THE MARCEL PRONOVOST FILE:
Born: June 15, 1930
NHL games played: 1,206 (983 with Red Wings)
1954-55 stats: 70 GP; G: 9; A: 25; PIM: 90
CAREER: GP: 1206; G: 88; A: 257; PIM: 851
To play with the Red Wings in the early-to-mid 1950s meant that you were going to add to your collection of jewelry, especially in the ring department.
Marcel Pronovost was one of those players.
Pronovost, a big, rugged defenseman from Quebec, earned four Stanley Cup rings with the Red Wings, and he did it in an amazingly consistent way.
Pronovost, wearing no. 3, was good for about half a dozen goals a year, a couple handfuls of assists and hundreds of hits. He was a stocky fellow, playing at 5’11” and about 180 pounds.
Pronovost’s style was well-respected throughout the NHL, and that was validated by his 11 All-Star game appearances and five times finishing in the top five in Norris Trophy voting. Red Wings coach/GM Jack Adams once praised Pronovost, who had been compared to the legendary Eddie Shore, by saying that a player like Pronovost only “comes around once every 20 years.”
Perhaps Pronovost’s legendary strength and stamina was a bi-product of his first true love, cross country skiing. But by the time adolescence hit, Pronovost had ditched the skis for skates. It was a smart move.
He wasn’t the only Pronovost who had a thing for hockey. Younger brothers Claude (goalie) and Jean (forward) also made it to the NHL, with the latter playing in nearly 1,000 games in the league. But maybe that was just the law of averages, because Marcel was one of 12 children.
There was one more Cup for Marcel to win in 1967, as a 36-year-old with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He retired in 1970 and immediately went into coaching. In 1977-78, Pronovost coached the Buffalo Sabres to a 44-17-19 record but was dismissed early the next season. For a brief time (1979-80), Pronovost was an associate coach for the Red Wings under Bobby Kromm and Ted Lindsay.
In his later years, Pronovost turned to scouting and in that role with the New Jersey Devils, he acquired more jewelry—three Cup rings. The 53 years that passed between Pronovost’s first Cup and his last is an NHL record.
Pronovost was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.
NEXT WEEK: Metro Prystai, one of the greatest role players in Red Wings history.