The Morning After: May 3, 1967

TORONTO (June 17) — Rummaging through my large collection of newspapers and sports publications is an ongoing pursuit… and probably will be until I’m beneath the grass. Most items were purchased (or given to me) in the 1980’s and 90’s, so even the newest is more than 30 years old. The images in this photo–blog are from the three Toronto newspapers — the Star, the Telegram (forerunner to the Sun) and the Globe and Mail — dating between January 1964 and April 1977. Included, are pages from May 3, 1967, the morning after the Toronto Maple Leafs won their most–recent Stanley Cup. Visual proof, here, that it actually happened. Also, from the morning (Apr. 7, 1969) after the Leafs fired general manager/coach George (Punch) Imlach; after Darryl Sittler’s still–record 10 points against Boston (Feb. 7, 1976) and the first–ever game for the Toronto Blue Jays (April 7, 1977).

I still marvel at how I came upon several of these pages. In late–summer of 1972, when I was 13, my parents allowed me to move into the large recreation room in our house. It was downstairs; afforded me some privacy; had space for a second bed, a couch and a TV. There were a couple of area rugs in the room, but Mom chose to cover the entire basement with an orange indoor/outdoor carpet. As we removed furniture and lifted the area rugs, there were newspapers from the day after the Maple Leafs last won the Cup. Seriously. Even then I gasped at the discovery from five–plus years earlier, never imagining I’d be writing about the same Cup famine a half–century on.

A couple of other pages were offered me by my lifelong pal, Joel Colomby, who knows a quasi sports–hoarder when he sees one. Joel is the man you can initially blame for my entrance into the media biz. He hired me in May 1979 as a raw, 20–year–old out of college. To join him in the Sports department of the Etobicoke Guardian community newspaper. Just the two of us. And, seven or eight pages to fill every week (the broadsheet came out on Wednesdays). Terrific, hands–on experience with a “boss” who would become my most–trusted friend. When Joel and his wife, Lynne, downsized from house to condo a few years back, he had to “get rid” of some stuff. Along came ol’ Garbage Bags Berger… and am I ever pleased that I didn’t make Joel toss out his newspaper pages.

Not that any Leafs follower would refuse such a gift. But, I felt particularly fortunate.

My favorite page is the one, above, from the old Toronto Telegram. With a rare color photo on the cover of Dave Keon, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, washing his face with champagne from the Stanley Cup. This was the playoff year that cemented Keon’s status as the greatest Leafs player in the first century (1917–2016) of the franchise. The Telegram, at the time, was on shaky footing. It would fold just 4½ years later (Oct. 30, 1971) and be “replaced”, within 48 hours, by the tabloid Toronto Sun. So, any original pages of the Telegram are golden for sports collectors. Newspaper color was in its infancy; virtually all images were still black–and–white. As such, this photo of Keon must have stood out on May 3, 1967. Well worthy of plunking down 10¢ at the local newsstand.

Here are other pages in my collection:

MONDAY, JAN. 20, 1964

You’ve got to be more than 70 years of age to recall, first–hand, this night — a complete antithesis to the Maple Leafs during their run of three consecutive Stanley Cup titles (1962–63–64). People still tell stories about hearing the score mount on Jan. 18, 1964 at Maple Leaf Gardens. The last–place (by many miles) Boston Bruins were somehow demolishing the two–time champs in their own barn. At restaurants, bars and curling clubs all over the city, hockey fans reacted with astonishment. In the end, it became an infamous and now–legendary 11–0 beatdown by the marauders in black and gold. With the late Don Simmons between the iron for all of Boston’s tallies. Only to turn around, the following night, and shut out the first–place Black Hawks in Chicago. Go figure. Both stories appeared on the Sports front of the Monday Globe and Mail (above). With a photo of the old analog score clock at the Gardens as it flashed the gruesome final from Saturday. Gord Walker and Dick Beddoes covered the home match; Ken McKee was with the Leafs in Chicago. Toronto papers did not publish on Sundays back then.


It was the morning after the date now seared into memory for long–time fans of the Leafs. Winning the Stanley Cup was so ordinary, back then, that the Toronto Star (below) featured an alternate story with its red banner headline. The Globe and Mail (above) had a cover photo of the Leaf players congratulating Jim Pappin for scoring the eventual winning goal on Montreal’s Gump Worsley. The Leafs upset the Habs in six games after doing same to Chicago, which ran away with the regular season title in 1966–67. Both newspapers were 10¢ per copy; it cost a whopping 60¢ per week for home delivery of the Star. Several editions were printed each weekday. This four–star item preceded the five–star (or last) issue, which had the final stock market numbers. All Maple Leafs in the Star photo are deceased: Terry Sawchuk (30), Ron Ellis (8), Allan Stanley (26) Tim Horton and Red Kelly (far right).

