Johnny Bower

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Johnny Bower
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1976
Chex Johnny Bower.JPG
Born (1924-11-08) November 8, 1924 (age 89)
Prince Albert, SK, CAN
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 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 1945–1969

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

Playing career[edit]

Bower (who is of Ukrainian decent[2]) 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 11 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.[3]

Johnny Bower in goal, undated

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 11 full seasons in all with the Leafs, the remainder of his career.[4]

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 shut out the Montreal Canadiens for his fifth (and final) career playoff shutout - four of them against the Canadiens.[5] In the third game of the Stanley Cup Finals, on April 25, 1967, and in his last Stanley Cup Finals appearance, he became the second-oldest goalie to play in the Finals at the age of 42 years, 5 months, 17 days (refer to Lester Patrick for record). The Leafs won in double overtime when Bob Pulford scored.[6] 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.[7] His last full season was 1968–69. He played his final game on December 10, 1969, a 6-3 loss to Montreal;[8] 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 45th 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".[4] He subsequently revealed his birth date as November 8, 1924.[9]

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 leader in wins and shutouts.

Bower was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976, and the AHL Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural class 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 was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.[10] Bower is married to wife Nancy with a son, two daughters and six grandchildren and resides in Mississauga, 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.[11] 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.[12] In 2007, it was announced that Bower would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

On October 7, 2010, he opened the first game of regular season for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre by walking out on an implied bridge over water with his goalie stick.

On May 24, 2014, Johnny attended a street renaming ceremony in Weston Village in Toronto, where he once lived for many years. Formerly Patika Avenue, it was renamed Johnny Bower Boulevard. Local barber; Peter Kalamaris of World Famous Peter's Barber Shop collected close to 500 signatures to support this initiative. Johnny Bower proudly stated “it’s a great day for me and my family...this is a better ovation than I used to get at Maple Leaf Gardens.”.[13][14] After the street sign unveiling, hundreds of fans lined up to get their picture taken with Johnny Bower and the Vezina trophy at the barber shop. Approximately $1,200.00 was raised in under two hours for Alzheimer's Toronto in memory of Peter Kalamaris' father Pantelis.

Awards[edit]

Bower's star on Canada's Walk of Fame

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1944–45 Prince Albert Black Hawks SJHL 10 5 4 1 630 27 0 2.57
1945–46 Cleveland Barons AHL 41 18 17 6 2460 160 4 3.90
1945–46 Providence Reds AHL 1 0 1 0 48 4 0 5.00
1946–47 Cleveland Barons AHL 40 22 11 7 2400 124 3 3.10
1947–48 Cleveland Barons AHL 31 18 6 6 1880 83 1 2.65
1948–49 Cleveland Barons AHL 37 23 9 5 2200 127 3 3.43
1949–50 Cleveland Barons AHL 61 38 15 8 3660 201 5 3.30
1950–51 Cleveland Barons AHL 70 44 21 5 4280 213 5 2.99
1951–52 Cleveland Barons AHL 68 44 19 5 4110 165 3 2.41
1952–53 Cleveland Barons AHL 61 40 19 2 3680 155 6 2.53
1953–54 New York Rangers NHL 70 29 31 10 4200 182 5 2.60
1954–55 Vancouver Canucks WHL 63 30 25 8 3780 171 7 2.71
1954–55 New York Rangers NHL 5 2 2 1 300 13 0 2.60
1955–56 Providence Reds AHL 61 45 14 2 3710 174 3 2.81
1956–57 New York Rangers NHL 2 0 2 0 120 6 0 3.50
1956–57 Providence Reds AHL 57 30 19 8 3501 138 4 2.37
1957–58 Cleveland Barons AHL 64 37 23 3 3870 140 8 2.17
1958–59 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 39 15 17 7 2340 106 3 2.74
1959–60 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 66 34 24 8 3960 177 5 2.68
1960–61 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 58 33 15 10 3480 145 2 2.50
1961–62 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 59 31 18 10 3540 151 2 2.58
1962–63 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 42 20 15 7 2520 109 1 2.62
1963–64 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 51 24 16 11 3009 106 5 2.11
1964–65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 34 13 13 8 2040 81 3 2.38
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 35 18 10 5 1998 75 3 2.25
1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 27 12 9 3 1431 63 2 2.64
1967–68 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 43 14 18 7 2329 84 4 2.25
1968–69 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 20 5 4 3 779 37 2 2.85
1969–70 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 1 0 1 0 60 5 0 5.00
AHL totals 592 359 174 57 35,799 1684 45 2.82
NHL totals 552 250 195 90 32,016 1340 37 2.51

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA
1944–45 Prince Albert Black Hawks M-Cup 3 0 3 180 23 0 7.67
1948–49 Cleveland Barons AHL 5 2 3 329 23 0 4.19
1949–50 Cleveland Barons AHL 9 4 5 548 27 0 2.96
1950–51 Cleveland Barons AHL 11 8 3 703 32 0 2.73
1951–52 Cleveland Barons AHL 5 2 3 300 17 0 3.40
1952–53 Cleveland Barons AHL 11 7 4 745 21 4 1.69
1954–55 Vancouver Canucks WHL 5 1 4 300 16 0 3.20
1955–56 Providence Reds AHL 9 7 2 540 23 0 2.56
1956–57 Providence Reds AHL 5 1 4 300 15 0 3.00
1958–59 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 12 5 2 746 38 0 3.06
1959–60 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 10 4 6 645 31 0 2.88
1960–61 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 3 0 3 180 8 0 2.67
1961–62 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 10 6 3 579 20 0 2.07
1962–63 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 10 8 2 600 16 2 1.60
1963–64 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 14 8 6 850 30 2 2.12
1964–65 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 5 2 3 321 13 0 2.43
1965–66 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 2 0 2 120 8 0 4.00
1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 4 2 0 183 5 1 1.64
1968–69 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 4 0 2 154 11 0 4.29
AHL totals 55 31 24 3465 158 4 2.74
NHL totals 74 35 34 4378 180 5 2.47

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woolsey, Garth (2008-12-14). "Winter reading for the hockey fan". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  2. ^ FOCUS ON PHILATELY, The Ukrainian Weekly (February 1, 2004)
  3. ^ 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>
  4. ^ a b Johnny Bower (1953-70)
  5. ^ Leafs Trump Habs with Right Bower The Montreal Gazette - April 24, 1967, page 25. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  6. ^ Pulford Gives Leafs 3-2 Overtime Win The Montreal Gazette - April 26, 1967, page 39. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  7. ^ Punch fired as Leafs Ousted The Montreal Gazette - April 7, 1969, page 21. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  8. ^ Canadiens’ rally beats Toronto 6-3 The Montreal Gazette - Dec. 11, 1969, page 11. Retrieved 2010-08-16
  9. ^ Johnny Bower: A Goalie For All Ages, February 16, 2009
  10. ^ "Johnny Bower". http://oshof.ca/. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Canada's Stamp Details, January to March 2004, Volume XIII, No. 1
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ http://www.thestar.com/business/real_estate/2014/05/24/legendary_leaf_johnny_bower_scores_hometown_welcome.html#
  14. ^ http://www.torontosun.com/2014/05/24/toronto-road-named-after-leafs-legend-johnny-bower

External links[edit]

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