Jacques Plante, hockey Hall of Famer who introduced the goaltenders' mask to modern hockey, died of stomach cancer Thursday in a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland. He was 57.
Plante, a mainstay during the Montreal Canadiens' dynasty years and considered one of hockey's great goalies, had been admitted to the hospital last week for treatment of the recently discovered cancer. He had been working for the St. Louis Blues as a goaltending instructor, teaching young players in the Blues' minor leagues, at Peoria, Ill., and Windsor, Canada.
Plante played for the Blues in 1968-70, sharing goal duties for the team with another Hall of Famer, Glenn Hall. It was with St. Louis that he won his seventh Vezina Trophy as the league's best goalie, in 1969.
On Nov. 1, 1959, he became the first goalie in NHL history to play a game in a mask, wearing a device he had used for protection in practice. He is also credited with being one of the first goalies to roam away from the net.