Toronto Maple Leafs legend Johnny Bower has passed away at 93.
The Hall of Fame goalie led Toronto to four Stanley Cup championships.
He played in the American Hockey League for 13 seasons before earning a permanent spot in 1958 as the Leafs’ goaltender.
Originally named John Kiszkan, he was born the only boy of nine children on November 8th, 1924, and came of age in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan during the Great Depression. He changed his name to Bower to be easier to say.
He was self taught, playing in pickup games on ponds using a crooked tree branch as a stick and old mattresses as makeshift goalie pads.
I had the honour of meeting Johnny Bower in January 2002 after announcing an NHL Oldtimers at the then Halifax Metro Centre, he was a humble and kind man.
When I first tried to get the picture below, the camera was acting up, it was way before cellphone cameras.
As Johnny was leaving the post-game reception, he came over and said “Did you get the camera fixed? Well, lets get a picture Ian!”
Here’s his Christmas song from 1965:
He died yesterday, Boxing Day, after a brief battle with pneumonia.
Thanks for the hockey memories Johnny!
Credits: www.cbc.ca, Canadian Press and