Maple Leafs honour former goalie Johnny Bower prior to facing Lightning
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TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs honoured legendary former goaltender Johnny Bower prior to their home game Tuesday night versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Bower's widow, Nancy, and family members were flanked by Leafs alumni, including George Armstrong, Dave Keon, Ron Ellis and Eddie Shack as they joined the crowd in a moment of silence.
Shortly after, the Leafs played a video tribute looking back on Bower’s accomplishments with Toronto, on and off the ice.
The video, narrated by Leafs broadcaster Joe Bowen, mentioned that no other Leaf, past or present, had received more standing ovations than Bower.
"Like you've always done, give him one last standing ovation," Bowen said as the video concluded.
Bower's banner, which honours his career and retired No. 1 jersey, was lowered slightly below others in the rafters and stayed that way when the Leafs faced off against Tampa Bay. Toronto players wore Bower’s jersey with his name and number during the pre-game skate.
Bower died Dec. 26 at the age of 93 following a short battle with pneumonia.
Toronto was off for the NHL-mandated holiday break when news of Bower’s death reached the team. The Leafs have worn a patch on their jersey and sticker on their helmets with the Hall-of-Famer's initials and number for games in Arizona, Colorado and Las Vegas and continued wearing them against the Lightning.
Bower played in 552 regular season-NHL games, 475 coming with Toronto. He helped the Leafs win four Stanley Cups, including the franchise's last in 1967.
Twice Bower captured the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie.
A public memorial will be held Wednesday afternoon for Bower at the Air Canada Centre.