Monday, March 23, 2015

Johnny Bower, 1954/55 Vancouver Canucks Photo


Here's a fantastic photo from the Vancouver Public Library archives. The only information attached to it is Canucks vs. Saskatoon and a date of 1960. No players were identified in the image, but most hockey fans, especially ones of the Toronto Maple Leafs should easily identify the goaltender as the one and only Johnny Bower.

Bower played for the Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League during the 1954/55 season, his 10th professional campaign. The previous season he had played every minute of all 70 games for the New York Rangers in the NHL before losing his job to Gump Worsley. In the six team NHL era, there were simply not enough top-end positions for all the talent available. Bower had already been named MVP three years in a row with Cleveland Barons of the AHL. It would be three more years until Bower was back in the big leagues for good when Punch Imlach acquired him to play for his Maple Leafs in 1958.

This season pictured with Vancouver was like most others for Bower, a terrific one. He would lead the WHL with 7 shutouts and a 2.71 GAA and be named 2nd Team All-Star behind only Edmonton Flyer, Glenn Hall. The Saskatoon Quaker player pictured is defence man Howie Milford who played 9 seasons with the Quakers before retiring in 1959.


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