Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Lou Fontinato
Lou Fontinato was a rugged defenceman who played 535 NHL games with the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens in the 1950s and '60s. Considering his physical style, he was a durable player who missed relatively few games until, ironically, suffering a career-ending injury late in the 1962-63 season.

The native of Guelph, Ontario played two years with the local Biltmore Mad Hatters of the OHA where formed a formidable tandem with Harry Howell. In 1952 the squad hammered the Regina Pats to win the Memorial Cup. During his amateur days, Fontinato's temper became legendary and he became known as "Leapin' Louie" as a result of his elaborate protests when he was called for a penalty. In addition to Fontinato and Howell, the Guelph team boasted such future stars as Andy Bathgate and Dean Prentice. After junior Fontinato played most of his first three pro seasons with the WHL's Vancouver Canucks and Saskatoon Quakers. He did play 27 games for the Rangers in 1954-55 but did not join the NHL for good until the following season.

During his first full year in the NHL, "Leapin' Louie" made his presence felt and led the league with 202 penalty minutes. He spent five more years in New York where he roughed up opposing forwards and jumped into the rush on occasion. On June 13, 1961 he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in a much-publicized deal for Doug Harvey.

Fontinato spent two years with the Habs before suffering a career-ending neck injury in a game against his old club on March 9, 1963. He'd originally decided to play through to the end of the 1963-64 season before fate intervened. The courageous veteran was paralysed for a month after the accident and did not regain feeling in his arms of four months.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1949-50 Guelph Biltmores ON-Jr.B
1950-51 Guelph Biltmores OHA-Jr. 45 3 11 14 93 5 0 0 0 0
1951-52 Guelph Biltmores OHA-Jr. 48 6 15 21 152 11 0 1 1 37
1951-52 Guelph Biltmores M-Cup 12 1 3 4 50
1952-53 Vancouver Canucks WHL 65 3 18 21 169 9 1 3 4 12
1953-54 Vancouver<196>Saskatoon WHL 63 4 14 18 147 6 0 1 1 25
1954-55 New York Rangers NHL 27 2 2 4 60
1954-55 Saskatoon Quakers WHL 35 4 6 10 55
1955-56 New York Rangers NHL 70 3 15 18 202 4 0 0 0 6
1956-57 New York Rangers NHL 70 3 12 15 139 5 0 0 0 7
1957-58 New York Rangers NHL 70 3 8 11 152 6 0 1 1 6
1958-59 New York Rangers NHL 64 7 6 13 149
1959-60 New York Rangers NHL 64 2 11 13 137
1960-61 New York Rangers NHL 53 2 3 5 100
1961-62 Montreal Canadiens NHL 54 2 13 15 167 6 0 1 1 23
1962-63 Montreal Canadiens NHL 63 2 8 10 141
NHL Totals 535 26 78 104 1247 21 0 2 2 42


Traded to Montreal by NY Rangers for Doug Harvey, June 13, 1961.
Suffered career-ending neck injury in game vs. NY Rangers, March 9, 1963.