It was 74 years ago today the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Howie Meeker to an NHL contract.
Meeker, 23, had played the prior season with the Stratford Indians of the OHA-Sr league scoring eight goals and 13 points in only seven games. It was his first foray into hockey in three years, as Meeker served in the Canadian Army wherein he was badly injured.
But through his recovery, he was able to get back to hockey and earned himself a spot on the Leafs.
His first pro season was undeniably his best as he scored 27 goals and 45 points in 55 games. The 23-year-old was named the Calder trophy winner as the league’s top rookie and helped the Leafs win three cups in his eight-year career, all of which were with Toronto.
One of his most infamous moments came when he set up Bill Barilko’s cup-winning goal in 1951.
Meeker retired from the NHL in after playing five games in 1953-54 at 30 years old, but his hockey career was far from over as he played for various men’s teams over the next 15 years.
More infamously, he was known as an analyst on Hockey Night in Canada in the 1970s and 80s breaking down games and what was happening in ways never seen before by fans.
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