And that's how he played. He was a great player and he's a wonderful individual. He's a great man and a great friend to all of us."

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