by Ron Spence
Name the only goalie, to ever play against Georges Vezina, and later win the Vezina Trophy.
Also – a hint – he is one of the few goalies to play for the Habs and never lose a game.
Roy “Shrimp” Worters
Worters finished the 1930-31 season with a 1.61 goals-against average, and was awarded the Vezina Trophy.
He played on a terrible team – the Americans – who didn’t even make the playoffs (They finished with an 18-16-10 total.) that season.
The Amerks scored only 76 goals in 44 games (The league’s average was 105.), which was tied with the pathetic Philadelphia Quakers, who won only four contests.
Worters held his rivals to only 74 goals, and had the NHL’s most ties – 10.
And, while literally standing on his head, he wasn’t even selected to the first or second All-Star teams.
Worter’s second award that season was an $8,500 per year contract, very high for a goalie at that time.
Worters had played against Georges Vezina on November 28, 1925, his first season in the NHL. He was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ goalie, and the game took place in the old Mt. Royal Arena, in Montreal.
The first period went scoreless, and Vezina left the ice bleeding from the mouth. He collapsed in the dressing room, returned for the second period, but then collapsed again. He left the game, never having missed a contest in his fifteen years in the Big Tent.
Only then did his family and friends find out that he was dying of tuberculosis.
(The Habs’ backup, Frenchy Lacroix, finished the last two periods, and the Pirates won the game 1-0.)
Worters never lost a game when he was between the pipes for the Habs.
He made one appearance, on February 27, 1930 – on loan from the New York Americans, replacing an injured George Hainsworth. The Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2.
But, Worters wasn’t the only goalie to have this distinction. Three other net minders played one game for the Habs, and won. Hal Murphy, Len Broderick, and Andre Binette were in the Montreal nets during the mid-fifties.
Roy Worters still holds – or shares – a number of NHL records.
On December 26, 1926, the Pirates and New York Americans set an NHL record, by combining for 141 shots. The Americans won the game 3-1 with their 73 shots, versus Pittsburgh’s 68. Worters was still with the Penguins at that time, and Jake Forbes was the Americans’ goalie.
Roy Worters was the first goalie to win the Hart Trophy, which he did after the 1928-29 season, when he was with the Americans.
Also, he probably holds another record, which isn’t recognized in this age of political correctness.
At 5’3” he was probably the shortest goalie in NHL history.
But, short or not Worters could look after himself.
He grew up in an area called Cottingham Square, which was described as “one of Toronto’s higher class slums”
A contemporary said: “every kid … played lacrosse, rugby and hockey, and you had to fight or move.”
Worters didn’t move until he traveled to Porcupine to play for the Gold Miners in the rough and tough old Gold Belt Hockey League. He was suspended for the complete 1921-22 season, for high-sticking one, or two, of the Iroquois Falls’ players, during a March 1921 playoff game.
If you ran Roy, no matter how big you were, you got his stick.
And, Roy Worters stayed tough until the very end. During the 1936-37 season – his last – he played much of the year with a painful hernia, but he still wouldn’t quit.
Worters had learned from the best. He wasn’t bleeding from the mouth, so he stayed in the nets.