In 1967, the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP was announced and awarded the day after the last game of the Stanley Cup final. Not on the ice, prior to the Cup being lifted, as today. But, the late, great Star columnist, Jim Proudfoot, had the Smythe scoop (above) in Wednesday’s penultimate edition. Dave Keon, as mentioned, led the way throughout the surprising Cup run of ’67. His playoff heroics during the decade prompted voters, in 2016, to name Keon the best player in the first century of the franchise. Two seasons later (in 1969–70), he would replace George Armstrong as captain of the Maple Leafs, a position he held until Harold Ballard unceremoniously jettisoned Keon (and fellow veteran Norm Ullman) after the 1974–75 season. It led to decades of estrangement between the club and player, which finally ended when Brendan Shanahan told Keon (in 2016) he would retire his No. 14 jersey… and all others (such as Nos. 4, 6, 7 and 17) that were “honored” by the club, but still not officially removed from circulation. Only then did Keon allow his banner to be raised at Scotiabank Arena and his likeness to be bronzed in Legends Row on the west plaza of the building. Montreal goalie Worsley (below) later told reporters he was annoyed that fans at the Gardens had booed his counterpart, Sawchuk, during Game 4: a 6–2 Canadiens romp (legend has it the veteran goalie, expected to back up Johnny Bower, had spent much of the previous night at a local establishment and was, therefore, unfit to perform when Bower hurt himself in the warm up).

George Gross is a legendary name in Toronto media circles. He fled from Communist rule in Czechoslovakia and wound up with a plum job: covering the dynastic Leafs of the 1960’s for the Telegram. He later became first sports editor of the Toronto Sun. On the front of the Telegram Sports section (above) was a photo of the jubilant Leafs poring onto the ice at the final bell. Frank Mahovlich (far left) and Pete Stemkowski were flying over the boards. Veteran Marcel Pronovost (far right) flashed a megawatt smile. Gross graded the Leafs and Canadiens players (below) next to the summary from the now–famous Game 6… and the playoff scoring stats from 1967.


Punch Imlach and King Clancy were tossed into the shower (top–right) at Maple Leaf Gardens — still wearing their suits from the game. After winning multiple Stanley Cups with Detroit in the 1950’s, Terry Sawchuk called the 1967 triumph his “greatest thrill.” He and Johnny Bower backstopped the Leafs to a most–unexpected championship. That’s the veteran goalie, at left, cradling the Cup. Jim Coleman and Bob Pennington were sports columnists at the Telegram (below) and each covered Game 6 of the ’67 Cup final.

MONDAY, APR. 7, 1969

This one even I remember clearly. My father, being the person he is, gave up his ticket and allowed me to attend Game 4 of the 1969 Stanley Cup quarterfinals at Maple Leaf Gardens. With his best pal and business partner, Bernie Kraft. It was my first live playoff match. The Leafs had been humiliated at Boston Garden in the first two games of the series, losing 10–0 and 7–0. The opening match is still remembered for a walloping body check by Leafs defenseman Pat Quinn on Bruins star Bobby Orr that sparked a brawl, late in the game, featuring Toronto winger Forbes Kennedy. In the final game of his career, Kennedy took on all comers (Gerry Cheevers, Eddie Shack, Ted Green) and saved a punch for linesman George Ashley, whom he sent sprawling to the ice. Upshot of this embarrassment is the Leafs were swept in four by Orr, Phil Esposito and Co. Even though the home encounters were each one–goal defeats, Toronto owner Stafford Smythe fired Imlach immediately after the Game 4 that I witnessed in person. All this time later, I remember listening to the news on the radio afterward in Bernie’s car. As he tried to worm his way out of the crammed parking lot across Carlton St. from the main entrance to the Gardens. Obviously, Imlach’s firing was front–page news — subject of the Star’s banner red headline (above) and the cover of the Telegram’s late edition (below). King Clancy, Johnny Bower and Tim Horton did return to the Leafs the following year. While the new Minnesota entry in expansion (the North Stars) overlooked Imlach and chose veteran bird–dog Wren Blair to manage and coach. Imlach returned to the National Hockey League with the expansion Buffalo Sabres in 1970–71 and had the club in the Stanley Cup final (losing to Philadelphia) just five years later. A disastrous second term with the Maple Leafs began in 1979–80 and lasted only two seasons.

