Joe Daley
Position: Goaltender

Born: February 20, 1943    

Birthplace: East Kildonan, Manitoba, Canada

Height: 5'10"  Weight: 170 lbs.

Catches: Left

Draft: N/A

Season with Buffalo: 1970-71

Uniform Number: 30

Games Played:
Save Percentage:
Sabre Totals


Goaltender Joe Daley was the first player ever added to the Buffalo Sabres roster.  While most Sabres fans regard Hall of Fame center Gilbert Perreault as the "original Sabre", Daley was the first player selected by the organization in the 1970 Intra-League Draft on June 9, 1970, hours before the Expansion Draft would add several players to the fold, and a full day before Perreault would be taken first overall in the NHL Amatuer Draft. 

Nicknamed "the Holy Goalie" during his 18 year career, Daley was one of the last professional goaltenders, and the only one in Buffalo Sabres history, to play without wearing a protective mask.  It was only in the late 1970's, as a member of the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association, that Daley donned a mask for the first time. 

Daley played junior hockey for the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League from 1961 to 1963.  The Weyburn franchise was sponsored by the Detroit Red Wings.  Under NHL rules as they existed at the time, the professional
In his second professional season, 1964-65, Daley led the EHL in games and minutes played by a goaltender as he played in all 72 games played by the Jets during the season.  He was the only goaltender to take the ice for the Jets that year.  His performance during the 1964-65 season in Johnstown earned him a promotion to the Memphis Wings of the CPHL for the 1965-66 season.  Daley was busy again during the season, playing in 68 of the team's 70 games.  He also appeared in 7 games as a member of the Western Hockey League's San Francisco Seals. 
Daley split the 1966-67 season between the Memphis Wings and the Pittsburgh Hornets, playing 50 games with Memphis and 16 with Pittsburgh. 

In 1967, the NHL expanded from 6 teams to 12.  This created opportunities for many talented players who were unable to break into the 6 team league.  Daley was one such player, who spent years in the minor leagues without ever getting a shot at the NHL.  That changed when Daley was selected in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Daley was assigned to Pittsburgh's AHL club, the Baltimore Clippers, for the 1967-68 season.  Daley spent the majority of the season there, playing in 56
By the end of the first day of proceedings at the 1970 NHL meetings, Imlach had added another goaltender when he arranged the deal which brought Roger Crozier to Buffalo from the Red Wings.  Later, Dave Dryden was acquired from Pittsburgh, and the goaltending corps for the Sabres inaugural season was set.  Crozier would be the starter, with Daley pegged as the backup.  Dryden was kept around as a third goaltender in the event that Crozier, who had chronic health problems, was unable to perform. 
rights to players on a sponsored junior team belonged to the NHL team that sponsored them.  As a result, Daley became a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization.

As a member of the Red Wings organization, began his professional career in the 1961-62 season, playing one game with the Sudbury Wolves of the Eastern Professional Hockey League.  In 1963-64, Daley graduated from the junior ranks and joined the Johnstown Jets of the Eastern Hockey League.  Daley played in 66 of the team's 72 games as the Jets finished the season with the best record in the EHL.  At the end of the season, Daley was named EHL Rookie of the Year.  During the season he also played one game with the Cincinnati Wings of the Central Professional Hockey League and two games with Detroit's top farm club, the Pittsburgh Hornets of the American Hockey League. 
games.  He made his long-awaited NHL debut during the 1967-68 season,
playing one game with the Penguins.  Daley spent the entire 1968-69 season in Pittsburgh, serving as backup to starter Les Binkley.  Daley played in 29 games, registering a 10-13-3 record with a 3.23 goals against average (GAA). 

In 1968-69, both Daley and Binkley were supplanted in the Pittsburgh net by goaltender
Al Smith, a 1968 Waiver Draft
acquisition.  Binkley stayed on in a backup role, while Daley was demoted to Baltimore for the majority of the season.  Daley would play just 9 games for the Penguins during the 1968-69 season.  With Smith and Binkley on the roster, Daley was considered expendable.  The Penguins left him unprotected in the 1970 Intra-League Draft, and he was snapped up by Punch Imlach, General Manager of the expansion Buffalo Sabres.
Crozier's health held out until mid-December, 1970, when he collapsed from exhaustion.  From there, Daley carried the brunt of the goaltending load for the remainder of the 1970-71 season, with Dryden acting as his backup. 

Playing for the Sabres in that first season must have been trying for a goaltender.  Buffalo's defense was notoriously pourous, often giving up more than 40 shots against in a game.  On December 10, 1970, Daley set a team record which he still holds, facing 72 shots against in an 8-2 loss to the Boston Bruins.  Not all of Daley's games for the Sabres were 70-plus shot shellings.  He faced just 26 shots against on February 12, 1971 as he registered the second shutout in franchise history in a 3-0 win over the California Golden Seals at the Aud in Buffalo. 

Daley finished the 1970-71 season with a record of 12 wins, 16 losses and 8 ties, with one shutout and a 3.70 GAA.  His goals against was just slightly higher than Crozier's, and his win-loss record was slightly better.  Still, at the end of the season, GM Imlach felt more confident with Crozier and Dryden as his goaltending tandem.  On May 25, 1971, Daley was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman
Mike Robitaille and center Don Luce.

In his second stint with the organization, Daley finally made his Red Wing
debut, playing 29 games as backup to Al Smith, Daley's former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate.  Daley would spend just one season with Detroit. 

In 1972, he was selected by the Winnipeg Jets in the World Hockey Association's General Player Draft.  The WHA was a new league, which sought to earn credibility by signing established NHL talent, including a few NHL superstars, to play in their league rather than remain in the NHL.  Daley was one of many NHLers to join the new league in the early 1970's.  The move to Winnipeg was a homecoming for Daley, who grew up in East Kildonan, Manitoba, a suburb of Winnipeg.  He played 6 seasons as a member of the Jets, from their inaugural season of 1972-73 until their last season in the WHA, 1978-79.  During that time, Daley became the winningest goaltender in WHA history with 167 wins.  He was a part of three consecutive Avco Cup Championship teams between 1976 and 1978.  He retired from professional hockey following the 1978-79 season.

Joe Daley still lives in the Winnipeg area.  Since 1990 he has owned and operated
Joe Daley's Sports Cards, a sports card and memorabilia shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Complete career stats for Joe Daley from
The Internet Hockey Database