|Birth Day:||April 3, 1945|
|Birth Place:||Montreal, Canada|
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He idolized Jacques Plant and would watch Plant's sister's apartment in hopes of seeing his hero.
Parent played for the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA Junior A league. A two-time winner of the Dave Pinkney trophy (lowest goals against average or GAA), he wrapped up his junior career on the team that won the OHA championship and the Memorial Cup championship in 1965.
Parent is the youngest of seven siblings. He grew up in Rosemont, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. Parent's hero as a young boy was Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante, whose sister lived in Parent's neighborhood. Many times Parent watched out for Plante's visits to his sister and her family. Plante later became his teammate and mentor in 1971 for the Toronto Maple Leafs, when Plante was 43.
Looking for help up front to improve the club's offence, Philadelphia dealt Parent and a second-round pick in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft (Rick Kehoe) to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Bruce Gamble and a first-round selection (Pierre Plante) in the same draft in a three-way transaction that also involved Boston on January 31, 1971. The Flyers acquired Rick MacLeish and Danny Schock from the Bruins who received Mike Walton from the Maple Leafs. The trade turned out to be a positive turn for Parent. In Toronto, Parent joined his boyhood hero, Jacques Plante, who at 42 was having an all-star season. Under Plante's tutelage, Parent became a more consistent and technically proficient goalie. Parent played well for the Leafs through the 1971–72 season, gaining valuable regular season and playoff experience.
On February 17, 1979, Parent suffered a career-ending eye injury in a game against the New York Rangers. An errant stick entered the right eye hole of his mask, causing permanent damage to his vision. After hospitalization, including the complete loss of sight for two weeks, Parent recovered and eventually regained sight, although not at the level required to resume his playing career. He retired at age 34, an age considered to be "still in athletic prime" for goaltenders. This incident, as well as the ending of Gerry Desjardins' career when a puck struck his eye in 1977, led many NHL goalies to switch from fibreglass facemasks toward the cage and helmet style, and resulted in many amateur and junior leagues banning fibreglass masks altogether, mandating the helmet/cage combo.
After Parent's retirement the Flyers retired his jersey number (1) in his honor on October 11, 1979. He spent several years in the Flyers organization as goaltending coach, mentoring future Vezina-winning goalies Ron Hextall and the late Pelle Lindbergh, the latter of whom idolized Parent as a youngster in his native Sweden. Today, he is employed by the Flyers as Ambassador of Hockey. He can be seen at Flyers home games on the concourse.
Parent was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. In 1998, he was ranked number 63 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
The next two seasons were the greatest of his career and would see Parent record a combined 30 regular and post-season shutout victories. Hockey scribes have often cited Parent's play between 1973 and 1975 as some of the best ever by a goaltender. Playing 73 games in a 78-game schedule, Parent sparkled in leading the league with a 1.89 GAA, a .933 Save Percentage and 12 shutouts. He began the 1973–74 season with two shutouts besting Favell 2–0 in the season opener against Toronto in Philadelphia. He shared the Vezina Trophy with Chicago's Tony Esposito (as Philadelphia and Chicago tied as the teams allowing the fewest goals against in the regular season), was named the first-team all-star goaltender and finished second in the voting for the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player (since 1963 the only goaltenders to win the Hart Trophy were Dominik Hašek in both 1996–97 and 1997–98, Jose Theodore in 2002, and Carey Price in 2015) as the Flyers skated to a first-place finish in the West Division. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) and the Flyers won the first of consecutive Stanley Cup Championships against the Boston Bruins. In the 6th and deciding game of the finals, Parent stopped a savage slapshot blast from Ken Hodge with a classic kick save move with less than 3 minutes to play on what turned out to be the Bruins' 30th and last shot. The spectacular save preserved the shutout and the championship deciding win and became an often used highlight during advertising for NBC's coverage of the NHL the next season. The following year, he again posted 12 shutouts while having 2.03 GAA and a .918 Save Percentage. He won another Vezina Trophy, another first-team all-star selection and a second Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup while finishing fourth in the Hart Trophy voting. His 1975 playoff performance was even more impressive than the previous year as he had 4 shutouts (versus 2 the previous year) with a 1.89 GAA (versus 2.02). In both championship playoff runs, Parent shut out the opposition in the deciding sixth game of the Stanley Cup Finals defeating the Boston Bruins 1–0 in 1974 and the Buffalo Sabres 2–0 in 1975. "Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent" became a catch-phrase and bumper sticker in Philadelphia in those years.
In a 2007 interview with Philadelphia Magazine, Parent sheepishly admitted he was watching the clock tick off the final seconds of the deciding game six against Boston in the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals and that he was not paying attention to play when Bobby Orr sent a desperation length of the ice shot toward the Flyers' goaltender. The puck went wide of the net with just 4 seconds to play. "If his shot is on net, it's a goal" Parent was quoted in the interview. The game was over seconds later and the Flyers had won their first of consecutive championships.
On December 7, 2011, Parent announced via Twitter that he would be playing in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game, to be held on December 31, 2011. Parent started in goal for the Flyers, playing five minutes and letting in no goals on five shots including a breakaway by New York Rangers legend Ron Duguay. He was later named the first star of the game.
Currently, Bernie Parent is 77 years, 1 months and 13 days old. Bernie Parent will celebrate 78th birthday on a Monday 3rd of April 2023.
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