Thread: AAA 2012 Draft
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11-22-2012, 10:29 PM
Student Of The Game
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Location: Regina, SK
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To finish off the 4th line, Regina selects an up-and-down winger with the speed and tenacity to be a great forechecker, the temperament to agitate, the offensive record to prove he belongs at this level, and physical fearlessness.... even if he can't fight his way out of a paper bag.

Howie Meeker, RW

- 5'9", 165 lbs
- Stanley Cup (1947, 1948, 1949, 1951)
- 6th in goals, 15th in points (1947)
- Top-10 in Playoff Scoring Twice (8th-1947, 9th-1949)
- During the span of Meeker's six productive seasons (1947-1952), only one undrafted player had more points or a higher PPG average.

Originally Posted by
Meeker played one more year of junior hockey, dividing his time between the Stratford Kroehlers and the Brantford Lions of the OHA before missing the next two years due to military service during World War Two. He was badly injured during his service, when a grenade went off between his legs. Thankfully, he made a full recovery. He returned to hockey for the 1945-46 season at the age of 21, joining the Stratford Indians of the OHA Senior A. In seven games he had eight goals and 13 points. It was this strong play that earned him notice from the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, who proceeded to sign him to a free-agent contract on April 13, 1946. In his rookie year with the Maple Leafs, Meeker appeared in 55 games, scoring 27 goals and 45 points, which was good enough to earn him the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, beating out other big names including Detroit's Gordie Howe. He also tied the NHL record of most goals scored in one game by a rookie when he scored five against the Chicago Black Hawks on January 8, 1947.

The post season was every bit as successful for Meeker and the Maple Leafs, who went on to win the first of three consecutive Stanley Cup championships. In 1947, Meeker scored four goals and four assists in the playoffs as the Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens in the championship finals. In 1948 they upended Howe and the Red Wings in four straight games and turned the same trick again in 1949. Meeker missed a good portion of the 1948-49 regular season due to a collarbone injury, sustained in a practice...

Meeker was a member of a fourth Stanley Cup championship with Toronto, in 1950-51 where they defeated the Canadiens four games to one on the famous overtime Cup winning goal by defenseman Bill Barilko. He played another three years in a Leafs' uniform but never attained the level of offensive success throughout his career that he did in that first rookie season of 1946-47. During his playing days with the Maple Leafs, Meeker was a member of the "Tricky Trio" line with Ted Kennedy and Vic Lynn.
Originally Posted by Fischler's Hockey Encyclopedia
when Conn Smythe returned to Toronto after serving in Europe during World War II and began rebuilding his Maple leaf hockey club, he emphasized a policy of hard-nosed play. "Nobody," said Smythe, "pops anybody on this club without getting popped back. I'm not interested in hockey players who don't play to win. You can take penalties, but you gotta play to win." Then, Smythe went about the business of finding youngsters who fulfilled his requirements. One of these kids was Howie Meeker, a fighter of the Smythe mold… Meeker helped create the cup winning goal by teammate Bill Barilko. Howie outsped several pursuing Montréal players early in the overtime, captured the puck, and set up teammate Harry Watson…

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
With Meeker's tremendous success on radio and television (as well as in print for that matter), it is easy to forget that once upon a time Meeker was a pretty good hockey player in his own right... his promising playing career was cut short...
Originally Posted by The Leafs In Autumn
who would've picked Howie Meeker for future fame in the old days? Not me. I remembered him as the guy who scooted down right wing. He had a funny way of skating. It got him where he was going but it was motion without elegance… Meeker got the job done but looked mildly comical doing it.… Meeker was a sassy little guy with the leafs.

… Here's Babe Pratt, huge and ponderous, slowly skating toward the center ice line at the gardens far behind the rest of the play. Pratt is on the Boston Bruins, but a couple of years earlier he'd been a brief Leaf hero… So here's Pratt trailing the play, which is already moved swiftly from the Boston and belief side, and here's a Meeker skating up behind him. His path carries into practice right side. Pratt doesn't know Meeker's there. Meeker moved close enough to breathe on him. And then, as sudden as an evil wink, out of some mad inspiration, as Meeker passes Pratt he slaps his stick on the back of babes skates. Pratt's feed shoot out from under him like Oliver Hardy executing a pratfall. His bum bounces off the ice, and in the crowd we are all laughing fit to bust. We've seen the joke, but the referee and linesmen and the other players have been tending to business. Their backs were turned. What's with the laughs, they don't know. But we know, and Meeker notes. I'm 15 years old, and I think how easy great guy, a cutup.… "You remember that?" He said. "Well, Pratt had run me into the post at his end of the rink. He didn't do that very often, but he did it this time. So when I came back behind the play, I gave him a wack to get even. It was a foolish thing to do. There was humor in it, you know, a 5 foot 8 guy dumping a 6-foot 4 guy – but foolish. But I own up to it. "

