While growing up in Lachine, young Phil Goyette would skate on the backyard rink and rehearse every move made by his playmaking idols, Elmer Lach and Teeder Kennedy. It was no accident then that this style of play became Goyette's trademark as he climbed the ranks of professional hockey.
Some say that he had eyes in the back of his head because of his great peripheral vision and smooth passing skills. He was fast becoming a well-balanced craftsman who could play effectively at both ends of the ice. In his late teens, Goyette was faced with a choice between pursuing higher education or aiming for the pros. In the end, he decided to give hockey a chance for three years. If it didn't work out, he'd still have time to hit the books en route to an alternative career.
Meanwhile, he jumped into the junior hockey fray with Montreal of the QJHL in 1950. Over the four seasons that followed, he developed into a very solid package of hockey skills. Goyette finally got his break with the Canadiens late in the 1956-57 season. He settled in with the club in time to savour the second of five-straight Stanley Cup victories?a league record that still stands.
As a Habs regular, he performed third-line duty where he put up respectable numbers until injuries slowed him down in 1962-63. It was at that time that the Canadiens shipped him to the New York Rangers along with Don Marshall and Jacques Plante for Gump Worsley. Goyette found the trade difficult to swallow. He'd always been a fiercely dedicated Hab. Nonetheless, he donned his Rangers' sweater and continued his role as a slick playmaker who was well versed in all facets of his game. During his six campaigns with the Blueshirts, he put up even better numbers than when he was with the Canadiens.
In 1969, however, the St. Louis Blues were looking to beef up their power play and all around attack. They sent Moose Dupont to New York in order to pry Goyette free to fulfill their need. In St. Louis, he had a career season, putting up 78 points in 72 regular season games plus 14 more points during the playoffs. To top off his success, he was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy as the league's most gentlemanly player.
In spite of his great campaign with the Blues, he was left unprotected in the Expansion Draft of 1970. The Buffalo Sabres were quick to secure his rights. Goyette had a strong initial season, but began to falter in his second year. He was traded back to the Rangers in 1972 where he played a handful of games before hanging up his blades for good.
Shortly after his retirement, he signed as head coach of the New York Islanders. His tenure with the club was short, however. The team's roster was raided by the WHA, leaving Goyette with a depleted lineup that quickly tumbled to the bottom of the league's standings. Needless to say, he was fired in short order.