Pete Langelle

Pete Langelle's NHL career was cut short due to military service in World War II. He was stationed in his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, a training station of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He appeared in 3 full NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs scoring 22 goals in 136 games. None of his goals were as big as hist last.

Langelle was born as Pete Landiak, but as he move through the ranks of amateur hockey he changed his name to Langelle, hoping to end the descrimination he and other Ukranians felt at the time.

Following a Memorial Cup championship with his hometown Monarchs in 1937, Langelle started his professional career with the Syracuse Stars of the AHL for two full seasons before joining the Leafs for the 1939 playoffs. He apprenticed with the Leafs the next two seasons before taking more of a full time role in the 1941-42 season. It was a magical season for both Langelle and the Leafs.

Toronto was emerging as a power-house that would end up winning 5 Stanley Cups before the end of the decade. The dynasty began with one of pro sports biggest comebacks in the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings took a commanding 3 games to none lead in the best of seven showdown. No team prior or since has comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals. But the Leafs scratched and clawed their way back into contention, forcing a winner-takes-all seventh game.

The score was tied at one late in the third period when the unlikeliest of hereos scored a goal that would prove to be the Stanley Cup winning goal.

"The puck happened to bounce 10 feet from (Red Wing netminder John) Mowers and I kinda banged at it. Next thing I knew, the red light was on and we were ahead," recalled Langelle.

The Leafs would add another late goal to win the game 3-1 and win the series 4 games to 3 in an unthinkable come back. The Cup was Toronto's second championship.

Langelle had to leave the NHL for military service the following year but continued to play in a senior league in Winnipeg. When the war was over, Langelle returned to minor pro hockey. The speedy fan favorite found no room on the Leafs powerhouse roster upon his return. He continued on, playing six seasons with the AHL's Pittsburgh Hornets before returning to semi-pro senior hockey for two more seasons.

The 5'11" 170lb center scored 22 goals and 51 assists in 136 games. A good skater and crafty playmaker, he will always be remembered for his Stanley Cup winning goal in 1942.


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