Former Maple Leaf Eddie Shack Dies Aged 83

By Ben Hamill - July 29 2020
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Former Maple Leaf Eddie Shack Dies Aged 83

Former NHL veteran player and Maple Leaf Eddie Shack has died, Toronto announced on Twitter on the weekend. Shack was 83.

Known for his colourful antics on and off the ice, his bruising playing style, off-beat skating gait, and huge personality, Eddie Shack was a three-time all-star and four-time Stanley Cup champion. He played for the Leafs for a total of 9 seasons. His four Stanley Cup wins included the franchise’s last ever successful championship victory in 1967, and a winning goal scored for the Maple Leafs in the final game of 1963.

Other than for the Maple Leafs, he played sections of 8 seasons between 1958 and 1975 for at least 5 other NHL franchises.

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Eddie The Entertainer

Eddie Shack’s nickname suited him well – The Entertainer. He was recognised the world over for his cowboy hat and dramatic moustache, and was a native of Sudbury, Ontario.

Shack made an impression on all who brushed shoulders with his larger-than-life personality. Described as a man able to see the funny side to almost everything, it had been his sense of humour that typically made the most lasting impression of all.

Former Toronto captain Doug Gilmour expressed his sadness at the loss in a Tweet, but added that despite the loss, he was “so happy” to have known Eddie Shack.  Gilmour, who played for the franchise in the 1990s, added that Shack had taught him (Gilmour) two “important” life lessons. The first was that it was indeed possible to find humour in just about any situation, and the second was to every day (also away from the ice) live the life of a “Champion”.

His Illustrious Career

Shack during his professional career with the NHL scored 465 points, collected 239 goals, and boasted 1,432 penalty minutes from his 1,047 games played. He was in 2016 included on The One Hundred, which is a list naming the 100 greatest Maple Leafs – he was listed as No. 68 on the 100-year anniversary celebration list.

Born to Ukrainian immigrant-parents on February 11, 1937, Eddie Shack started out his adult career working at a Sudbury butcher’s shop. This was around the same time he first tried out for the Ontario Hockey Association’s Guelph Biltmores.

He spent five seasons playing for the Biltmores and a single season playing for the AHL Providence Reds, after which he eventually signed with Biltmores parent-club, the New York Rangers.

Eddie Shack was traded to Toronto in 1960 – two years after he made his NHL debut. He ended up a Leaf after having refused to go to Detroit.

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