The list of accomplishments that Andrew James (Andy) Bathgate achieved easily qualifies him for a spot in the Sports Hall of Fame. He played his minor hockey in West Kildonan, "(the late) Vince Leah...I have to give him all the credit in the world," Bathgate recalled, "Vince was there before my father passed away and after my father passed away when I was 13. Vince really encouraged me an awful lot to get really involved in hockey. I couldn't thank Vince enough."
Bathgate captained the Guelph Biltmores to the 1952 Memorial Cup Championship. And, that fall he started with the New York Rangers. "When I joined them, I think there were seven Winnipeggers on the team. It was just like old homecoming with Don Raleigh there... Ed Slowinski, Nick Mickoski, Wally Hergesheimer... there were all kinds of Winnipeggers."
The Rangers had not won the Stanley Cup since 1940, but not from a lack of effort on Andy Bathgate's part between 1952 and '64. He had a personal best of 40 goals and 48 assists for 88 points in the 1958-59 campaign; a season that brought him the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. He followed that up in 1961-62 by tying for the scoring title, only to finish runner-up because he did not score as many goals as Bobby Hull. The next season he was the runner-up to another pretty fair winger in Gordie Howe. But his career highlight was yet to come. Traded to Toronto half-way through the 1963-64 season, Bathgate scored the winning goal in the seventh and deciding game (against Detroit) to capture the Stanley Cup.
Andy Bathgate was twice an NHL all-star. And, during his 17 seasons with the Rangers, Toronto, Detroit and Pittsburgh, he played 1,069 games, scored 349 goals, and 624 assists for 973 points.
James Bathgate is aslos a member of the Tribune Sports Hall of Fame and the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.