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Etched in History

Etched in History

Maple Leafs made it three straight Cup titles in 1963-64

Champions featured in NHL.com series about winners being removed from trophy

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / NHL.com Columnist

Every 13 years when the bottom band of the Stanley Cup is filled, the top band is removed and retired to be displayed in the vault of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The current top band, featuring NHL championship teams from 1953-54 to 1964-65, is coming off, and four bands below it are sliding up one place to make room for a fresh fifth band at the bottom that will begin with the 2017-18 Washington Capitals. Each day through Oct. 2, NHL.com will look at one of the 12 Cup-winning teams leaving hockey's most coveted trophy.

 

1963-64 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Regular-season record: 33-25-12 (78 points), third in NHL
Coach: Punch Imlach
Captain: George Armstrong
Names on the Cup: 27
Players on the Cup: 19
Future Hall of Fame players on the Cup: George Armstrong, Andy Bathgate, Johnny Bower, Dick Duff, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Pulford, Allan Stanley

 

Stanley Cup engraving anomalies: G Punch Imlach is misspelled G PUNCH IMIACH; Frank King Clancy is misspelled FRANK KING CLANCE; G Armstrong is misspelled G ARMSTROG.

A name on the Cup: The final name listed is that of untitled stickboy Hugh Hoult, appearing after those of trainer Robert Haggert and assistant trainer Thomas Nayler. Hoult's father, Jack, was married to one of Maple Leafs founder Conn Smythe's daughters. Hugh Hoult, a Smythe grandson, also appears untitled on the Cup for 1962 and is listed as an assistant trainer for 1963.

 

How they made history

For the second time, the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup for a third straight season, having scored a championship hat trick in 1947, '48 and '49.

For the only time in the Original Six era (1942-67), the two NHL Semifinals and the Stanley Cup Final went to seven games.

The Final between Toronto and the Detroit Red Wings took nail-biting to a new level. Games 2 (a 4-3 Detroit win) and 6 (a 4-3 Toronto win) went to overtime. The Maple Leafs won 3-2 in Game 1 on Bob Pulford's shorthanded goal with two seconds remaining in the third period, and Alex Delvecchio scored with 17 seconds remaining in the third to give the Red Wings a 3-2 victory in Game 3.

A backhand shot by Toronto Maple Leafs center Dave Keon sails just wide, the puck seen between the goal post and left pad of Detroit Red Wings goalie Terry Sawchuk.

 

Game 6 grew to mythical proportions thanks to Maple Leafs defenseman Bob Baun, who took a shot by Red Wings forward Gordie Howe off his ankle late in the third period and left the Detroit Olympia ice on a stretcher with a suspected fracture. But with his ankle injected with painkillers and heavily taped, Baun returned for overtime and incredibly scored at 1:43 when his shot caromed off Detroit defenseman Bill Gadsby and past goalie Terry Sawchuk. Baun also played Game 7, the ankle again having been injected and taped; an X-ray afterward showed a hairline fracture of his fibula.

"Nothing could have held Baun back," Maple Leafs coach Punch Imlach said. "He had a charge in him that would have blown up the rink."

Video: 1964 Cup Final, Gm6: Baun breaks leg, scores in OT

Baun wasn't the only hobbled player on the winners. Forward Red Kelly had a numbing injection in his knee but played Game 7 on ligaments so badly mangled in a Game 6 collision that he collapsed on his way to the showers after the series finale. He was taken to the hospital. Also given injections before the game were forward George Armstrong (shoulder) and defenseman Carl Brewer (rib cartilage).

Maple Leafs goalie Johnny Bower was magnificent at the most critical time, making 33 saves in a 4-0 victory in Game 7. Andy Bathgate, acquired from the New York Rangers in a seven-player trade Feb. 22, 1964, scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal at 3:04 of the first period. The Maple Leafs entered the day of the trade 24-21-10 but went 9-4-2 down the stretch.

Bathgate, the Rangers' leading scorer the previous eight seasons, was overjoyed by his good fortune.

