Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Ed Van Impe
As a hockey player, Ed Van Impe was not blessed with blazing speed, flashy puck-handling skills or an offensive touch from the point. But buried deep within his frame was a copious supply of toughness, determination, and the intelligence to play within his abilities. Those abilities remained consistently anchored to his own zone where he held court as one of the ultimate defensive defensemen of his day.

Van Impe played his junior hockey with the Saskatoon Quakers of the SJHL from 1956 to 1961. Afterwards, he turned pro with the Calgary Stampeders for a season before launching a lengthy stay with the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. During his five campaigns in Buffalo, the Blackhawk prospect seemed to have little hope of cracking Chicago's well-stocked defensive corps. As a minor-leaguer, Van Impe tended to frequent the penalty box as often as the worst offenders of the league. It is possible that the Blackhawks feared that his unruly play might have undermined the club's collective goals.

In 1966-67, however, Van Impe finally got his break in the Windy City. At age 25, the rookie rearguard, who considered himself a slow developer, had matured sufficiently well, to hold down a sixth and seventh defensive spot. He also picked up his usual 100-plus penalty minutes per season.

But when league expansion arrived the following year, Van Impe was left unprotected. Flyers' GM Bud Poile saw a solid prospect in Van Impe and thus picked him off from the Hawks' roster.

His arrival in the City of Brotherly Love was perfect timing for the sturdy rearguard to ply his rugged trade. For the more than eight seasons that followed, he blossomed into one of the Flyers' most consistent defensive blueliners. He excelled at clearing his crease and was a fearless shot-blocker. In a game against the Seals one night, Van Impe caught a puck right in the mouth off the stick of Wayne Muloin. Six of his teeth were shaved off at the gum line, 35 stitches were required to close up his lips and 15 more to tie up his tongue. But being tough as an old hockey glove, he still managed to return for the final eight minutes of the game.

In 1974 and 1975, Van Impe, in the company of his fellow "Broad Street Bullies," savoured two Stanley Cup victories that represented the peak of his career. Late in the following campaign, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he lasted for only 22 games, retiring in 1976-77.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1955-56 Riversdale Raiders SAHA
1956-57 Riversdale Raiders SAHA
1956-57 Saskatoon Quakers SJHL 2 0 0 0 0
1957-58 Saskatoon Quakers SJHL 49 2 2 4 58
1958-59 Saskatoon Quakers SJHL 48 0 23 23 150 5 0 2 2 24
1959-60 Saskatoon Quakers SJHL 58 11 42 53 136 7 1 2 3 4
1959-60 Saskatoon Quakers Al-Cup 6 1 0 1 6
1960-61 Calgary Stampeders WHL 66 4 15 19 123 5 0 2 2 16
1961-62 Buffalo Bisons AHL 70 0 19 19 172 11 0 1 1 25
1962-63 Buffalo Bisons AHL 65 3 12 15 196 13 1 4 5 34
1963-64 Buffalo Bisons AHL 70 4 22 26 193
1964-65 Buffalo Bisons AHL 72 5 6 11 197 9 0 0 0 26
1965-66 Buffalo Bisons AHL 70 9 28 37 153
1966-67 Chicago Black Hawks NHL 61 8 11 19 111 6 0 0 0 8
1967-68 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 67 4 13 17 141 -5 7 0 4 4 11
1968-69 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 68 7 12 19 112 -13 1 0 0 0 17
1969-70 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 65 0 10 10 117 -1
1970-71 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 77 0 11 11 80 -13 4 0 1 1 8
1971-72 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 73 4 9 13 78 -8
1972-73 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 72 1 11 12 76 +22 11 0 0 0 16
1973-74 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 77 2 16 18 119 +31 17 1 2 3 41
1974-75 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 78 1 17 18 109 +39 17 0 4 4 28
1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 40 0 8 8 60 +16
1975-76 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 12 0 5 5 16 +4 3 0 1 1 2
1976-77 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 10 0 3 3 6 -2
NHL Totals 700 27 126 153 1025 66 1 12 13 131


Played in NHL All-Star Game (1969, 1974, 1975) Claimed by Philadelphia from Chicago in Expansion Draft, June 6, 1967. Traded to Pittsburgh by Philadelphia with Bobby Taylor for Gary Inness and cash, March 9, 1976.