Marcel Pronovost is a former Windsor Spitfire who spent 20 memorable seasons in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. He is a four-time Stanley Cup champion and a member of the NHL Hall of Fame.
Pronovost was born in Lac-à-la-Tortue, Quebec on June 15, 1930.
Pronovost spent 20 seasons in the NHL: 15 with the Detroit Red Wings and 5 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He won three Stanley Cups with Detroit (in 1952, ’54, and ’55) and was a part of the Leafs’ last triumph, in ’67.
Pronovost played in 10 NHL All-Star Games between 1954 and ’68. He was named a Second-Team NHL All-Star in ’57-58 and ’58-59, and a First-Team All-Star in ’59-60 and ’60-61. Earlier in his career, Pronovost was named USHL Rookie of the Year for ’49-50, when he was also recognized as a First-Team All-Star. He earned Second-Team honours the following season.
Between 1947-48 and ’50-51, Pronovost split his time between the Windsor Spitfires, the IHL’s Detroit Auto Club, the USHL’s Omaha Knights, and the AHL’s Indianapolis Capitals before latching on with the Red Wings, for which he played between ’51-52 and ’64-65. Pronovost regularly contributed at both ends of the ice, reaching a high of 34 points in 70 games in the ’54-55 season.
After transferring to Toronto in 1965-66, Pronovost maintained a high level of play for parts of five seasons. He closed out his playing career in ’70-71 with a 17-game spell with the Canadian Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers.
Pronovost finished his NHL career with 96 goals and 280 assists for 376 points career across 1,206 regular season and 134 playoff games. These numbers were striking in an era in which defencemen were rarely permitted to make significant offensive contributions.
Pronovost spent over a decade in coaching following his playing days. He got his start behind the bench with the World Hockey Association’s Chicago Cougars in 1972-74 before taking the reins of the Hull Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from ’74 to ’77. Pronovost graduated to the NHL, enjoying spells as Head Coach of the Buffalo Sabres (’77-79) and Assistant Coach of the Red Wings (’79-81). Following his stint in Detroit, Pronovost returned to Essex County to coach the Spitfires (’81-83) and the Junior C Belle River Canadiens (’83-85).
In the years since, Pronovost has enjoyed a third career as a scout. After a spell with the NHL Central Scouting Bureau between 1985 and ’89, he took a scouting job with the New Jersey Devils, which he continued to hold at the time of his induction.
Pronovost was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1978.
He still lives in Windsor, his adopted home.