Allan Stanley died on Oct.18 and although I’m late in mentioning it, at least I am now.
He was a class act who played 21 seasons in the bigs, from 1948, when he broke in with the Rangers, until 1969 when he called it a day after a season in Philadelphia.
Solid as a rock from start to finish. And rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.
Mr. Stanley also suited up with Chicago and Boston, but it was his ten seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs that he is mostly known, where he helped win four Stanley Cups, including the Leafs’ last in 1967 when he and a handful of elderly teammates took out the Habs in six games.
Stanley was 41 at the time.
I saw this fellow play many times, both live and on TV, and although my memory has faded somewhat, I still recall that he was a steady and reliable defenceman, a big fellow who would get the puck up smartly to crafty forwards like Dave Keon, Bob Pulford, and Frank Mahovlich, and who would take no nonsense in his own end.
As much as I can say I despised the Leafs as a whole, I admired greatly the individual Leaf players from then. And that most certainly included Allan Stanley.
Below is a picture I got when I was a kid, after I’d written to the Toronto Star or Telegram asking if I could have one. It’s Maurice Richard in 1960 scoring his final goal, his 626th, and along with Tim Horton, Henri Richard, Dickie Moore and Gerry Ehman is a grimacing Allan Stanley (with the “A” on his sweater), watching as the puck eludes Johnny Bower.
Mr. Stanley was 87 when he passed away. A good long life.