Monday, May 02, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Chris Worthy

In honor of that Royal Wedding across the pond in jolly ol' England, we profile our second British-born goalie, but did have quite the career that Byron Dafoe had. It's another story of a player who had an amazing career in the junior ranks, but due to a bad team in front of him and deep competition, never reached those heights in the pros as he did in juniors. This week, the profile of Chris Worthy.

While he was born in Bristol, England-- Worthy and his family moved to Canada at a young age. Worthy would learn the game and start playing with the Flin Flon Bombers of Saskatchewan Junior League, starting first by playing 53 games in the 1965-66 season. The Bombers and Worthy would move onto the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for the 1966-67 season, where Worthy would put up an astonishing 40-4-0 record in 44 games, then going 8-6 in 14 playoff games, helping to win the Turnbull Cup Championship.. The Bombers would go to the Memorial Cup representing Manitoba, but would lose in seven games to the host Port Arthur Marrs. Worthy would also get Top Goaltender honors in the MJHL and First-Team All-Star honors that season. Staying with the Bombers in 1967-68, but going to the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League; Worthy continued to play amazing, going 47-8-5 in 60 games with the Bombers, as well as going 8-6 again in the playoffs.

Worthy's rights were first taken by the Detroit Red Wings, but those would be traded in May of 1968, where he, Gary Jarrett, Doug Roberts, and Howie Young were traded to the Oakland Seals for Bob Baun and Ron Harris. Worthy's pro career started with the Seal in the 1968-69 season, but would be the third goalie, getting only 14 games in with a 4-6-3 record in those games. The 1969-70 season would be a nice travel experience for Worthy, as he would only play one game in Oakland (a loss), three games with the Providence Reds of the AHL, but would spend most of the season with the Seattle Totems of the Western League with a 14-14-3 record in 31 games. As the Oakland Seals became the California Golden Seals, Worthy would be with them for the 1970-71 season, but with the work horse Gary Smith in net, Worthy only got 11 games in-- mostly in relief, as he finished the year with a 1-3-1 record.

The 1971-72 season had Worthy relegated to the Kansas City Blues of the Central League, playing in 19 games, but with a 3-10-5 record to show for it. Worthy was picked up by the Denver Spurs of the Western League in the 1972 Reserve Draft, where he would get more games in, playing 37 and compiling a 12-14-7 record.

Worthy was also selected by the Dayton Aeros of the WHA in their 1972 Draft, but would never play for them as he was picked by the Alberta Oilers in the professional players Draft in 1973. Worthy showed up to the Oilers for the 1973-74 season, playing behind Jack Norris and going 11-12-1 in his 29 appearances. It was another 29 appearances for Worthy in Alberta, this time with an 11-13-3 record in the 1974-75 season, while the 1975-76 season had Worthy in only 24 games with a 5-14-0 record to show; which would be his last season playing.

Post-playing career, Worthy attended the University of Alberta and Seattle University where he would be give a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce and would become a very successful Chartered Accountant. As well, he became Chief Financial Officer for the fourth-biggest construction company in the US before starting a private investment company. He helped many get their businesses off the ground and made sure to lead people in the right direction.

Sadly, Worthy contracted pancreatic cancer and passed in 2007 at only 57. He's survived by his wife of 41 years and two sons.

While he started off his career with a powerhouse of a junior team, that came at a price when he got chosen by a team who didn't have much of anything, which stymied his performance in the big leagues and made him bounce around. Yet-- he stuck with it for as long as he could, then used his smarts to his post-playing career and made quite the name for himself before his untimely passing.


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Don Swinton said...

Thank you very much for this posting. I was friends with Chris in public school and lost contact with him. I'm very sorry to hear of his passing.

Don Swinton

tim said...

This is a great story of a great life. Thanks for writing this!