Tag Archives: Red Kelly

Outside the Church


Bob Haggert, trainer for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1960s, got married in Orillia to a local girl who was the daughter of someone my grandmother knew. So my grandmother told me about the wedding at a church in Orillia (St. Paul’s United Church on Peter St) and I went up there and there were a whole bunch of Leafs standing outside the church talking and smoking and probably commenting on how hot the bride was.

I was about 11 or 12, and I remember only Dave Keon and Red Kelly. The rest are a blur. And I swear on my mother’s grave, the next morning at my own church, Guardian Angels, Keon and his wife sat right in front of me and my family!

Most of the circa 1962 Toronto Maple Leafs were standing outside a church in Orillia, and the only other person there was a little guy who appreciated the whole thing but probably wished they were Montreal Canadiens instead.

Howe Loved His Car, And Other Tidbits

 Stories From Various “The Hockey News'” Over The Years:

Oct. 1, 1947 – More Canadian hockey players have married American girls while playing with Hershey than any other US city.

Oct. 13, 1948 – According to rave notices, the best young goalie in professional hockey circles will be in the nets for the Indianapolis Capitals during the 1948-49 American League season. He is Terry Sawchuk.

Feb. 10, 1951 – There are 10 Detroit Red Wing bachelors and the writer wants to know if you are woman-haters or the right one just hasn’t come along. “Only been in love once in my life – that was with my first car, a ’34 Chevy,” said Gordon Howe. Red Kelly chipped in: “Brunettes or blondes are fine, but I can’t get along with another redhead. I want a wife who’s a good cook. A brunette would do for me.”

Oct. 11, 1958 – Doug Harvey, vice-president and director of the NHL players’ pension fund, admitted player representatives were not sure their pension was being handled properly and asked the owners to allow a survey to be taken.

Oct. 24, 1964 – The NHL’s new rule that forbids a goalie to from deliberately falling on the puck may change the way goalies are penalized. For example, in the recent All-Star game, goalie Charlie Hodge was victimized when he smothered the puck and was given the first penalty ever incurred by a goalkeeper in the 18-year history of the classic.

Nov. 3, 1972 – Harold Ballard, president of Maple Leaf Gardens and Toronto Maple Leafs, was sentenced Oct. 20 to three years in the Kingston Penitentiary for fraud and theft. The nearly 70 year old Ballard, who was convicted Aug. 15 of 47 counts of fraud and theft involving $205,000 diverted from the Gardens, was emotionally shaken by the sentence.

March 8, 1974 – The world of hockey is mourning the death of one of its greatest competitors, Tim Horton. The 44-year old Buffalo Sabres defenceman was killed in a single car accident at 4:30 a.m. Feb. 21 near St. Catherines, Ont. Horton was returning from Toronto where the Sabres had played a game.

Feb. 4, 1983 – The Seattle Breakers of the Western League swapped the rights to left winger Tom Martin in exchange for a used bus.

Shooting The Breeze Outside A Church With The Toronto Maple Leafs


Bob Haggert, trainer for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1960’s, got married in Orillia to a local girl who was the daughter of someone my grandmother knew. So my grandmother told me about the upcoming wedding at a church in Orillia and I went up there and there were a whole bunch of Leafs standing outside the church talking and smoking and probably commenting on how hot the bride was.

I was about 11 or 12, and I remember only Dave Keon and Red Kelly. The rest are a blur. But if you put the whole thing in perspective, most of the Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Maple Leafs were standing outside a church in Orillia, and the only other person there was a little guy who appreciated the whole thing but probably wished they were Montreal Canadiens instead.

Jean Beliveau Gives His Thoughts While In Vancouver

Jean Beliveau was in Vancouver this weekend and gave a really nice interview with The Province’s Jim Jamieson. I thought you might like it. 


Q: What does the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens mean to you?

A: I find myself to be very fortunate to be part of it; I’ve been with them since Oct. 3, 1953 when I signed my first contract. I’m a very lucky man. I’ve never been traded and been with the organization for 55 years.


