Pete Stemkowski

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Pete Stemkowski
PeteStemkowski 06.jpg
at Madison Square Garden vs NY Rangers, c. 1965
Born (1943-08-25) August 25, 1943 (age 72)
Winnipeg, MB, CAN
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 196 lb (89 kg; 14 st 0 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Toronto Maple Leafs
Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 1963–1979

Peter David Stemkowski (born August 25, 1943) is a former player in the National Hockey League. Over fifteen seasons, he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Los Angeles Kings. Stemkowski is best remembered for his heroics in the 1970–71 Stanley Cup semifinals when he scored two overtime goals for the New York Rangers in an eventual series loss to the Chicago Black Hawks. He won the Stanley Cup in 1967 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pete Stemkowski, who played centre, is also remembered as one of the top faceoff players of the NHL.

On April 29, 1971, Rangers center Pete Stemkowski scored one of the biggest goals in New York Rangers history.[1]

Stemkowski`s tally in triple overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoff semifinals at Madison Square Garden, forced a seventh game between the Rangers and Black Hawks — keeping the Blueshirts` hopes of a Stanley Cup Finals appearance alive. The MSG Network special The 50 Greatest Moments in Madison Square Garden History placed the Game 6 triple overtime winner at number 18.

Although the Rangers went on to lose Game 7, a then 27-year-old Stemkowski had forever ensured a special relationship with the New York fans, who would talk about his dramatic goal for many years to come. Neither Stemmer, as he was fondly called, or the Garden Faithful had to wait much longer for that trip to the Finals, since Stemkowski was again part of the team that went all the way to a showdown with Boston one year later in 1972.

Also known as "The Polish Prince," Stemkowski`s success in his first year as a Ranger set the tone for a fine seven-season run that included three straight 20-goal seasons from 1972-73 to 1974-75. He was particularly impressive in 1973-74, when he tied his career-high of 25 goals and also notched a career-high 70 points.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Stemkowski began his NHL career in the Toronto Maple Leafs system and played his first game with the Leafs as a 20-year-old in 1963-64. He went on to spent another four years with the Leafs, shuttling up and down between Toronto and Rochester of the American Hockey League until he caught on as an NHL regular in 1966.

Traded to Detroit late in the 1967-68 season, Stemkowski had his first two 20-goal seasons with the Red Wings and was eventually dealt to the Rangers for defenseman Larry Brown. It would prove to be a great trade for the Rangers, because Stemkowski went on to play 551 regular-season and playoff games for the Blueshirts before leaving the team in 1977.

Following his playing career, Stemkowski worked for several seasons as the San Jose Sharks` TV color commentator. He is also a member of the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in Hamtramck, Mich., which welcomed him as an inductee in 2002.

Broadcasting career[edit]

As of May 1982, Stemkowski was a morning disc jockey for WDJZ in Bridgeport, Connecticut.[1] He was also a freelance announcer for the Entertainment Sports Network.

He has served a stint as the television (1992–1996) and radio colour commentator (2000–2005) for the San Jose Sharks and now does so for the New York Rangers on a part-time basis. He was rumoured to be a candidate to become the Rangers' full-time radio analyst in 2006–07 but has retained his back-up role and makes appearances at Rangers events.

Hockey Awards & Achievements[edit]

Conviction for Criminal Solicitation[edit]

On May 7, 1982, Stemkowski pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of criminal solicitation in Nassau County, New York. Stemkowski had lent $35,000 to a business associate, which had not been repaid along with $35,000 in interest. He offered $20,000 to an undercover Nassau County police officer to fly to California and break an ankle and wrist of the business associate. By pleading guilty, Stemkowski avoided a charge of conspiracy.[2]

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