Johnny Bower is truly a man of great class and perhaps the most revered and recognizable Toronto Maple Leaf of all time. He carries himself with a high degree of humility and, to this day, his popularity spreads across many generations of Toronto Maple Leafs fans.
Over 12 seasons in Toronto, Bower registered a winning career record of 220-161-79 in 472 games played, a 2.51 goals against average, along with 33 shutouts. Bower captured four Stanley Cups (1962, 1963, 1964, 1967) with the Maple Leafs despite winning his final championship at the tender age of 42. Bower was 45 when he retired as a player in 1970, making him the oldest goalie to have played in the NHL and he played 1,207 games between the NHL and AHL—a goaltending mark only surpassed by Martin Brodeur. After retiring as a player, he joined the team's coaching staff as a goalie coach and, later, the front office as a scout until 1990.
Bower won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's Top Goaltender in 1961 and then shared the trophy with Maple Leafs teammate Terry Sawchuk in 1965. Bower was an NHL First Team All-Star in 1961.
When the Maple Leafs acquired Bower in 1958, he was approaching 34 years of age. Bower also had an illustrious 11-season American Hockey League career prior to playing in the NHL. During Bower's career in the AHL with Cleveland and Providence, he won four Calder Cup championships (1948, 1951, 1953, 1956), won the Les Cunningham Award as the League's Most Valuable Player three consecutive seasons (1956, 1957, 1958), and won the Harry Hap Holmes Award as the league's Top Goaltender on three occasions. He is the AHL's record-holder for most wins (359), and shutouts (45).
Bower was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976 and was one of the first seven members inducted to the AHL Hall of Fame in 2006. The Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame (in western Toronto), the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, and Canada's Walk of Fame have all enshrined Johnny Bower. Bower joined the Canadian Army in 1940 and he served his country in England before his discharge in 1944. In the long history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bower is among a select few gentlemen to be saluted with a banner to honour his sweater number and also a statue along Legends Row outside of Air Canada Centre.