MONDAY, FEB. 9, 1976

It remains, all these years later, the most–memorable sports event I’ve attended. I had just turned 17 and was sick as a dog with Crohn’s Disease the night (Feb. 7, 1976) Darryl Sittler erupted against the Boston Bruins at Maple Leaf Gardens. An ordinary Leafs team was about to emerge on the shoulders of arguably the best five skaters the club has ever deployed at one time. When coach Red Kelly sent Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Errol Thompson, Borje Salming and Ian Turnbull over the boards, possibility flourished. But, it turned to absolute improbability on this night, as Sittler demolished the Bruins with six goals and four assists. In more than 48 years, no other player in the NHL has recorded 10 points. Not Wayne Gretzky. Not Mario Lemieux. Not Sidney Crosby. I was on some heavy meds that night, but I’ll never forget sitting in Sec. 42 of the southwest Reds and watching the Sittler count increase. Everything he touched wound up behind beleaguered Bruins goalie Dave Reese. The record output came just a few days after Harold Ballard cryptically told reporters he was “determined to find a sensational center” to play between McDonald and Thompson (Toronto Star, above). The “search” ended with Sittler’s 10 points (Boston was coached at the time by Donald S. Cherry). Sittler finished the 1975–76 season with 100 points, the first Leafs player to reach triple figures. McDonald combined for 27 goals in his first two seasons but erupted for 37 in ’75–76. And, Thompson led the club with 43 goals. Sittler’s record haul was recorded (below) in the Star.

THURSDAY, APR. 7, 1977

Oh, it was cold on that snowy afternoon by the lake. I have no compunction or shame in telling you that I lasted four innings in Sec. 10 at Exhibition Stadium before fleeing to the warmth of my car. No, I did not see all of the first–ever Blue Jays game. Besides, I had to get home for supper and leave again to attend Game 2 of the Stanley Cup preliminary playoff round between the Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins. So, yes, Apr. 7, 1977 was a busy day. Passover, as I recall, from the vague memory of fellow Jewish fans gobbling matzo sandwiches. Any other day and any other event would have led to a weather postponement. Not this day. Not this event. The Toronto Star plastered the early weather news across its late/final edition (above) but held the presses for an EXTRA issue, below, after the Blue Jays had defeated the Chicago White Sox, 9–5.

Did I mention it was cold on those barren, metal benches at the stadium?


7 comments on “The Morning After: May 3, 1967

  1. Another great read Howard! The story about Darryl Sittler’s big night reminded me of a joke that came up shortly after the game. Apparently Dave Reese was so despondent after the game that he jumped in front of a subway train. Fortunately Reese wasn’t hurt – the train went right between his legs.

  2. Howard that was an amazing blog enjoyed by myself and particularly by your your Uncle Ralph. You brought back so many memorable moments in hockey with your amazing photographic memory and accompanying newspaper articles. Some of your memorabilia collection came as the result of some really unbelievable coincidences namely carpet removal revealing important old hockey newspaper articles waiting for you to discover thanks to your Mother. We have a few interesting hockey pics on our sports wall in our home. The famous flying Bobby Orr pic after scoring the winning goal against St. Louis in 1970?? is a favourite. I think you gave it to your Uncle for a birthday gift. We also have a pic of a face off between a Russian hockey player and #27 Frank Mahovalich with Guy Lafleur just outside the circle during one of the Team Canada vs Russia series and I don’t know the year. You write your blog with the most interesting highlights of some of the most memorable moments in sports. I too was at that Blue Jays game freezing to death with the snow flying all around me only I stayed til the end. We read a few other sports blogs but none are as informative or thrilling as yours and that’s a fact. Keep ‘em coming How.

    1. All my best to Dr. Ralph Blatt in his retirement. A fine man and a dedicated dentist. The good doctor loved to talk and at each appointment, we would spend 15 minutes talking sports before he looked into my mouth.

  3. I have a few things in my Leaf nostalgia collection. One is a 30″ x 5.5″ photograph of the 1928-29 Leafs with Smythe standing outside an arena. They didn’t have too many pads in those days. I also have a Montreal program from a January 19,1972 Leaf game which a friend of mine gave me. His dad had Hab season tickets all his life. The program is signed by Guy Lafleur and Jean Beliveau so maybe it is worth something to a die hard Hab fan. My friend also has programs signed by Rocket Richard which he isn’t parting with.

  4. Awesome Howard! You have always been the voice to listen to especially with the Leafs. No bs, straightforward info has and is always your forte. I am 77 years old, a die hard Leaf fan forever. It was so great to read these newspaper articles. Without a doubt at the time I would have read them. Again awesome!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.