Joseph Albert Pierre Paul Pilote - Born December 11, 1931 in Kenogami, Quebec - Died September 10, 2017 in Barrie, Ontario was a Canadian Indigenous (Innu) ice Hockey defenceman.
Pilote learned to skate as a child wearing his mothers skates on the local church & school rink. and between the ages 14 and 17 he never skated at all because the local rink roof in Fort Erie collapsed during a snowstorm and he had nowhere to go. Pilote did play baseball during this time, and with his keen interest of the game, turned into a excellent pitcher.
Pilote would buy himself his first pair of Hockey skates at Canadian Tire, and go public skating at every opportunity. Now at the age of 17, Pilote had the opportunity to play with his workmates, who were mostly in their 30s and 40s in the local Industrial League. His first team was called the Hurst Butchers. Pilote had decided to learn to play like Edgar Laprade of the New York Rangers, after reading a article about him in a Hockey magazine.
Pilote played the first season as a forward, but switched to defence the next year after learning the local junior B Hockey team only needed defencemen. Pilote played quite well on defence, and soon the local Junior B Cataracts were interested in him. In only his second year of Hockey, Pilote was now playing for the Niagara Falls Cataracts.
During the summer of 1950, Pilote had been contacted by 2 Junior A teams, and decided to try out for the St. Catharines Teepees, after their General Manager Rudy Pilous made a home visit to talk with the Pilote family about his Hockey team.
Pilote not only attended the Teepees training camp, but made the team with his hard hitting defensive style of game. During his first year of Junior A, Pilote mastered what he called the Barilko Bump (hip check). The Teepees made it to the second round in the playoffs that season.
Pilote had a successful second year with the Teepees, and even got called up to the Buffalo Bisons for a couple of games in late December. The Teepees went all the way to the OHA final (J. Ross Robertson Cup) that year.
Pilote would sign with the AHL Buffalo Bisons the next season, and spend the next 4 seasons there, including a 20 game stint with the Chicago Black Hawks in his final year with the Bisons, making his NHL debut on January 25, 1956 vs Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens in a 3-1 Toronto win.
Pilote scored his 1st NHL goal vs Gilles Mayer of the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 4, 1956 at 5:00 of the 1st period at Maple Leaf Gardens in a 4-2 Chicago win.
Pilote would make the Chicago Black Hawks team full-time in the 1956-57 season, and never looked back. Pilote played a total of 821 games for the Black Hawks, scoring 77 goals, 400 assists and 1, 205 minutes in penalties. In the playoffs, Pilote scored 8 goals, 52 assists and 98 penaly minutes in 82 games for the Black Hawks.
Pilote was on the first or second all-star team every year from 1960 to 1967, and played in eight consecutive All-Star games during that time. During his playing career, he was respected as an iron man playing 376 consecutive games. Wearing his familiar number 3, Pilote played his best Hockey teamed with Elmer 'Moose' Vasko on the Chicago blue line. Together they formed one of the great all-time defence pairings.
After the Black Hawks captured the Stanley Cup in the spring of 1961, Pilote was made captain in October 1961 on a team that also featured Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.
Pilote won the Norris Trophy, as the NHL's best defencemen for three successive years, 1963 to 1965, and finished as one of Chicago's leading scorers from the blue line.
Pilote helped the Chicago Black Hawks win their 1st Prince of Wales Trophy in 1967, as NHL regular season champions.
In 1968 the Black Hawks traded their aging hero to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Jim Pappin, but Pilote played just one season with the Maple Leafs before retiring.
Pierre Pilote was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.
In 2011, Pilote was inducted into the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2005, in a series of stamps portraying great Hockey stars, Canada Post honoured Pilote.
On July 18, 2008, the Black Hawks announced that the #3 jersey worn by Pilote and Keith Magnuson would be retired in a joint ceremony. The ceremony was held on November 12, 2008, before the Black Hawks faced off against the Boston Bruins in an Original Six matchup at the United Center.
In January 2012, Pilote travelled to his home region, where he unveiled a statue in his honour in the Jonquiere Sports Palace. Also in 2012, he was made an Honorary Ambassador to the Penetanguishene Sports Hall of Fame.