Toe Blake may have been a legendary coach of the Canadiens, but before that he was a player of course, from 1935 until 1948. Toe was even a teammate of Howie Morenz during the 1936 season.
This is one of my Crown Brand photos, (I only have a couple), which were issued between 1935 and 1940. Their size, at 7×8.5, makes them a bit bigger than Beehives, and these photos are nice. Maybe I’ll find a trunk full of them at a garage sale.
Toe wore number 18 in his first season, 1935-36, then went to #16 for the 1936-37 season, and wore number 6 after that until he retired. He was also a very fine player, racking up 235 goals and 297 assists for 527 points in 577 games. Toe also played 8 games for the Montreal Maroons in the 1934-35 season before joining the Canadiens.
I met Toe once, when I was about 9. It was the time, which I’ve mentioned before, when my dad corralled him outside the dressing room in Toronto and asked him if he would take my book into the room and get Doug Harvey to sign it, which Toe did. It never fails to amaze me that the great coach would make this gesture, and that my dad even had the balls to ask him, and it’s one of my favourite stories.