FRONT ROW - "Punch" Imlach: manager - coach, George Armstrong: captain, Johnn Basset: board chairman, C. Stafford Smythe: president, Harold E. Ballard: executive vice-president, Bob Pulford, "King" Clancy: assistant manager - coach
SECOND ROW - Johnny Bower, Dave Keon, Larry Hillman, Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich, Tim Horton, Bob Baun, Terry Sawchuk
THIRD ROW - Ron Ellis, Marcel Pronovost, Pete Stemkowski, Allan Stanley, Eddie Shack, Larry Jeffrey, Mike Walton
BACK ROW - Bob Haggert: trainer, Milan Marcetta, Brian Conacher, Jim Pappin, Aut Erickson, Tom Naylor: assistant trainer
The 1966-67 season was the last year of a six team NHL, the league would double to twelve teams the following season. The Leafs had an old veteran team that struggled at the start of the season. Many of the players that won the cup with the Leafs in 62, 63 and 64 figured this was a last kick at the can. But during the middle of the season they had a ten game losing streak, as part of an eleven game winless streak (they had tie games during the regular season back then). The players were getting fed up with the hard nosed coach Punch Imlach and so were the fans. At this point Punch Imlach took a ten game leave of absense due to illness and the Leafs went on a ten game winning streak with the easy going King Clancy coaching the team. When Punch Imlach returned the Leafs continued to do well and they made the playoffs. In the playoffs they were considered heavy underdogs to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and the Montreal Canadiens in the final, but with the solid goaltending of veterans Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk they defeated both teams and the Leafs won the Stanley Cup!!! A lot of years have gone by and the Leafs have still not won another Stanley Cup. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to make a web site for another Leafs Stanley Cup victory.
During the time Eddie “The Entertainer” Shack played for the Leafs in the 1960's they won four Stanley Cups, and Eddie was a fan favourite on the team. He was traded away after the Leafs 1967 Stanley Cup win, but was back with the Leafs in 1973-74, and 1974-75. In the early 1970's is when the fans started to turn on ownership, and become really frustrated with the team. During the games the fans would chant “we want Shack”, until he was sent back onto the ice. He would then skate around like a wild man, and it would bring the fans to their feet.
The Secrets performed in the counter cultural cafes of Toronto's Yorkville during the 1960's, which was a very different Yorkville back then, without the high end shops and restaurants. The band dreamed of making it big, they said they were influenced by groups like The Rascals, and The Animals. Sometime around 1965 Hockey Night In Canada's Brian McFarlane approached them and asked if they would record a song that he wrote for his friend Eddie Shack. They said okay, thinking that it was just a novelty gift for Eddie, and not something that would be played on the radio. The song was not only played on the radio after all, but rose to number one for two weeks on 1050 CHUM Toronto in 1966. The band felt like they were ruined. So much so that they changed their name to Quiet Jungle when recording their following two singles. But the song always continued to haunt them, as it was still being requested constantly.
Eddie lived a few blocks away from me. One day in 2010 while on a walk I saw Eddie outside. I told him I uploaded his song to YouTube, his face lit up, he was so happy. After Eddie passed away I went on YouTube and watched a morning show interview he once did. They started the show off by playing this very video that I made for his song, I was so proud. Later in the show they asked him what the most memorable thing was about his career, he said the song. I got so choked up because I felt like I made something so important to him popular again.
Today goaltending has become very polished, sort of homogeneous. Differences between goaltenders are a lot less noticeable than they once were. Back in the day though, so many goalies had something unique that they brought to the position. For Johnny Bower, it was his famous poke check.