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Chicky DeAngelis April 25, 1930 – March 18, 2010

Reader, goaltender and cartoonist of smallsaves.com Jay, asked if he could submit this tribute to a goalie he respected greatly who, sadly, passed away recently. His story was compelling – still tending the net at age 79 against 25 year olds – we should all be so lucky to enjoy our passion for goaltending for so long.

chicky Chicky DeAngelis was born April 25, 1930. He got the call to become a goalie at a very young age and when he passed, he had over 65 years of goaltending behind him.

Chicky was the starting net minder for East Boston High School, class of 1946. From there, he went to play in various men’s leagues around the Boston area. When not playing, he’d go watch the Bruins play, sitting behind Frankie Brimsek.

When not on the ice Chicky was a baker, working in his family business.

In the early 90’s Chick became the practice goalie for the Boston Bruins Alumni at Hockeytown, Saugus MA. There he would skate against all the past Bruins stars such as Gary Doak and Brad Park just to name a few.

Tragedy struck that group when Chicky fell forward and lay motionless in his crease. He had suffered a heart attack. Luckily, there was a state trooper playing, who administered CPR to him while the ambulance came. Chick had a quadruple bypass heart operation.

3 months later, he was back on the ice!

From there, he continued to skate with local pick-up groups, and played right until suffering a stroke eight months before his passing.

Jay’s tribute

To me and everyone he skated with, he was simply known as Chicky. A goaltender from the long ago. Maskless. Fearless. And that was just the first 20 years.

Many goaltenders can proudly (and rightfully so) claim that they have donned the pads and stood guard for this amount of time. For Chicky, that was just the beginning. Add another 40 plus years to that, and you’ll get a pretty good idea at how long he guarded the net – donning the Plante three-quarter mask that he used that up until the 90’s. While wearing the now current combo mask right up until 2009, you could sense that he wanted to take it off, and go back to tending the way he did as a youngster.

Chicky April 25, 1930 ~ March 18, 2010

Sometimes the world gets very quiet. Too quiet. Usually the silence comes out of nowhere….and when it does, it leaves a hush over all it encompasses. Funny how 79 years can be summed up in a blink of an eye. Although I haven’t been on this earth for that long, I certainly knew someone who did.

I could list all his accomplishments, stats, recollections of unbelievable saves that I’ve been privileged to have seen. Instead, I seem to be drawn to the story of a goaltending journey that was written in his face. Along with the scars that an unforgiving puck will leave on an unprotected profile, there were also wrinkles of smile marks. I’d like to think that they formed from all the years of flashing the secret grin all us goalies do when we’ve just robbed someone of a sure goal. The lines around his eyes from the twinkle knowing he had something up his sleeve when a shooter broke in all alone on him.

When I was young, and he began showing me how to ply my trade of goaltending, I’d sometimes go over to his house. What struck me was in most of his rooms he’d have a little cross, along with a photo of someone. I’d say, ‘you sure do have a lot of crosses’…he’d just say: ‘Ahhh‘ and shrug his famous stance that goalies eventually inherit from years of being hunched over, awaiting the next shot.

I never really understood why.

Sometimes the sands of an hourglass don’t so much sift through the tiny opening as they explode the glass. A lifetime of memories all within a blink of an eye.

And, so, to say goodbye to a lifelong friend doesn’t quite fit. He’s a part of me now and forever. Whenever I make a save, a part of him has just helped me. In a sense, he’s still there.

I pack my gear for another game and it finally dawns on me. I just have to stop and smile. ‘Ahhh, so that’s why’… I say to myself. I reach for my goalie stick, but do it carefully so as not to disturb a small cross…..and the picture of Chicky beside it.

About The Author

David Hutchison

David is one of the founders of InGoal Magazine which he began in 2009. Of course he finds time for some goaltending of his own as well, and despite his age, clings desperately to the idea that some NHL team will call him to play for them - though in his mid-forties (OK, late 40s) it'll likely be for a practice when everyone else on their depth chart has the flu and the shooter tutor has gone in for repairs.

5 Comments

  1. Robert Stubblebine

    I had the honor of living right across the street from Chicky these last four years. If he wasn’t in the net he’d be on his front step with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, or opera blaring out into the neighborhood from his open windows. That was the summertime of course. In the winter I’d usually shovel his walk or dig out his car after a big snowstorm. The irony wasn’t lost on me that after I’d dig out his car Chicky would then come out, arms loaded up with his goalie equipment, and drive off to the rink. Once he asked why I did these things, since obviously he could do it for himself. He was right of course, and I told that him it was neighborly and that if I wanted to stand a chance of doing what he does in my seventh decade I need all the excercise I can get. Chick would shrug, “Ahhhh.’ I miss him.

  2. Rob

    A touching tribute – sleep well Chick, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  3. Chris

    That was a nice story… I hope I have another 50 years of goaltending ahead of me.

    Chris (de Angelis)

  4. Josh Smallidge

    Great story and very well written. Sounds like one great guy.

  5. Coach Bob

    Had the opportunity to play against Chicky in Nets when we did the alumni game at East Boston, When I became the head coach at Eastie Chicky would show up to some games. He loved playing hockey and being on the ice. He is missed by all of us.