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Sport Hockey royalty pays tribute to Johnny Bower

01:00  04 january  2018
01:00  04 january  2018 Source:   ap.org

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Some of hockey ' s biggest names gathered at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday to pay tribute to Hall of Fame goaltender Johnny Bower . He died Dec. 26 at age 93 after falling ill with pneumonia. Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said Bower was a player respected by teammates and opponents

Hockey royalties paid tribute to johnny bower by j. News TORONTO (AP) Fans and a Who’ s Who of hockey remembered Johnny Bower as a great goaltender and a

Nancy Bower, wife of the late NHL great Johnny Bower, watches a tribute to her husband with former Toronto Maple Leafs players Frank Mahovlich, left, and Dave Keon, right, prior to a hockey game between the Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)© The Associated Press Nancy Bower, wife of the late NHL great Johnny Bower, watches a tribute to her husband with former Toronto Maple Leafs players Frank Mahovlich, left, and Dave Keon, right, prior to a hockey game between the Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO — Some of hockey's biggest names gathered at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday to pay tribute to Hall of Fame goaltender Johnny Bower.

Those in attendance included NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Team Canada hero Paul Henderson, Canadiens great Yvon Cournoyer and Maple Leafs icons Dave Keon, Red Kelly, Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour.

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Canadian hockey legend Johnny Bower ' s casket is observed by fans, friends, and family at a celebration of life ceremony at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Wednesday. TORONTO — Fans and a Who' s Who of hockey remembered Johnny Bower as a great goaltender and a better man.

Canadian hockey legend Johnny Bower ' s widow, Nancy Bower , sits in the front row of a celebration of life ceremony at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on There was no entitlement in Johnny Bower ," Shanahan said. Keon reminded listeners that prior to Bobby Baun scoring his storied overtime winner

The entire current Leafs team also was there to honor one of the franchise's beloved players.

Bower spent 11 seasons with the Maple Leafs and led them to four Stanley Cup titles, including their last in 1967. He hung up his skates in 1970, but remained a beloved face of the franchise and a symbol of past glory days. His patented poke check was imitated by goaltenders growing up in Toronto long after he left the game.

He died Dec. 26 at age 93 after falling ill with pneumonia.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said Bower was a player respected by teammates and opponents alike.

"I've seen videos recently of him helping a Montreal Canadien who had crashed into his net get untangled., I've seen even Gordie Howe put his arm around him after just losing the Stanley Cup to Johnny Bower and the Toronto Maple Leafs," Shanahan said. "That's what people thought of him."

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Some of hockey ' s biggest names gathered at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday to pay tribute to Hall of Fame goaltender Johnny Bower .

Fans and a Who' s Who of hockey remembered Johnny Bower as a great goaltender and a better man Wednesday.

The Leafs, in their first game at home since Bower's passing, wore jerseys with Bower's name and No. 1, during warmups prior to Tuesday night's 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Four generations of Bowers. including Nancy, his wife of 69 years, accompanied by Leafs greats watched a pregame tribute from ice-level that drew a prolonged standing ovation.

Bower, who became known as the China Wall, was happily playing in the minors in Cleveland when he was picked up by Toronto almost 50 years ago. He said he only showed up to avoid being suspended for not reporting.

He was already 33 when he played his first season for the Leafs, but seemed to get better with age. He played 12 seasons in Toronto before retiring at 45.

"His road to the Maple Leafs and the four Cups was much bumpier harder and longer than many of us," Keon said. "And yet, he became the centerpiece of our team. Winning the Cup takes heart, but John was our soul."

Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976, Bower's No. 1 was raised to the rafters in Maple Leafs Gardens in 1995 and permanently retired in 2016 when he was voted the seventh-best Leaf in the franchise's centennial season.

In 2014, the two-time Vezina Trophy winner was an inaugural member of Legends Row, a line of statues honoring Maple Leafs icons.

The 48th Highlanders, who have played at Toronto's home openers since 1931, opened the service.

Fans sat in the stands of Air Canada Centre, with the arena floor reserved for family and special guests.

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For more NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey


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