No goaltender in American Hockey League history has seen more action between the pipes than Marcel Paille, who appeared in 765 games for six clubs between 1956 and 1974.
A native of Shawinigan Falls, Que., Paille made his AHL debut in 1956 and he went 34-25-3 with the Cleveland Barons, backstopping the team to a Calder Cup championship. With his NHL rights owned by the New York Rangers, Paille suited up for the Providence Reds in 1957-58 and the Buffalo Bisons in 1958-59, when he played in all 70 games and led the Bisons to a first-place finish.
In 1959 Paille joined the Springfield Indians, where he would cement his place in AHL history as the last line of defense for the league’s greatest dynasty. The Indians won the Calder Cup each year during Paille’s three seasons in Springfield, and they remain the only team ever to secure back-to-back-to-back AHL championships. Paille’s 47 wins in 1960-61 were an AHL record at the time, and he won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Award in 1961 and 1962 for leading the league in goals-against average. Paille went 107-54-8 with 12 shutouts in 169 games with Springfield.
Paille moved on to Baltimore and helped the Clippers reach the playoffs in their inaugural season in 1962-63. He returned to Providence in 1965 and spent seven more seasons with the Reds, returning to the Calder Cup Finals in 1971. He finished his pro career with Richmond in 1973-74, helping the Robins to a postseason berth.
Paille ranks second in AHL history with 349 wins and tied for fourth with 36 shutouts, and he earned five career postseason AHL All-Star Team nods, including First Team honors in 1959, 1961 and 1962. He holds the AHL records for games played by a goaltender in both the regular season and the playoffs, logging more than 50,000 minutes in an AHL crease. His shutout streak of more than 207 minutes during the 1962 playoffs also remains a league postseason record.
In recognition of his achievements with the Indians, Paille was inducted into the Springfield Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 69.
|Career AHL Statistics – Marcel Paille