skip navigation

Sam L. LoPresti

BIRTHPLACE: Elcor, Minn.

BORN: January 30,1917

DIED: December 11, 1984

TEAMS/ASSOCIATIONS: Chicago Blackhawks



Sam LoPresti, born in Elcor but raised in Eveleth, is one of two American hockey players to have his name written into National Hockey League record book.  On page 93, you'll find the category: "Most shots, One Team, One Game" followed by: 83, Boston Bruins, March 4, 1941 at Boston.  Boston defeated Chicago 3-2.  Chicago goaltender was Sam LoPresti." On that night in Boston with fellow Evelethian and Hall of Famer Frank Brimsek in the opposing nets LoPresti turned aside 27 shots in the first period, 31 in the second, and 22 in the last.  After the game the late Johnny Crawford, a Bruin forward summed it up best when asked if LoPresti was really good or just lucky: "He was good alright... if he hadn't been good he wouldn't be alive now." 

Another of legendary Eveleth Cliff Thompson's protégé's, he took over the goalie's job in his second year out for the high school team.  In 1936 LoPresti played in the nets for the Eveleth Junior College team, also coached by Cliff Thompson, and the club had one of its most successful seasons.  After a year at St. Cloud Teacher's College he returned to play for the Junior College.  Thompson felt he was a natural in the nets.  LoPresti never got flustered when in the midst of a shower of pucks as his record breaking performance was to prove. 

In the fall of 1939 the St. Paul Saints sent a scout to Eveleth to dig up some goalie talent.  The scout contacted Thompson who promptly recommended LoPresti.  From St. Paul, which played in the American Hockey Association, it wasn't long before he found himself in the Chicago nets when Paul Goodman retired.  LoPresti played through the end of the 1942 season when he entered the U.S. Navy.  There, aboard a merchant ship that was torpedoed in February of 1943, he incredibly spent 42 days in a lifeboat before being rescued. 

After the war LoPresti played senior amateur hockey in Northeastern Minnesota before retiring from the game.  His son, Pete, also went on to prominence as a goaltender, later starring for the hometown Minnesota North Stars in the 1970s.