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December 26, 2017 7:36 pm  #1

Maple Leafs legend Johnny Bower dead at age 93

As noted in the Irv Weinstein thread, it's been a brutal end of the year. Leaf legend Johnny Bower is the third big name to die in the last few days. He wasn't just a hockey player, of course, but became a personality on his own.

And his connection to this board? His "Honky The Christmas Goose" became a staple on CHUM during the Christmas season, and still gets played on some stations during the Yuletide season today. 

The former Leaf goalie was 93.

Maple Leafs legend Johnny Bower dead at age 93

The story behind "Honky the Christmas Goose"


December 27, 2017 11:30 am  #2

Re: Maple Leafs legend Johnny Bower dead at age 93

Johnny was my guy.  When I first started to get interested in the Leafs Harry Lumley had just been given a 'shot' at 'it'.  Ed Chadwick was hovering about and folks remembered Turk Broda with a whole LOT of fondness.  Then along came this Bower guy and all of a the Habs ended their 5 consecutive year span of dominance...the Leafs began to show signs of resurgence.  There was this Imlach guy...a rookie of the year named Mahovlich...a trade to land a defenceman from Detroit who was going to, instead, play centre and check Jean Beliveau...the ouster of names like Brian and Barry Cullen, Marc Reaume and a Winnipeg Blue Bomber full-back named Jerry James...the addition of a solid Horton/Stanley, Brewer/Baun defence, Harris, Olmstead, Duff, Pulford, Nevin, McMillan, Keon, Litzenberger, Shack, Ron Stewart [the hockey player...rather than the diminutive Ottawa Rough Rider 1/2 back] and, of course, the Chief and all of a was Toronto Cup, Cup, Cup, oops, whoops and Cup.

Now, historically, a key ingredient [plus Terry Sawchuck helping lift 1/2 the load in 1967] and a legend was instilled, enshrined and anointed.  My guy passed away yesterday.

I cried.


December 27, 2017 11:44 am  #3

Re: Maple Leafs legend Johnny Bower dead at age 93

P.S.  I almost forgot to mention Chicago with Stan, Eric...and Bobby, The Balfours...and Glen...and Red Hay...along with the previously mentioned Eddie Litzenberger, Moooooooose, and future Leafs named Al Arbour and Pierre Pilote.   They would slide in to claim the 1961 version of 'the cup'.  'They' [the Chicago Stadium...where they once played an N.F.L.(football) game...used to have a great big [well fed] guy who would come out and clean debris off of the ice.  Even if it was in black and white...the Stanley cup playoffs that is...and all two rounds of gave a young fan the chance to bare witness to the various rinks around the entire breadth and width of the N.H.L.  It was magic...and THAT even if the Chicago games didn't start until 9:00 [eastern].  It was past my bedtime but my parents knew that I even watched the Hamilton Jr B's on CHCH.  [Mind you...Jr. A [OHA] hockey was better and I cheered for the Marlies, the Majors and the Maroons...for 1 season.  Teams owned territories and, as a result, the young players who lived there-in.  Draft?  Draft was a beer option...although not for a young buck like me.  How the Hell Boston stole Bobby Orr from Toronto is beyond my comprehension it was then.

Johnny Bower was so great that we allowed Caesar Maniago and Gerry Cheevers to slip on through to the other side as well.  Cheevers!!!  Man!!!   It was so much more fun and interesting then.  Now?  It's just a friggin' business.

Bye Johnny.  93 is a golden age.  So was your 'time'. 

[and he and Gordie were fishin' buddies.]
While I loved the Leafs and every other team was shyte...The Black Hawks, far and away, had THE BEST uniforms.  They still do.  [The Leafs a close 2nd.]

Oh...and sometimes...if the TV was already spoken for...I would listen to Foster 'call' the game on CBC radio.  CKFH?  Maybe.  I dunno.  It wasn't on *my* radar at that tender age.  See?  We're back on topic.

Last edited by Old Codger (December 27, 2017 12:02 pm)