'67: The Maple Leafs, Their Sensational Victory, and the End of an Empire

By Damien Cox

In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs gained the Stanley Cup in a gorgeous defeat of the potent Montreal Canadiens in Canada’s centennial yr. Thirty-nine years later (and counting), no different Leaf group has been in a position to do it back. because the years cross, the legend grows. the lads who have been the Leafs in 1967--a scrappy workforce of getting older avid gamers and unsung youngsters--were the kings of this universe, the final hockey heroes to skate within the world's most vital hockey urban. They have been the boys with the ideal stuff who loved the perks and privileges that went with it.

Sixty-Seven isn't just one other hockey e-book approximately that mythical workforce, yet a different and overall examine the contradictions, the legends, the disgrace and the honor of '67. inside of 5 years of that '67 victory, key participants of the workforce, Tim Horton and Terry Sawchuk, will be lifeless as a result of alcohol and drug-related concerns. the guy who had succeeded Smythe as King of Carlton highway, Harold Ballard, used to be in penal complex. The seeds of what may develop into a frightening pedophile scandal a quarter-century later have been being planted. All that were equipped up over the process a long time used to be within the means of being torn down.

Sixty-Seven will inform formerly untold tales, humorous and tragic, from the interior of that unforgettable dressing room. And past the tale of the crew, it is going to inform the tale of the days, a time of innocence sooner than Vietnam and Watergate, the final yr of the unique Six-Team NHL, and the final gasp of the hockey dynasty outfitted by means of the mythical Conn Smythe. the tale of Sixty-Seven extends well past that of a hockey workforce that chanced on how to win.

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They despatched me to Rochester, the place i actually loved issues. on the finish of that season, Joe Crozier instructed me, ‘When I’m up [in Toronto], you’re coming. ’ there has been a few discuss Crozier training the Leafs the subsequent season yet that by no means got here to fruition. ” The overriding temptation through the years has been to explain and comprehend Imlach as a Lombardi-esque personality, a trainer who fervently believed within the comparable “winning is the single factor” philosophy because the nice eco-friendly Bay soccer trainer, Vince Lombardi. There are similarities, fairly within the army bearing either males assumed at a time of serious cultural shifts in North the US. Lombardi, in fact, truly did trainer at West element. The an important distinction, even though, is that many that performed for Lombardi with the Packers in the course of the wonderful Nineteen Sixties later spoke in reverential phrases of the fellow, even whereas describing how tricky Lombardi had frequently made their soccer lives. Lombardi used to be harsh, occasionally unduly so, yet he additionally preached workforce solidarity, teamwork and loyalty like a clergyman from a pulpit. Like Imlach, he driven his gamers tough and demanded a excessive point of actual conditioning, yet Lombardi was once additionally an informed guy from Fordham who had a super shielding brain with an difficult figuring out of the strategic aspect of the sport. Imlach used to be no student, and gamers declare he had very little procedure in any respect. ultimately, Lombardi knew a few avid gamers have been various than others and needed to be handled as a result. He would possibly not have loved the best way Paul Hornung, for instance, lived his existence, yet he continually gave the Golden Boy one other likelihood. With Imlach, his gamers by no means similar a feeling of love and admire after taking part in for him, and he by no means expressed a lot love the opposite direction. Armstrong, the Leaf captain, credit Imlach with being an outstanding bench trainer with a capability to fast see which gamers have been having reliable nights and which gamers weren’t. so much agreed he was once a really hard-working trainer, and every now and then can be a sturdy motivator. “I beloved operating for Punch since you knew the place you stood,” stated Bobby Haggert, the club’s coach through the Nineteen Sixties. “He wasn’t a backstabber, and not one of the avid gamers can say that he was once. i believe it was once a case of familiarity breeding contempt. Punch additionally felt the consistent strain to win in Toronto, and he felt he needed to sustain the strain at the crew. ” Eddie Shack was once always in hassle with Imlach, and recollects the trainer by no means with the ability to simply permit the workforce get pleasure from significant victories. “The first Stanley Cup we gained in ’62, we have been in Chicago having fun with a lager presently after the ultimate game,” he says. “I suggest, the sport is infrequently over, and Imlach hollers, ‘Hurry up and get going! The bus leaves in quarter-hour and if you’re no longer on it, you’re now not at the fucking group subsequent 12 months! ’ So we celebrated our first Stanley Cup with a 15-minute beer. ” Shack consents with Haggert that Imlach felt outstanding strain to maintain the aggressive pedal to the steel in Toronto, and located a truly diversified guy in Buffalo within the early Nineteen Seventies while he performed for Imlach and the Sabres.

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