Wally Stanowski

Wally Stanowski is a long forgotten about and underrated defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs during their Cup reign in the 1940s. He was a clever defensive player who excelled in his own zone first and foremost. In fact he was good enough to be named as a First Team All Star in 1941.

But for any hockey fans in attendance at the Boston Gardens in 1948, Stanowski would never be forgotten. It was that night that he skated into hockey legend and out of Toronto!

Wally was being benched during the game as he missed a typically rigid Conn Smythe curfew the night before. When Bruins goalie Frankie "Mister Zero" Brimsek got hurt, play was halted while the stopper was stitched up.

``Wally!'' barked Leaf coach Hap Day, ``get out there and warm up. We may need you.''

Stanowski obeyed, and took a few lazy turns around the ice.

`Not like that,'' cried the coach. ``Get out there and go hard. Let's see some real skating.''

Perhaps Day should have been more specific. Stanowski, nicknamed the Whirling Dervish for his skating agility, proceeded to execute a dazzling series of loops and spins that would make Kurt Browning jealous. Soon the organist got into the action, providing some nice music as Wally twirled at center ice

The shocked crowd quickly joined in with the organist, rhythmically clapping as our Stanowski pirouettes over the blue line, ending at centre with a dazzling tippy-toe curtsy, a la Katarina Witt

Swooping back to the bench backward, with one leg extended, Wally asked: "How's that, coach?''

You might expect his coach to be furious, but he, like his teammates, the Bruins and the fans, is consumed with laughter.

However Conn Smythe must not have been impressed. Wally was soon traded with Elwyn Morris to the New York Rangers for Cal Gardner and Bill Juzda.

Stanowski played three years with the Rangers before finishing his career with a season in Cincinnati of the AHL.


Franco D,  2:57 PM  

Under-rated with four Stanley Cups!
He is a legend and the last one standing to this day. Bring back the Glory Days!

ibbie 9:30 AM  

I remember Wally well , listening to Foster Hewitt. He would dipsy- doodle his way from one end zone to another. He was a fantastic skater and crowd pleaser but like other hockey players in those days, was at the mercy of the owner, in this case Connie Smythe. I would like to contact Wally and wish I had his email address. My family loved him.

Ivan B ..Winnipeg

Jake,  1:15 PM  

Dear Ivan,

His home address is listed as the following:

Wally Stanowski
227 Mill Road
Toronto ON, M9C 1Y3

You could give it a try. I know I will!

Anonymous,  12:28 PM  

What a Leaf and personal legend! These are the true stories Leaf fans love and hope to hear again soon! The drought has been too long for most of us but we still somehow continue to "Believe". Maybe the MLSE organization can step up to the plate and do the "right" thing to both recognize Wally in some way and financially ensure that he has no worries going forward if he has any needs.

Anonymous,  9:56 PM  

Def he and Howe meeker should be Honored as the leafs 100 th anniversary of our franchise approaches since they are our last ties to those great teams!

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