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NHL tough guy with the Rangers and Canadians from 1954-63. One of the most penalized players in league history, Fontinato was most famous for having his face rearranged in a legendary fight with Gordie Howe.


Lou Fontinato

Defense -- shoots L
Born Jan 20 1932 -- Guelph, ONT
[84 yrs. ago]
Height 6.01 -- Weight 185 [185 cm/84 kg]

Lou Fontinato hockey statistics and profile at hockeydb.com (external - login to view)


The toughest of the Rangers and one of the most feared men in the NHL of the late 1950s, defenseman Lou Fontinato began his career by reeling off six straight seasons with at least 100 minutes in the penalty box.

The first man to break the 200-minute barrier, Fontinato arrived in Montreal following a 1961 trade that sent six-time Norris Trophy winner Doug Harvey (external - login to view) to New York in exchange for more physical presence.

An unguided missile on the ice, opposing forwards were quickly reminded that, despite a change in uniform, “Leaping Louie” was the same player in red as he had been in a blue. Failure to keep ones head up when entering the Montreal zone was often accompanied by dire consequences for those who crossed paths with Fontinato.

A heavy checker with no aversion to dropping the gloves and getting in the first blows, Fontinato spent 167 minutes watching from the penalty box, more sin bin time than any other NHLer in 1961-62.

The 1962-63 season unfolded as most did for Fontinato, who led his team in penalty time, his 141 minutes more than twice the total amassed by Jean Béliveau (external - login to view), second among Habs that year.

On Saturday, March 9, 1963, with seven games remaining on the schedule, Fontinato won a race for the puck with a Rangers opponent. Bending low in an attempt to apply the laws of physics on his adversary, he came out on the wrong end of the collision.

A broken vertebra left Fontinato temporarily paralysed and, after a recovery that left him unable to withstand the rigors of pro hockey, he embarked on a more placid career in agriculture.


Lou Fontinato - Bio, pictures, stats and more | Historical Website of the Montreal Canadiens (external - login to view)