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Johnny Bower

Johnny Bower
Born November 8, 1924 (1924-11-08) (age 85),
Prince Albert, SK, CAN
Height
Weight
5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for AHL
Cleveland Barons
Providence Reds
NHL
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 1945'1970
Hall of Fame, 1976

John William Bower (born John Kiszkan[1] on November 8, 1924 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan), nicknamed "The China Wall", is a Hockey Hall of Fame goalie.

Contents

[edit] Playing career

Bower served with the Canadian Army during World War II in England from 1940 to 1943 and was discharged due to rheumatoid arthritis. After the war, Bower returned to Prince Albert in 1943 to play junior hockey in Prince Albert and in the AHL ' largely for the Cleveland Barons ' for eleven seasons in the late 1940s and 1950s, and proved himself the star goaltender of the circuit, winning numerous awards and leading his teams to three Calder Cup championships.

During his first professional year of hockey, he changed his name from John Kiszkan to Bower, to make it easier for sports writers.[2]

He was finally picked up by the New York Rangers of the NHL for the 1953'54 season, but was sent back down to the minor leagues the following season. Bower would toil in the minors four more years in Providence (Reds 1945'1946, 1955'1956 and 1956'1957), Vancouver (Canucks 1954'1955), Cleveland (Barons 1945'1953 and 1957'1958) and then again with the Rangers in 1954'1955, before being claimed by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1958 Inter-League Draft. He would play eleven full seasons in all with the Leafs, the remainder of his career.[3]

The height of his NHL career came during the Maple Leafs' three consecutive Stanley Cup victories in the early 1960s ' 1962, 1963 and 1964.

After the 1962 victory, Bower complained about Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks left winger and his hard slap shot, improved from that of Montreal Canadiens left-wing Bernie Geoffrion. Bower said, "He needs another shot like I need a hole in the head, which I may get."

His career would be hampered by poor eyesight, but despite that he remained a top-tier goaltender. He was known for his hard-nosed, scrappy playing style and would win another Stanley Cup in 1967 by tandeming with another Hall of Famer (Terry Sawchuk). Bower claimed, "I wasn't all that glad to see the two-goalie system come in. I wanted to play as many games as I could." Bower and Sawchuk shared the Vezina Trophy as the best NHL goalies in 1964'65. On April 22, 1967, in the second game of the Stanley Cup Finals, he shutout the Montreal Canadiens for his fifth (and final) career playoff shutout - four of them against the Canadiens.[4] In the third game of the Stanley Cup Finals, on April 25, 1967, and in his last Stanley Cup Final appearance, he became the second oldest goalie to play in the Stanley Cup Final at age 42 years, 5 months, 17 days (refer to Lester Patrick for record). The Leafs won in double overtime when Bob Pulford scored.[5] On April 6, 1969, at the age of 44 years, 4 months, and 29 days, Johnny became the oldest goaltender to play in a Stanley Cup playoff game.[6] His last full season was 1968'69. He played his final game on December 10, 1969, a 6-3 loss to Montreal[7]; mainly due to injuries, this was his only game of the 1969-70 season. On March 19, 1970, Johnny publicly announced his official retirement - four months after his forty-fifth birthday. When asked, in light of his retirement, if he might reveal his true age, he replied "If you don't know by now, you never will".[3] He subsequently revealed his birth date as November 8, 1924.[8]

His regular season career statistics include: 552 games played, 250 wins, 195 losses, 90 ties, 37 shutouts, and a 2.51 GAA. In addition, he remains the AHL career shutout leader.

Bower was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976, and the AHL Hall of Fame in 2006. In 1998, he was ranked number 87 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players. He was assistant coach for the Leafs from 1976'1978. Bower is also a member of the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame since 1994. Bower is married to wife Nancy with a son, two daughters and six grandchildren and resides in Etobicoke, Ontario. In January 2004, Bower was featured on a postage stamp. As part of the NHL All-Stars Collection, Bower was immortalized along with five other All-Stars.[9] In 2005, the Royal Canadian Mint featured Bower on a non-circulating fifty-cent coin, as part of its four-coin Legends of the Toronto Maple Leafs coin set.[10] In 2007, it was announced that Bower would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

