The hockey community lost a legend Tuesday as Hall of Fame goaltender Johnny Bower died at the age of 93.
Bower made his NHL debut with the New York Rangers in 1953, playing every second of every game that season—he did that without a mask by the way, which speaks to the valour he had as a player. The Prince Albert, Sask., native was known primarily, however, for the decade-plus he spent with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he won two Vezina Trophies and four Stanley Cups.
In addition to his remarkable 552-game NHL career—he was named one of the top 100 players of all time earlier this year—the Second World War veteran also played nearly 600 games in the AHL throughout the 1940s and early 1950s winning three Calder Cups and three Les Cunningham Awards, given to the league MVP.
“The entire Toronto Maple Leaf organization is deeply saddened following the passing of Johnny Bower,” Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement released by the team. “Johnny was beloved by so many for much more than his Hall of Fame credentials as a player. It was his generosity of spirit, kindness and passion for people that made him a legend at life. The Toronto Maple Leafs, and our fans, are deeply indebted to Johnny for all that he gave to us, and taught us over the years. We will miss him dearly, but we know that his presence will forever be felt by our Club and our city.
“Our deepest sympathies and gratitude go to Nancy, their children and the entire Bower family for sharing their husband, father and grandfather with us for so many years.
“There may not be a more loved Toronto Maple Leaf nor a former player who loved them as much back.”
Here are some other tributes to Bower from social media.
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of hockey icon & Prince Albert, SK. export, Johnny Bower.
[: Toronto Star] pic.twitter.com/HDSSiCkSKC
— Sask. Roughriders (@sskroughriders) December 27, 2017