In the eyes of many hockey fans, Terry Sawchuk is readily identified as being either a Detroit Red Wing or a Toronto Maple Leaf. Also, many are aware of his expansion year in Los Angeles, and his final season in the NHL with the New York Rangers in 1969-70.
What many don't know, was that Sawchuk's stay in Detroit was briefly interrupted with a trade to the Boston Bruins. The transaction took place on June 3, 1955. The Wings GM, Jack Adams, decided to go with Glenn Hall between the pipes. Terry joined the Bruins for the 1955-56 season and played in 68 games posting a 2.60 average.
In the following season, the relationship between Sawchuk and Bruins management turned sour. On January 16, 1957 the netminder left the club due to nervous exhaustion. Milt Schmidt, the Boston General Manager, called up Norm Deflice as a replacement. Most of Boston, including management, fans and media were of the opinion their All-Star had quit on them. The club suspended Sawchuk and purchased the rights of Don Simmons from the Springfield Indians.
In the off season, Schmidt dealt Sawchuk back to Detroit for Johnny Bucyk and cash. Johnny "Chief" Bucyk would eventually be named team captain and hoist the Stanley Cup on 2 occasions for the Bruins in the 1970's.
On November 1, 1959 Terry Sawchuk made his first appearance at Boston Garden since leaving the franchise. As is usually the case in matters of this nature, all parties involved played a prominent role in the November 1st game. The Bruins defeated Detroit 4-0 with Bucyk assisting on 2 goals, and Simmons gaining the shutout. Sawchuk had a busy night in goal making 48 saves.