Charles Edward "Charlie" Hodge - Born July 28, 1933 in Lachine, Quebec – Died April 16, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia was a Canadian ice Hockey goaltender.
Growing up as a small boy in Lachine, Hodge loved the game of Hockey, but due to his small size, his father convinced him to become a goaltender, and helped him to develop by shooting tennis balls at him in the basement of their home when he was young.
Hodge became a standup goalie, and caught the attention of the Montreal Canadiens' scouts as a youth. Hodge began his apprenticeship with the Junior Canadiens in 1949-50, and was a backup goalie on the Memorial Cup championship team in 1950. In 1951-52, he became the undisputed starter on the junior Canadiens and turned in another league low goals-against average, this time a minuscule 2.22 mark. The following season, Hodge won 35 of his 44 starts and led the Quebec junior league with five shutouts.
Hodge turned pro in 1953-54 with the Cincinnati Mohawks of the International Hockey League / IHL. Hodge's lone season in southern Ohio proved spectacular, with a league-high 10 shutouts and a 2.34 goals-against average. His goaltending was an integral part of the team's regular-season and the 1954 Turner Cup championship. He also played for the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL (3 games) that year.
When Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante was injured in 1954-55, Hodge was called up and did well in the 14 games as his replacement, and was even tried in the playoffs, but Plante was the Canadiens goalie, so hodge was sent back to the minors.
While waiting patiently for a chance to play in the NHL on a full time basis, Hodge's minor pro tour took him through the Quebec senior league, the Western Hockey League, the American Hockey League and the Eastern Professional Hockey League. He proved to be a workhorse and a success wherever he strapped on his pads. Four times he was placed on either the First or Second All-Star Teams of the league in which he played.
Plante was again out of action in 1957-58, and Hodge was again sharp in 12 games for the Habs. Hodge would accompany team but not play in the playoffs, but still got his name on the Stanley Cup. It was the first of 4 engravings for Hodge.
When Plante was stricken with a case of boils late in 1958-59, Claude Pronovost and Claude Cyr were not the answer and Hodge was called up from the Montreal Royals to do the goaltending.
In 1959-60 Hodge played in exactly 1 game with the Canadiens all year, but that was enough to get his name on the Stanley Cup a second time. Rules for minimum number of games played were not in existence back then.
In 1960-61 Plante was injured again and Hodge took over in goal. He played so well that some writers suggested that Plante may have trouble displacing him. The Habs finished first that year and Hodge made a substantial contribution. In 30 games he was 18-8-4 with 4 shutouts and 2.47 GAA in his first real stint in the NHL.
Early in 1963-64, he was starting his third consecutive season with the AHL's Quebec Aces when the tide finally turned in his favor. Hodge was called in to replace injured Gump Worsley as the Canadiens' first-string netminder. He stepped in admirably by registering 33 wins and an NHL best eight shutouts. His stellar work was recognized at the conclusion of the season when he was named the winner of the Vezina Trophy and selected to the NHL Second All-Star Team.
Despite being a part-time veteran of the NHL, many wondered if Hodge's success in 1963-64 was a fluke. These reservations proved inaccurate as the plucky netminder put up a 26-16-10 mark in 1964-65, but lost his starting job to Worsley who shined in the Stanley Cup playoffs as Montreal won their first Stanley Cup since 1960.
Hodge and Worsley worked superbly together in 1965-66. The shining duo led Montreal to a repeat Stanley Cup performance and shared the Vezina Trophy after recording the stingiest goals-against mark in the NHL. But the very next year things began to unravel for Hodge. He appeared in 37 regular-season games but was the odd man out after young phenomenon Rogie Vachon was called up late in the schedule and played superbly.
Left unprotected by Montreal, Hodge was claimed by the Oakland Seals in the 1967 Expansion Draft. In a matter of months, the veteran backstopper went from an elite defensive club to an inexperienced outfit that guaranteed his exposure to an enormous number of shots. Hodge fought on bravely in 1967-68 with three shutouts, 13 ties and 13 wins in 58 games while sharing the goaltending chores with youngster Gary Smith.
The following two years Hodge would split between Oakland and the WHL Vancouver Canucks. Hodge would fall in love with the city of Vancouver, so it was a dream come true when the NHL expanded in 1970-71 to include the Vancouver Canucks. Hodge was drafted by the Canucks. He had a good year with a weak club as he won 15 games, lost 13 and tied 5.
Hodge retired the next season after being unable to come to terms with Canucks General Manager Bud Poile.
Hodge sold real estate for a decade until Winnipeg Jets GM John Ferguson recruited him for the team's scout in Western Canada.
Hodge thereafter was an amateur scout for the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning after two decades with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He received Stanley Cup rings with Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992. He primarily scouted the Vancouver Giants and Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League and the Lower Mainland clubs in the British Columbia Hockey League.
Awards and Achievements
- Turner Cup Championship in 1954.
- Stanley Cup Championship as a goaltender in 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966 with Montreal.
- Stanley Cup Champion in 1991 and 1992 as Scout with Pittsburgh (named engraved in 1992).
- Vezina Trophy Winner in 1964 and in 1966 (shared with Gump Worsley).
- Played in 1964, 1965, and 1967 NHL All-Star Games.
- Selected to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1964.