Viewed 1923 times
On June 19th, I got to spend a couple of hours with the 95-year-old Wally Stanowski, the oldest living Toronto Maple Leaf. He is the last surviving member of the 1942 Stanley Cup winning Leafs team. Though I don't know 100%, he is probably the oldest living New York Ranger too.
I'd interviewed Stanowski a few times in the past and was always thrilled with his memory and ability to recall specific events. There have been a few times that I'd met him in person too, at NHL oldtimers luncheons, and he was always pleasant, and so many of the other oldtimers would stop by his seat just to say hello, Godfather-like.
The idea behind the visit to his apartment in a retirement home in Toronto's west end was to video tape him, to capture his memories for a "living library" to benefit future generations, guaranteeing that his story is not lost.
It was all put together through SIHR -- the Society for International Hockey Research -- of which I am a proud member.
Along for the ride were Paul Bruno, the current president of SIHR, and Jim Amodeo, who does the great Hockey Then & Now blog.
Complicating things were the fact that I wrecked my right knee on Saturday, tearing my ACL, MCL and a meniscus while playing goal in a local men's soccer game. Needing to be chauffeured around is new to me, but Paul got me there and, seeing my massive leg brace, Wally immediately started telling stories about his own leg woes through the years -- including the broken leg that ended his playing career.
Interestingly, he is pretty adamant that had he not broken his leg, that he would have continued his career and been eventually inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. We have that comment on tape, including some other gems, like what a dirty player Elmer Lach was, and a hilarious story about the very early days of his marriage to his wife, who only passed a while back.
Chances like this to hang out with hockey greats don't come around a lot. The big, big stars get their stories told again and again, but lesser names like Stanowski don't always get the chance.
As fun as it was to sit down with him and tape it all, the real work is still to come in piecing it all together into a coherent video interview. At least it's something I can do with a wrecked knee. The video of the interview can be found here: Wally Stanowski interview part 1 Wally Stanowski interview part 2 (clockwise from top left Paul Bruno, Jim Amodeo, Wally Stanowski and Greg Oliver)
Viewed 1923 times
The Sunday Game that wasn’t
Posted January 14, 2020
A Few Minutes with Larry Pleau
Posted November 13, 2019
2019 Fall Meeting in Quebec City Recap
Posted October 22, 2019
The Brooklyn Skating Club's Battle with Professionalism
Posted May 07, 2019
Mystery Player - Solved
Posted December 20, 2018
Celebrating a Half Century of Recognition
Posted July 02, 2018
Team Identification. Can You Help?
Posted June 23, 2018
What's new with the old NHL stats?
Posted April 01, 2018
Unidentified Hockey Team
Posted January 23, 2018
2017 Members Hockey Pool in Support of Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer
Posted September 12, 2017
Silver, Gold and “Ding”
Posted August 19, 2017
Stats Not So Golden for Seals
Posted July 15, 2017
The Inaugural Season
Posted June 15, 2017
The “First” Stanley Cup Rings?
Posted May 30, 2017
Who Really Has the Record of Most Coaching Wins for the Boston Bruins?
Posted May 16, 2017
Alfred "Ralph" Winsor
Posted May 03, 2017
Mystery Player on a Mystery Team
Posted March 27, 2017
Scarce On-ice Photo of the Philadelphia Quakers
Posted December 17, 2016
Percentage of US players in the NHL - 1920 to 2016
Posted December 04, 2016
Pre-NHL Stanley Cup Challenge List
Posted November 17, 2015