Q: How is your health these days? You had some health issues about eight years ago.

A: One morning I was shaving and noticed something on my neck. It turned out to be a malignant tumour. I had 36 treatments of radiation. It’s been 8 1/2 years and we are more optimistic every year.


Q: How many children do you and your wife have?

A: I have one daughter who is 51 and two grand-daughters, 24 and 22. The first one is an artist, she paints; and the second is a nurse.


Q: You auctioned off some of your memorabilia earlier this year in aid of the Jean Beliveau Foundation. What does your foundation do?

A: When I retired in 1971, the Canadiens presented me with a cheque for $155,000 and I turned it into a fund. In 1993, I turned it over to the Quebec Society for Crippled Children. Now the foundation is worth about $1.5 million and we have given about $1.5 million. I’m very proud.


Q: You were a part of the great Canadiens teams that won five straight Stanley Cups in the last half of the 1950’s. With today’s salary cap in the NHL, do you think we’ll ever see that happen again?

A: In today’s hockey it’s going to be difficult. A team is built around four or five guys, if you’re lucky enough to have them. But it’s very difficult to keep them now. If you start playing young, you’re free at 26. Teams have to rebuild all the time.


Q: We seem to be seeing more hits from behind and shots to the head today. What would you do to reduce it?

A: I played 23 years and never wore a helmet. I don’t know how players can hit someone from behind when he’s facing the glass. I have a hard time with that. I hope the league finds a way to get rid of it before somebody gets seriously hurt. If you’re suspended it hits the pocketbook.


Q: Who was the most difficult goaltender, defenceman and forward that you ever played against?

A: I always had a lot of respect for Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk. On defence there were some great ones – Bobby Orr, because of his speed, won the scoring championship. Red Kelly in Detroit also, but every team had a great defenceman when there was just six teams. At forward, I always had respect for Gordie Howe. He could do everything. Every time we played Chicago I was out against [Stan] Mikita and against Toronto it was [Dave] Keon. The Rangers had Jean Ratelle and [Rod] Gilbert, but there were so many others.


Q: Who was the best player you played with on the Canadiens?

A: Well, Maurice [Richard] of course, but I used to play with him mostly on the power play. My line was [Bernie “Boom Boom”] Geoffrion and Bert Olmstead, so we had two offensive lines and a good checking line. Also, we had Doug Harvey on defence. He could control the speed of the game like a general out there.


Q: The Canadiens power play was so dominant in the 1950’s that you actually forced the NHL to change the minor-penalty rule because your team would often score multiple goals on the same man advantage.

A: We had Maurice on the right, Bert Olmstead or Dickie Moore on the left, and and Harvey and Geoffrion on the point. One night against Boston (Nov. 5, 1955) I got three goals in 44 seconds on the power play. So they changed the rule that a player would come out of the box after one goal.


Q: How have you seen the NHL change through expansion?

A: I’m not surprised there are a few cities in the south that seem to have problems. Here in Canada, everybody has skated and they know about the game. In the morning when I check the summary of the games, I look at shots and attendance. In the US, the attendance is increasing it seems after the Super Bowl.


Copyright (c) The Province

The Beatles And The Habs – A Winning Combination.


On August 17th, in 1966, the Beatles played an afternoon show in Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens.

I was there.

I was 15 years old and had a summer job as a highway construction slave labourer, but the boss let me go early and I went down to Toronto from Orillia with a disc jockey my sister worked with at the local radio station. She had got word to me just that morning that he was going and asked if I would like to go with him. I didn’t have a ticket, but believe it or not, the show wasn’t sold out and I got a $5.50 ticket in the very last row of the floor.

It was madness, of course. There were about six bands in the lineup, and the Beatles in the finale played for about 40 minutes with girls screaming and fainting and carrying on.

That fall, hockey season began, and the next spring, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Habs in six games to win their last Stanley Cup.