[edit] Awards

Bower's star on Canada's Walk of Fame

[edit] Career statistics

[edit] Regular season

Season Team League GP Min W L T GAA
1943-44 Prince Albert Junior Reds SMHL 9 610 6 2 1 2.79
1944'45 Prince Albert Black Hawks SJHL 10 630 5 4 1 2.57
1945'46 Cleveland Barons AHL 41 2460 18 17 6 3.90
1945'46 Providence Reds AHL 1 48 0 1 0 5.00
1946'47 Cleveland Barons AHL 40 2400 22 11 7 3.10
1947'48 Cleveland Barons AHL 31 1880 18 6 6 2.65
1948'49 Cleveland Barons AHL 37 2200 23 9 5 3.43
1949'50 Cleveland Barons AHL 61 3660 38 15 8 3.30
1950'51 Cleveland Barons AHL 70 4280 44 21 5 2.99
1951'52 Cleveland Barons AHL 68 4110 44 19 5 2.41
1952'53 Cleveland Barons AHL 61 3680 40 19 2 2.53
1953'54 New York Rangers NHL 70 4200 29 31 10 2.60
1954'55 Vancouver Canucks WHL 63 3780 30 25 8 2.71
1954'55 New York Rangers NHL 5 300 2 2 1 2.60
1955'56 Providence Reds AHL 61 3710 45 14 2 2.81
1956'57 Providence Reds AHL 57 3501 30 19 8 2.37
1956'57 New York Rangers NHL 2 120 0 2 0 3.50
1957'58 Cleveland Barons AHL 64 3870 37 23 3 2.17
1958'59 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 39 2340 15 17 7 2.74
1959'60 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 66 3960 34 24 8 1.80
1960'61 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 58 3480 33 15 10 2.50
1961'62 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 59 3540 31 18 10 2.58
1962'63 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 42 2520 20 15 7 2.62
1963'64 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 51 3009 24 16 11 2.11
1964'65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 34 2040 13 13 8 2.38
1965'66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 35 1998 18 10 5 2.25
1966'67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 27 1431 12 9 3 2.64
1967'68 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 43 2239 14 18 7 2.25
1968'69 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 20 779 5 4 3 2.85
1969'70 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 1 60 0 1 0 5.00
NHL totals 552 32016 250 195 90 2.51

[edit] Post-season record

Season Team League GP Min W L GAA
1944'49 Prince Albert Black Hawks SJHL 3 180 0 3 7.67
1948'49 Cleveland Barons AHL 5 329 2 3 4.19
1949'50 Cleveland Barons AHL 9 548 4 5 2.96
1950'51 Cleveland Barons AHL 11 703 8 3 2.73
1951'52 Cleveland Barons AHL 5 300 2 3 3.40
1952'53 Cleveland Barons AHL 11 745 7 4 1.69
1954'55 Vancouver Canucks WHL 5 300 1 4 3.20
1955'56 Providence Reds AHL 9 540 7 2 2.56
1956'57 Providence Reds AHL 5 300 1 4 3.00
1958'59 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 12 746 5 7 3.14
1959'60 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 10 645 4 6 2.88
1960'61 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 3 180 0 3 3.00
1961'62 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 10 579 6 3 2.28
1962'63 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 10 600 8 2 1.60
1963'64 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 14 850 8 6 2.12
1964'65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 5 321 2 3 2.43
1965'66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 2 120 0 2 4.00
1966'67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 4 183 2 0 1.64
1968'69 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 4 154 0 2 4.29
NHL totals 74 ' 35 34 2.47

[edit] References

  1. ^ Woolsey, Garth (2008-12-14). "Winter reading for the hockey fan". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/553537. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  2. ^ Canada Post - Press Releases - Ice dreams : Fifth set of hockey All-Stars to be honoured with stamps Johnny Bower, Brad Park, Larry Robinson, Marcel Dionne, Ted Lindsay and Milt Schmidt selected for Canada Post's All-Star <nobr>list for 2004</nobr>
  3. ^ a b Johnny Bower (1953-70)
  4. ^ Leafs Trump Habs with Right Bower The Montreal Gazette - April 24, 1967, page 25. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  5. ^ Pulford Gives Leafs 3-2 Overtime Win The Montreal Gazette - April 26, 1967, page 39. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  6. ^ Punch fired as Leafs Ousted The Montreal Gazette - April 7, 1969, page 21. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  7. ^ Canadiens' rally beats Tornto 6-3 The Montreal Gazette - Dec. 11, 1969, page 11. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  8. ^ Johnny Bower: A Goalie For All Ages, February 16, 2009
  9. ^ Canada's Stamp Details, January to March 2004, Volume XIII, No. 1
  10. ^ The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, 61st Edition, p.209, W.K. Cross, Editor, 2007, The Charlton Press, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0'88968'315'8

[edit] External links

Preceded by
Jacques Plante
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
1961
Succeeded by
Jacques Plante
Preceded by
Charlie Hodge
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
with Terry Sawchuk

1965
Succeeded by
Gump Worsley
and Charlie Hodge




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