Bob Perreault

Bob Perreault, known as Miche to his friends, was always very popular with his teammates wherever he played. Former Boston Bruins coach Phil Watson once said "Perreault is a good goalkeeper and a great man in the dressing room, he keeps everyone loose with his humor".

Although his NHL career consisted of just 31 games played, Perreault should be noted a very talented goalie. He played three seasons for the Trois-Rivieres Flambeaux (1948-51) before becoming a professional with the Providence Reds (AHL). During his pro career Perreault had the misfortune to get stuck behind goalies like Jaques Plante, Terry Sawchuk and Eddie Johnston.

He had one of the faster glove hands of that time, something that he developed while playing catcher on a baseball team. Toronto's coach at that time Punch Imlach said "There's no doubt that Perreault has one of the fastest hands in hockey today." Late in his career he used to wander out of his net a lot, something that he credited Jaques Plante for whom he at times was a backup for in Montreal.

Bob's NHL debut came In 1956 when he was called up from Shawinigan Falls of the Quebec league by Montreal as an emergency replacement for Jaques Plante. He had a spectacular NHL debut, blanking Chicago. At that time Perreault became the eighth NHL goalie to record a shutout in a NHL debut. He played in another five games that season for Montreal and finished with a respectable 2.00 GAA.

Three years later, an injury to Detroit's Terry Sawchuk prompted Bob's brief promotion (from Hershey) to the NHL once more. His first game for Detroit was televised nationally in the US, and once again the opponent was Chicago (3-2 win for the Wings). During those years he spent six seasons for the Hershey Bears, winning the Harry Holmes Memorial Award as AHL's leading goalie in 1958-59. He twice paced the AHL in shutouts. He also had brief stints with Rochester and Providence. He had previously collected the Vezina Memorial Trophy as the star netminder of the Quebec League in 1954-55. But the award that he cherished the most was the one that he got in 1963-64 while playing for the San Francisco Seals (WHL). He got a trophy from the rival team Los Angeles Blades as the most popular visiting player that season, proving Bob was not only popular with his teammates but with his opponents as well.

On June 6, 1962, Bob was drafted by Boston from Detroit in an intraleague draft. Bob had a good camp for Boston, and coach Phil Watson decided to let Perreault start in goal at the beginning of the 1962-63 season. On October 11, 1962 at Boston Garden, Perreault was to play in the game that he stated was the biggest thrill of his life.

It was against Montreal and Bob displayed some awesome goaltending in that game. With Boston up 2-0 early in the second period, Jean Beliveau skated in on Perreault but was robbed of the sure goal. Then, a moment later Henri Richard hurled a shot from point-blank range. He too, was robbed by Perreault. In the third period with Boston up 5-0, "Miche" made some spectacular saves on both Gilles Tremblay and Red Berenson. What made this so sweet for Bob was that he knew several of the Montreal players well, guys like Beliveau, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost and Bernie Geoffrion.

Perreault shared his goaltending duties with Ed Johnston later that season. But his glory days would be short lived. Bruins sold Bob to the San Francisco Seals in June 1963 for $25.000. Perreault immediately led San Francisco to two straight championships in the WHL.

His 22 games for Boston in 1962-63 proved to be his last hurrah in the big league. Bob became a fixture in the minor leagues,playing for the Rochester Americans (AHL) between 1965-69. He then played in the IHL for the Des Moines Oak Leafs between 1969-72. During these years Bob won another Hap Holmes Memorial Award 1968 (fewest goals against in the AHL) as well as the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1970 (fewest goals against in the IHL).

Bob's last "major league" appearance came in WHA's inagural season in 1972-73 when he was in goal for one game as a chubby 42-year old for the Los Angeles Sharks as an emergency "solution". Emergency or not, he won that game and only allowed two goals in the game. Bob finished his active hockey career in 1973-74 for the Greensboro Generals of the SHL (Southern Hockey League) where he played 16 games (4.01 GAA) as a 43-year old.

Had Perreault not become a professional goalie, he very well may have given his hands a try at boxing. As a teenager Bob used to box in Shawinigan Falls and Grandmere, Quebec between hockey seasons. He was known as "Kid Flamingo" because he used to wear pink boxing trunks. He had a total of 13 fights (winning 5) before leaving boxing behind him. It was his hockey coach for the Trois-Rivieres Flambeaux (QJHL) who insisted on that Bob should get off the ropes and into the rinks as he was afraid that Bob might injure his hands. The undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano used to train in Providence where Bob played hockey and they became pretty good friends.


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