The Leafs were an old team with guys like Terry Sawchuk, Johnny Bower, Red Kelly, and Allan Stanley, but Montreal wasn’t that young either. Henri Richard was 30, John Ferguson 27, Claude Provost was 32, Dick Duff 30, Ted Harris 30, Jean-Guy Talbot was 34, Jean Beliveau was 35, and the goalies, Gump Worsley and Charlie Hodge, were 37 and 33 respectively.

Of course, Montreal also had the kiddies. Yvon Cournoyer was all of 22. Claude Larose was 23. Jacques Laperriere 24. And Serge Savard and Carol Vadnais were just 20.

John and Ringo were 26, Paul 24, and George 23.

The Habs have continued on over the years in mostly glorious fashion. The Beatles remain in the hearts of millions.

And the Leafs continue to suck.

It’s No Big Deal. I’ve Got A Better Song In Mind


“TSN reports CTV has acquired the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song.  The song, which was created by Vancouver’s Dolores Claman in 1968, will now be used in NHL broadcasts on TSN and RDS beginning this Fall. In addition, CTV will utilize the song as part of its hockey coverage during the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”


I guess a new song is needed for Hockey Night in Canada.


So at this time, June 9, 2009, I would like to nominate Johnny Bower’s “Honky The Christmas Goose” as the new theme song to replace the old.


Here’s a little background to make you more familiar.


During the 1965-66 season, songwriter Chris Young visited Maple Leaf Gardens to see if any of the Leafs might be interested in becoming recording stars. He talked to cool cat hipsters like Punch Imlach, Red Kelly and the other Leaf rockers, and Johnny Bower, who reminded many at that time as a cross between John Lennon, Frank Zappa, and Bob Dylan, agreed to do it as long as any profits went to charity.

Bower and a bunch of kids including his son Johnny Jr., then became know as Johnny Bower and the Rinky-Dinks, and the rest was history.

The Rinky-Dinks came out with Honky the Christmas Goose, with the flipside being Banjo the Mule. There was no word at the time about if you played either song backwards, there was a hidden message, possibly some meaning of life morsels from spiritual guru Eddie Shack.

Honky debuted on Toronto’s CHUM chart at number 42, and went up against the obviously inferior Beatles and their songs “We Can Work it out” and “Day Tripper.” Sales of Honky exceeded 40,000, and it finally bottomed out at number 29 on the CHUM chart.

The Beatles, for whatever reason, and unfair as it was, did better than the Rinky-Dinks. Some things in life defy explanation.

Early the next day news:
Ron Wilson has his press conference after being announced as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. My prediction is: He’s going to lose his friggin mind after a few months into the season.

The Boys Are Playing Large: Like The ’67 Leafs

On Tuesday night, Montreal beat the Islanders 3-1. There’s only one thing to say about this. The Habs are playing really, really well. As we speak, they’re one of the top teams in the east.

Last year at this time, after 45 games, Montreal had 55 points. This year, after the same amount of games, the team has 54 points. BUT! Last year, they won only 4 of their next 16 games. That won’t happen this year. Kovalev’s at the top of his game, so’s Plekanec and Huet, and the Kostitsyn’s are here this year.

The general consensus is that a team like Detroit, or Anaheim and Ottawa, or maybe New Jersey or Pittsburgh, are the ones that have so much going for them, they’re the odds-on favourites to win the Cup. Any of them.

But n 1967, Toronto won the Cup and they weren’t supposed to. They were a team of really old guys like Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk, Allan Stanley, Bob Baun, Tim Horton, Red Kelly etc. and they defied the odds, and the general consensus. They were far from the favourites. (Please note: I’m no Leaf fan.)

Without getting carried away here, maybe Montreal can surprise people and go deep into the playoffs. Just like the ’67 Leafs. It’s that power of positive thinking again.

As an aside –

When Toronto won in 1967, they played and beat Montreal in the final, 4 games to two. The kicker is that Montreal had won the past two years before that, and won the next two years after that. So if Toronto hadn’t pulled off that big upset, Montreal would have won five straight Cups, like they did from 1955 to ’60.