Howie Meeker

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Howie Meeker
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1998
Howie Meeker Calder.jpg
Howie Meeker being presented the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 1947
Born (1923-11-04) November 4, 1923 (age 90)
Kitchener, ON, CAN
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)
Position Right Winger
Shot Right
Played for Toronto Maple Leafs
Pittsburgh Hornets
Playing career 1946–1955

Howard William Meeker, C.M. (born November 4, 1923) is a former right winger in the National Hockey League, youth coach and educator in ice hockey and television sports announcer as well as a former Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament. He was born in Kitchener, Ontario.

Biography[edit]

Playing, coaching and general managing career[edit]

Meeker played his junior hockey with the Kitchener Greenshirts in the Ontario Hockey Association. In 1941–42, Meeker joined the Stratford Kist. In only 13 games, he scored 29 goals and had 45 points to lead all players in points. He played one more year of junior hockey before joining the Canadian Army. Meeker was badly injured during the war, but he made a full recovery. In 1945–46, after World War II had ended, Meeker returned to the OHA and played one season with the Stratford Indians.

In 1946–47, Meeker joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League. He scored 27 goals and 45 points during his NHL debut and he was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy. Meeker also played in the 1947 NHL All-Star Game and he also tied an NHL record for most goals by a rookie in one game with five goals against the Chicago Black Hawks. Meeker also won his first Stanley Cup with the Leafs that season, the first of three consecutive Stanley Cups. The season, however, would prove Meeker's best as a pro, and he would never again approach that level of scoring.

In 1948–49, Meeker scored 34 points in 58 games and played in the 1948 NHL All-Star Game. He also helped the Leafs win their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Next season, Meeker sustained a collarbone injury that limited him to only 30 games and he did not play a single game in the playoffs as the Leafs took their third consecutive Stanley Cup. In 1950–51, Meeker won his fourth Stanley Cup with the Leafs as they beat the Montreal Canadiens in five games. Meeker would play three more seasons with the Leafs before retiring from the NHL. He continued to play hockey for 15 more years with different senior clubs.

He also coached the Maple Leafs, replacing King Clancy on April 11, 1956, leading the Leafs to a 21–34–15 record. He was promoted to general manager in 1957, but was fired before the start of the 1957–58 season.

Political career[edit]

Meeker spent two years as a Progressive Conservative MP while playing for the Leafs. In June 1951, Meeker won the federal by-election in the Ontario riding of Waterloo South. He did not seek re-election in the 1953 election.

Hockey camps[edit]

He later ran hockey schools as summer camps in Canada and the United States. His weekly telecasts based on these camps, Howie Meeker's Hockey School, ran from 1973 to 1977 on CBC Television. The series was produced in St. John's, Newfoundland. It featured boys learning the basic skills about the game: skating, puck control and passing. Meeker's encouragement and delivery were all based on his premise that the game was suffering from poor instruction at the junior levels. He felt the game was not being taught properly so his message was directed at coaches across Canada. He also made vocal and detailed complaints about poor quality hockey equipment for child players, especially concerning protective gear. The television series had 107 fifteen-minute episodes. It was produced and directed by Ron Harrison and/or John Spaulding and aired weekly during the hockey season.

Broadcasting career[edit]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Meeker became known to a new generation of hockey fans as the squeaky voiced analyst on Hockey Night in Canada. He began analyzing plays in greater depth than previous colour commentators, using the telestrator to demonstrate his points. He also worked on Vancouver Canucks telecasts on BCTV. When TSN gained NHL cable rights in 1987, Meeker joined their broadcast team, where he stayed until retiring in 1998. Meeker popularized the phrase, "Keep your stick on the ice", made during his educational segments on Hockey Night in Canada.

Philanthropic work[edit]

In 2004, Meeker was invited to headline a golf tournament fundraiser to benefit BC Guide Dog Services. Originally intended as a one-off event, it was such a success that the Howie Meeker Golf for Guide Dogs tournament ran on Vancouver Island for four years, and is now held annually in the Metro Vancouver area.[1] From this beginning, Meeker and his wife, Leah, became the Patrons for BC Guide Dog Services,[2] and through their involvement have already helped raise over $350,000 as of December 31, 2010.[3]

Personal life[edit]

He currently lives in Parksville, British Columbia. He was raised in New Hamburg, Ontario.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1940–41 Kitchener Greenshirts OHA-B 9 13 10 23 2 4 4 2 6 0
1941–42 Stratford Kist OHA-B 13 29 16 45 20 4 8 11 19 4
1941–42 Stratford Kist M-Cup 9 13 1 14 2
1942–43 Stratford Kroehlers OHA-Jr. 6 6 4 10 4 2 0 1 1 0
1942–43 Brantford Lions OHA 2 0 1 1 0
1945–46 Stratford Indians OHA 7 8 5 13 4 5 6 5 11 0
1946–47 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 55 27 18 45 76 11 3 3 6 6
1947–48 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 58 14 20 34 62 9 2 4 6 15
1948–49 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 30 7 7 14 56
1949–50 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 70 18 22 40 35 7 0 1 1 4
1950–51 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 49 6 14 20 24 11 1 1 2 14
1951–52 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 54 9 14 23 50 4 0 0 0 11
1954–55 Pittsburgh Hornets AHL 2 0 0 0 2
NHL totals 346 83 102 185 329 42 6 9 15 50

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
TOR 1956–57 70 21 34 15 - 57 5th in NHL Did Not Qualify

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bcguidedog.com/bc_year_review.html
  2. ^ BC Guide Dog Services founders
  3. ^ http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Vancouver+Island+legend+Howie+Meeker+named+Order+Canada/4047057/story.html
  4. ^ http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=13995&lan=eng
  5. ^ http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Vancouver+Island+legend+Howie+Meeker+named+Order+Canada/4047057/story.html

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Edgar Laprade
Winner of the Calder Trophy
1947
Succeeded by
Jim McFadden
Preceded by
King Clancy
Head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs
1956–57
Succeeded by
Billy Reay
Preceded by
Karl Homuth
Member of Parliament from Waterloo South
1951–53
Succeeded by
Arthur White