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 Post subject: Sad Day For Hockey Fans
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:07 pm 
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Johnny Bower, the netminder who helped the Leafs win Stanley Cups during the 1960s has passed away at the age of 93.

Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Bower enlisted in the army to fight in WWII at the age of 15 by lying about his age. After being discharged for medical reasons (arthritis in his hands) he began playing hockey for the AHL, where he spent 11 seasons. He made the jump to the NHL in 1953, when he began playing for the New York Rangers. However, he was sent back to the minors after one season, when the Rangers decided to go with Gump Worsley as their goalie.

The Leafs drafted him in 1958, and by 1961, he was the winner of the league's Vezina Trophy, for the best goaltender, as he helped the team win the first of three consecutive Stanley Cups. He won it a second time in 1967, this time sharing it with goaltender Terry Sawchuck.

Bower was one of the oldest players in the NHL, and due to him lying about his age to get into the military, there was always some doubt about his true age. The secret came out when he finally retired at the age of 45, making him the second oldest goaltender to ever play in the NHL.

Bower was one of the few goalies in the NHL who was never able to adjust to wearing a mask. During his career, he suffered numerous cuts from skates and pucks, and though he would sometimes wear a mask in practice, found it restricted his vision too much to wear during a game. He was a fierce competitor, and would often come out of his crease to poke the puck off the stick of players attempting to score. Players who tried to crowd him in the crease would often get his goalie stick across their backsides as he pushed them out of the way.

He was good friends with another Canadian hockey legend, Gordie Howe, but that didn't stop Mr. Hockey from putting the puck into Bower's net as often as he could.

After retirement, he spent 20 years as a scout for the Leafs. He was also very active with different charities, right up until the end of his life. He was always polite and generous with his fans, and remains one of the most popular Leaf players of all time.

The Bower family were residents of Weston when I was small, and my dad taught his daughter, Cindy in Grade 6. When we moved to Etobicoke, they soon followed us, taking up residence on an adjacent street. We drove by his house all the time, and met him and his wife while shopping at the grocery store. He was always kind and polite when people recognized him and wanted to shake his hand or get his autograph.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Bower


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When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose.


Last edited by Sunsilver on Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:11 pm 
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He sounds like a wonderful gentleman, Sunny!

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:28 am 
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Johnny had a hit song! Here it is, along with a nice tribute to this great goalie:


_________________
When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose.


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