'67 Leafs: One for the ages

1967 Maple Leaf, Dave Keon. (Archive Photo)

1967 Maple Leaf, Dave Keon. (Archive Photo)

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:30 PM ET

TORONTO -- It's been 40 years of heartache for Toronto Maple Leaf fans.

Waiting and waiting for another Stanley Cup.

Living off 1967, the last of a string of glory years for the Leafs.

At least 16 players from that Stanley Cup championship team have confirmed that they'll take part in ceremonies preceding the Edmonton-Toronto game Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, and most plan to attend a dinner March 22 to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The late Punch Imlach, never one to hand out many plaudits, had this summation of the '67 Leafs: ''They may not have been the best players, (but) they never quit, never let me beat them and they sure as hell weren't going to let the other team win.''

That character remains evident in the 40 years since their Cup triumph.

Here's a look at what the players who dressed for the Leafs in the '67 playoffs did then and what has become of them today:

GOALTENDERS

JOHNNY BOWER

- Then: After a mediocre regular season, he returned to form in the playoffs before getting hurt in the best-of-seven final against Montreal, won 4-2 by the Leafs.

- Post '67: Played until 1969-70. Became a Leafs' scout, ran a goaltending school, did TV commercials, co-authored The China Wall with Bob Duff.

TERRY SAWCHUK

- Then: Had a record of 15-5-4 in 1966-67, a 2.65 GAA in the playoffs, allowed just two goals in Games 5 and 6 vs. Montreal.

- Post '67: Claimed by Los Angeles in the expansion draft. In 1970, after play-fighting with teammate Ron Stewart, he developed gall bladder problems and died of complications.

DEFENCE

BOB BAUN

- Then: Though Baun won four Stanley Cups with the Leafs, he saw less duty when Toronto switched to a four-man defence in the '67 playoffs.

- Post '67: Bounced around the NHL after expansion, but returned to the Leafs between 1970-73. Operated several Tim Hortons franchises in the GTA. Now writing books.

TIM HORTON

- Then: A physically dominant defenceman of his day.

- Post '67: Played more games on defence (1,185) than any Leaf except Borje Salming. Opened a donut chain that's now a Canadian staple. Died at 44 in 1974 in a car accident.

ALLAN STANLEY

- Then: Teamed effectively with Horton as his stay-at-home partner.

- Post '67: Retired in 1969. Owned a hockey school and golf resort near Fenelon Falls. Retired to Florida.

LARRY HILLMAN

- Then: Hillman and Marcel Pronovost were the most effective at shutting down the opposition in the playoffs.

- Post '67: Played for eight NHL teams and in the WHA before retiring in the mid-1970s. Coached the WHA's Winnipeg Jets, operated a hunting/fishing lodge in Kirkland Lake, just moved to St. Catharines.

MARCEL PRONOVOST

- Then: Angry when the Canadiens boasted of putting the Cup in the Quebec Pavillion at Expo '67, he was determined it would go on display in the Ontario building.

- Post '67: Played until his early 40s in the minors and then entered the coaching and scouting ranks. He has his name on the Cup from 1950 with Detroit and 2003 with the Devils, the longest gap in the history of the trophy.

AUT ERICKSON

- Then: One game in the playoffs put the Lethbridge native on the Cup.

- Post '67: Ended career in 1970 with the Oakland Seals, coached the minor-league Phoenix Roadrunners. Lives in Phoenix, retired after working for America West Airlines.

FORWARDS

RW JIM PAPPIN

- Then: Second-line winger had the last Cup-winning goal in team history and is the last Leaf to lead the playoffs in scoring.

- Post '67: Traded to Chicago, he was a valued member of the Blackhawks and then ended his career with California and Cleveland. Scouted for Chicago and Edmonton, worked for Club Car, a golf cart company.

C PETER STEMKOWSKI

- Then: Centered the line that shut down the faster Canadiens.

- Post '67: Traded in the Frank Mahovlich blockbuster to Detroit in 1968. Recently ended a long career as a colour analyst with NHL teams such as the Islanders and Sharks.

