By HOWARD BERGER
TORONTO (Apr. 7) – Wally Stanowski and Rob Ford were born more than 50 years apart – the former in April 1919; the latter in May 1969. But, the Patriarch of the Maple Leafs and the Mayor of Toronto were like a couple of long-lost pals earlier today at a monthly gathering of hockey oldtimers north of the city.
Ford and his brother-sidekick, Doug, dropped by Shopsy’s Restaurant on Woodbine Ave. and Steelcase Rd. to congratulate Stanowski on his up-coming 95th birthday (Apr. 28) and to recognize him for being the oldest surviving member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stanowski played 282 games for the Blue and White in a pair of stints between 1939 to 1948. He was a member of four Stanley Cup teams including the famed 1942 Maple Leafs – the first of only three National Hockey League clubs to rebound from a 3-0 deficit and win a best-of-seven playoff series (others being the 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers) and the only team to do it in the Stanley Cup final.
A number of fellow NHL oldtimers were on hand to commemorate the occasion. I was there, as well… with my trusty Nikon:
TORONTO MAYOR ROB FORD POSES (ABOVE) WITH WALLY STANOWSKI AND PRESENTS THE OLDEST SURVIVNG MAPLE LEAF WITH A PLAQUE (BELOW) ON BEHALF OF THE CITY.
ROB AND DOUG FORD SANDWICH LEGENDARY MAPLE LEAFS DEFENSEMAN BOB BAUN.
ROB FORD SHARES A JOKE WITH FORMER MAPLE LEAFS GOALIE JOHNNY BOWER (LEFT) AND THEN PRESENTS STANOWSKI WITH THE CITY-FRAMED PLAQUE.
HOCKEY HALL-OF-FAMERS JOHNNY BOWER AND HARRY HOWELL.
BOWER AND HOWELL ARE JOINED BY FORMER TEAMMATE BOB NEVIN. BOWER AND NEVIN PLAYED ON THE MAPLE LEAFS 1962 AND 1963 STANLEY CUP TEAMS. NEVIN AND HOWELL SKATED WITH THE NEW YORK RANGERS FROM 1964 TO 1969.
BOB BAUN AND DANNY LEWICKI (RIGHT), WHO PLAYED 123 GAMES FOR THE MAPLE LEAFS BETWEEN 1950 AND 1954, WINNING THE STANLEY CUP IN 1951.
HAMILTON NATIVE RICK SMITH, 65, PLAYED 687 NHL GAMES BETWEEN 1968 AND 1981 WITH BOSTON BRUINS, CALIFORNIA GOLDEN SEALS, ST. LOUIS BLUES, DETROIT RED WINGS AND WASHINGTON CAPITALS. A DEFENSEMAN, SMITH WAS A MEMBER OF THE BRUINS’ 1970 STANLEY CUP TEAM. HE LATER PLAYED FOR DON CHERRY FROM 1976-79.
HOCKEY CARDS OF RICK SMITH WITH BRUINS AND GOLDEN SEALS.
CALIFORNIA SEALS’ ALUMNI BAUN AND SMITH (NO IDEA WHO THE GUY IN-BETWEEN IS; I ASKED HIM TO MOVE AND HE WOULDN’T). BAUN WAS SEALS’ FIRST CAPTAIN IN 1967.
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