He was a dominating goaltender nicknamed “The China Wall,” a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, a four-time Stanley Cup champ and a Hall of Famer.
He’s Johnny Bower and the former star for the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs died Tuesday after a battle with pneumonia. He was 93.
“Johnny Bower enriched us all by sharing the pure joy he felt for the game he played and for the men who played it, with him and against him,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement. “It was a personal privilege to know him, a delight to be in his presence.”
Bower’s Rookie Card can be found in the 1954-55 Parkhurst set (above) with a standard card and a premium back and they are among nearly 1,300 different cards showing him from during his career and the years that followed.
There were plenty of years during that career as it spanned 15 seasons, ending with a final game played at age 45 in the 1969-70 season. Before becoming an NHL rookie at age 29, he had put in eight seasons in the American Hockey League where he was the AHL’s top player three times and its top goalie three times as well. In the NHL, he ranked in the top 10 for wins 11 times and did the same for shutouts and goals against average. For his career, he had a 250-195 record with a 2.49 GAA and 37 shutouts. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.
He appears on nearly 450 different certified autographs and more than 500 memorabilia cards with nearly 200 of those autos being from Leaf Trading Cards and more than 100 more from In The Game. His earliest standard-issue autograph from a pack is from the 1997-98 BeeHive Golden Originals Autographs set from Pinnacle — his only auto for the company. His most-recent autographed cards can be found in 2017-18 Black Diamond, In The Game Superlative Signatures and Leaf Metal Sports Heroes.
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