Johnny Bower, a Hall of Fame hockey goalie who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win four Stanley Cup titles in the 1960s, died Dec. 26. He was 93.
In a statement, his family said the cause was pneumonia. Further details were not available.
Mr. Bower played minor-league hockey, mostly with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League, and was in his 30s before he caught on permanently with Toronto in the National Hockey League.
At 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, he was small for a goalie, yet he was known as the "China Wall" for the fearless way he blocked shots — before most hockey players wore helmets and masks. Mr. Bower twice won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's outstanding goaltender, first in 1961 and again in 1965, when he shared the award with teammate Terry Sawchuk.
Mr. Bower was playing happily in Cleveland when Toronto acquired him in 1958. He said he only showed up to avoid being suspended.
"They just wanted me for one year, but I had a good team in front of me," he said in 2014. "I was there for 13 years, so it turned out really nice for me."
The Leafs hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1967, and Mr. Bower remained a standout into his 40s despite nearsightedness and painful arthritis.
He pioneered the poke-check, brazenly diving head first at opposing players to knock the puck off their sticks. The move came at a cost — Mr. Bower suffered cuts and lost teeth by throwing himself into the action.
"I got a couple hundred stitches in the face," he said during a 2005 interview.
He played in 475 regular-season games and retired in 1969.
John William Kiszkan was born Nov. 8, 1924, in Prince Albert, Sask. He made his first goalie pads out of old mattresses.
After serving in the Canadian army during World War II, he changed his last name to Bower, his mother's maiden name.
He joined the Barons in 1945 and played eight seasons before signing with the NHL's New York Rangers in 1953. He played parts of two other seasons with the Rangers and other minor-league clubs before joining Toronto in 1958.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.
Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Nancy Bower; three children; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
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