Andy Bathgate, traded to the Maple Leafs two months earlier by the New York Rangers, celebrates the Cup victory in Toronto's dressing room.

 

"I've been around a long time waiting for something like this," he said, pressing the Stanley Cup overhead. "I didn't know it would take a trade to get me to the Cup celebration, but I couldn't be happier."

The Maple Leafs won their 10th Stanley Cup championship, second to the 13 won by the Montreal Canadiens to that point, though one of Montreal's titles came in 1915-16, before the 1917 birth of the NHL.

"They acted like champions and they played like champions," Imlach said. "Three of them went out there with their legs frozen (by injection). What more can I say? What more could I ask? I've never seen them up as high as they were before tonight's game. They clomped around here on their skates and hollered. Usually, you know, they just sit around and act casual. But tonight, boy, they were really going."

Video: 1964 Stanley Cup Film: Leafs Win 3rd Consecutive Cup

Armstrong, the captain, praised Toronto's grit in Eric Zweig's 2017 book, "The Toronto Maple Leafs: The Complete Oral History." "I've never seen the team more worked up," Armstrong was quoted as saying. "There's only one explanation and the best word I can think of is heart. Think of what Kelly and Baun went through, playing with those injuries.

"Look at (defenseman) Allan Stanley. Physically, he should be washed up but he's got heart when the games really count. Look at Johnny Bower. How else can you account for him? Hell, he gets tuckered out when we go for a walk in the afternoon but look at the way he's played. And with guys like that coming through, the others have an example to live up to and they dig in and work."

Detroit Red Wings icon Gordie Howe raises a glass to Toronto's championship with Maple Leafs coach Punch Imlach.

 

Canadian prime minister Lester B. Pearson visited Toronto's dressing room, offering congratulations to Kelly before the latter's collapse and exit to the hospital via ambulance. Kelly, who scored the Maple Leafs' third goal, was an elected member of Canada's Parliament from 1962-65, serving the Toronto area under Liberal Party leader Pearson.

A modest civic celebration was held in the Toronto rain two days later without two key players. Baun slipped getting into his car for the victory parade and further injured his ankle; Kelly, the winner of four Stanley Cup titles with Detroit and three with Toronto to that point (he won another in 1967 with the Maple Leafs), was back in Ottawa, sitting in the House of Commons to represent his constituents.

Toronto defenseman Bob Baun scored to win Game 6 of the Final in overtime despite an ankle injury, then had a joyful moment with the Stanley Cup after Game 7.

 

[Read all Etched in History stories: 1953-54 Red Wings | 1954-55 Red Wings | 1955-56 Canadiens |

1956-57 Canadiens | 1957-58 Canadiens | 1958-59 Canadiens | 1959-60 Canadiens |

1960-61 Black Hawks | 1961-62 Maple Leafs | 1962-63 Maple Leafs | 1964-65 Canadiens]

 

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Won Semifinal 4-3 vs. Montreal Canadiens

Won Stanley Cup Final 4-3 vs. Detroit Red Wings

Game 1: April 11 at Toronto: Maple Leafs 3, Red Wings 2

Game 2: April 14 at Toronto: Red Wings 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)

Game 3: April 16 at Detroit: Red Wings 4, Maple Leafs 3

Game 4: April 18 at Detroit: Maple Leafs 4, Red Wings 2

Game 5: April 21 at Toronto: Red Wings 2, Maple Leafs 1

Game 6: April 23 at Detroit: Maple Leafs 4, Red Wings 3 (OT)

Game 7: April 25 at Toronto: Maple Leafs 4, Red Wings 0

Stanley Cup-winning goal: Andy Bathgate, Game 7, 3:04 of the first period

Maple Leafs' leading scorer in Final: Frank Mahovlich (eight points; one goal, seven assists)

Winning goalie: Johnny Bower (4-3, 430 minutes played, 17 goals against, one shutout, 2.37 GAA)

 

Regular-season trophy winners

None

Johnny Bower capped the Final with a shutout in Game 7; the original NHL scoresheet from that game.

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