LW BOB PULFORD

- Then: Team's alternate captain scored a double-overtime goal in Game 5.

- Post '67: Coached L.A. and Blackhawks, experiencing playoff losses to the Leafs in 1975 and '86, respectively. Now a Hawks' senior VP.

LW FRANK MAHOVLICH

- Then: It was perhaps Mahovlich's worst year with the Leafs, just 18 goals and an ongoing feud with Imlach, but he rebounded in the playoffs.

- Post '67: Traded to Detroit with Stemkowski, Garry Unger and the rights to Carl Brewer for Norm Ullman, Paul Henderson and Floyd Smith. Won two Cups with Montreal and played with the WHA's Toronto Toros, ran a travel agency and has served in the senate as a Liberal since 1998.

C DAVE KEON

- Then: A force at both ends of the ice, Keon could skate, be a playmaker, check and kill penalties. He was rewarded with the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

- Post '67: He endured Harold Ballard and the gradual decline in club fortunes until a full divorce drove him to the WHA in 1975. Moved to Florida, took up real estate.

C MIKE WALTON

- Then: ''Shakey'' didn't even have 40 games of NHL experience when Imlach gave him a full-time playoff role.

- Post '67: Dealt to Boston where he became one of the few '67 Leafs to win another Cup. Retired in 1979, has worked in real estate in Toronto.

LW BRIAN CONACHER

- Then: Replaced the injured Larry Jeffrey on a line with Red Kelly and Ron Ellis.

- Post '67: Ended playing career with Detroit and the national team. Did broadcast analysis for the first Canada-Russia series, managed Copps Coliseum and the Gardens, now working on books about the '72 series and the Gardens in the 1990s.

C RED KELLY

- Then: Underrated two-way player had a big role in '67 in the regular season and playoffs. Game 6 against Montreal was his 1,480th and last in the NHL.

- Post '67: Coached the Kings and Penguins, but most notably the Leafs from 1973-77. Retired from the aerospace industry and is recovering from abdominal surgery.

RW GEORGE ARMSTRONG

- Then: Scored the empty-net clinching goal vs. the Habs, but played in only nine of the 12 playoff games.

- Post '67: Stayed with the Leafs until 1971, setting club record with 1,187 games. Won two Memorial Cups coaching the Marlies. Became a scout with Quebec, still works for Toronto, coached the Leafs briefly in 1988-89.

RW RON ELLIS

- Then: Young winger rarely went out of position. Led the team in regular-season scoring with 22 goals.

- Post '67: Remained in Toronto until 1979, one of just five to play in more than 1,000 games as a Leaf. After working in insurance and sporting goods, has been with the Hockey Hall Of Fame since the early 1990s.

LW LARRY JEFFREY

- Then: After fighting injuries his whole career, he was hurt in Chicago semi-final.

- Post '67: Retired with the Rangers in 1969. Has worked in scouting, t-shirt promotion and tugboat operations. He currently owns standardbred horses in Goderich.

RW EDDIE SHACK

- Then: ''The Entertainer'' was an extra foward, but lightened the dressing-room atmosphere as a foil to heavy-handed Imlach.

- Post '67: Dumped by Imlach after the Cup, he drifted through four teams, but returned for two Leaf seasons. Pushing everything from Christmas trees to soda pop.

C MILAN MARCETTA

- Then: A 30-year-old minor leaguer who got the chance of a lifetime, a few shifts in the playoffs.

- Post '67: Soon went back into obscurity. Ran a hockey school in Anchorage, Alaska, worked in building maintenance. Slowed by a bout with emphysema.

GM/COACH

GEORGE 'PUNCH' IMLACH

- Then: Briefly went to the hospital with suspected heart problems during the regular season, but regained his touch in the playoffs.

- Post '67: Fired in 1969, he built the expansion Buffalo Sabres, then returned briefly as Leafs GM in 1979-81. He died in 1987.


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