The Toronto Maple Leafs mourn the passing of Howie Meeker at the age of 97. A four-time Stanley Cup winner with Toronto, Howie was also named one of The One Hundred Greatest Maple Leafs of all-time.
Howie still holds the NHL record for goals in one game by a rookie (5), and would be awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie upon the conclusion of the 1946-47 season.
In 1951, from behind the net, Meeker would set up one of the most famous goals in hockey history, Bill Barilko's overtime Cup winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens.
Meeker served in World War II and was injured by a grenade, suffering 44 shrapnel wounds and two fractured legs. Howie wrote to Leafs Coach Hap Day from his hospital bed in England, asking him to take him off the Leafs player list.
Following his record-setting five-goal game, the following was written in the Globe and Mail, "Howie Meeker, the spirited little hockey player with the crew cut hair-cut, who two years ago lay in a military hospital in England, his legs shattered with many shrapnel wounds wondering if he would ever skate again, went on a wild scoring spree to net five goals and pace the league-leading Toronto Maple Leafs to a one-sided 10-4 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks at Maple Leaf Gardens last night."
A legendary Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster, a recipient of both the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award and the Order of Canada, Howie also served as a member of Parliament for Waterloo South.
Howie is survived by his wife Leah, his six children - daughters Jane Tucker (husband Walter), Peggy Barbour, Kim Horwood and sons Howie Jr., Mike & Andy - 13 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, his sisters-in-law Jean Meeker and Anne Hammer, brother-in-law Ken Hammer and many beloved nieces, nephews and friends. A memorial will be held in New Hamburg, Ontario at a future date.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Howie's family.