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Hockey Hall of Famer Bower dies at 93

27 december 2017 03:50

Johnny Bower, the Hall of Fame goalie who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win four Stanley Cup titles, died on Tuesday at the age of 93.

John Bower III announced his father's death in a statement, saying the two-time Vezina Trophy winner succumbed to a short battle with pneumonia. 

Bower, who was born on November 8, 1924 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, made his NHL debut with the New York Rangers in 1953 and played for the Vancouver Canucks, who were an AHL team at the time, a season later before returning to the Rangers. After being sent down to the AHL in separate stints with the Providence Reds and Cleveland Barons, Bower was claimed by the Maple Leafs in the 1958 Inter-League Draft. 

He spent 11 seasons with the Maple Leafs and was an All-Star in 1961. The Maple Leafs were a dynasty in the 1960s with Bower in net, winning three straight Stanley Cups from 1962-64 and again in the 1966-67 season. 

While toiling in the AHL, Bower was part of three Calder Cup-championship teams and won the Les Cunningham Award, as the AHL MVP, three times. 

Bower retired in 1970 after 24 professional seasons and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976. After retiring, Bower spent the next 20 years with the Maple Leafs as a scout and coach. 

Bower joined Darryl Sittler and Ted Kennedy in 2014 as the first three inductees of Legends Row with statues outside Toronto's Air Canada Centre. Bower was featured on postage stamps in 2004 as part of the NHL All-Stars Collection and the Royal Canadian Mint featured Bower on a non-circulating 50-cent coin in 2005. He was added to the Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto in 2007.

"Johnny was beloved by so many for much more than his Hall of Fame credentials as a player," the Maple Leafs said in a statement.

"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."

Bower leaves behind his wife of 69 years, Nancy, and their three children, along with eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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