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Nov. 20, 1963 (Rangers vs. Boston Bruins)
FINAL GAME WITH RANGERS
April 11, 1975 (Rangers vs. New York Islanders) (playoffs)
MAJOR NHL AWARDS/ACHIEVEMENTS WITH RANGERS
Vezina Trophy — 1970-71 (co-winner with Ed Giacomin)
NHL All-Star Game — 1971, 1972, 1973
RANGERS NO. 1 GOALTENDER (played majority of games)
RANGERS ORGANIZATION STATISTICS
Minor-league games: 499
Minor-league teams: Vancouver (WHL) 1962-63, 1964-1966; Baltimore (AHL) 1963-64, 1966-67; Buffalo (AHL) 1967-1970
Uniform Numbers: 1, 30
Retired from NHL: 1977
Gilles Villemure spent a long time waiting to become a full-time Rangers goaltender, but once he became Ed Giacomin`s regular backup in 1970, Villemure began a five-season run that made him one of the league`s elite netminders.
Although he played for the Rangers` junior affiliate in Guelph, Ontario, as a 19-year-old, Villemure did not become property of the organization until he turned pro in 1962. Over the next eight seasons, he established himself as the top goaltender in the Blueshirts` farm system, earning All-Star honors with Vancouver of the WHL, and Baltimore and Buffalo of the AHL. During this period, he appeared in 13 games with the Rangers, filling in for others who were injured.
A two-time MVP of the American Hockey League with Buffalo in 1968-69 and 1969-70, Villemure was clearly ready for the NHL in 1970. He made the most of his opportunity, playing 34 games and sharing the Vezina Trophy with Giacomin as the league`s stingiest netminding tandem.
Villemure continued in his backup role over the next three years, but by 1974-75, he had become the No. 1 goalie, playing 45 of the team`s 80 games. He also started the last two playoff games, which would prove to be his final appearances with tthe Rangers. Although he opened the 1975-75 season in New York, he was soon traded to Chicago, where he completed his NHL career.
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