"… Me, I could skate and I could check. I couldn't pass. A lot of us on the team have that affliction. And with the puck, I was a dumb player. I didn't know how to move with the puck, where to go, how to get in position to make the next play.… The line worked for us for as long as Kennedy had the sense to get out ahead of the play and crossed the line before Vic and me... Like I was telling you, he didn't have the legs. Lynn & I did, and with Kennedy firing the puck to us young scooters, we could always pop away at the net. Kennedy wasn't bothered by the affliction the rest of us had. He was a great passer. He kept Lynn & me in the league."

"Gardner was a good stop and go hockey player, Harry went up and down his wing, and I did a lot of checking. We fit together okay."
Originally Posted by PowerPlay! The Story of the Toronto Maple Leafs
then there was Howie Meeker, from new Hamburg, Ontario, who had survived a grenade blast at his feet during the war and showed the kind of right wing speed that Smythe liked...

... One of those kids was Howie Meeker, a fighter of the Ezinicki mold... Doctors said he'd never play hockey again. But there he was on leafs. Meeker was fast and tough, and he loved to fight with Gordie Howe of Detroit and Tony Leswick of the Rangers. Al Nickelson of the Toronto daily Star described about with Leswick: "the two started shoving, and the action ended when Meeker picked Leswick off in a crotch hold, threw him on the ice with the bodyslam, and, with Meeker atop, Leswick's head hit the ice, leaving him a groggy fellow."
Meeker's hard work was crucial to Barilko's Stanley Cup Winning goal:

Originally Posted by The Leafs: An Anecdotal History
on Kennedy's line, the responsibilities were simple. Howie Meeker and Vic Lynn skated – both had excellent strength and speed – and Kennedy passed.

... Gardiner, Meeker and Watson came on as forwards for the leafs.… The puck was in the Montréal zone. Meeker had put it there. Meeker, always a player of hustle and speed, chased after the puck behind the Montréal net and to the right of the goalie… Tom Johnson, Montréal's tall defenseman, fought Meeker for the puck. Meeker won. He popped it in front. Harry Watson, two McNeil left, took a crack at the puck. Nobody's certain whether Watson's shot forced McNeill to make a save or whether the puck bounced off the poster off another Montréal player. What is sure is that, in the next millisecond, McNeil went down, diving to the left corner of the net, while the puck caromed in the opposite direction, in front of the goal to the right side. It was at this point that Bill Barilko seized the moment...
Originally Posted by Hockey! The Story of the World's Fastest Sport
Meeker, who later was to become a member of Canada's Parliament, was fast and tough and had a congenital desire to fight with Gordie Howe of Detroit and Tony Leswick of the Rangers.
Originally Posted by Gordie: Hockey Legend
one trophy he'd never win was the Calder; for the rookie of the year would be the Maple leafs hustling Howie Meeker, with 27 goals… In one game, little Howie Meeker made the error of mixing it up with the big Howe. As described by the Toronto Star, "Howie swung once and buried his head in Howe's midriff. Gord promptly hit him three on the top of the noggin, raising a set of goose eggs."
Originally Posted by Lord Stanley's Cup
in game two of the finals Howie Meeker dropped the gloves and bravely fought old elbows… And lost badly.
Originally Posted by Maple Leaf Legends
Hap Day, who had scouted Meeker is a Junior, suggested that conn Smythe signed the feisty right winger… He displayed a bit of a temper… Speedy and tough, although not very big… Meeker's numbers were never as good again, but he was a very efficient up-and-down winger for the leafs for the next eight seasons. His line with Kennedy and Lynn was one of the best two-way lines in the league.

The year after his great rookie season, Meeker went in to negotiate a new contract with smite. He thought his demand for a $1500 raise was very reasonable, but learned that Smythe was tracking his progress when the boss informed him that his plus minus numbers were not very good. Meeker was not even aware the statistic existed and smite had to explain how it was reached… Smythe said that the game films showed that Chicago's Roy Conacher in particular had gotten the better of him during the 1947-48 season. Meeker still got $1000 out of Smythe, but he asked to see the film so he could improve his game. He learned to check Conacher from viewing the tapes and ended up +5 by the time the 1948-49 season was over.
Meeker actually welcomed fights with Lindsay - but not because Lindsay was a box of cherries...

Originally Posted by Stop It There, Back It up!
Oddly enough, the two wings I tangled with on an almost daily basis were Howe and Lindsay. Despite their being tough, mean players, I had no personal grudge with them, or at least not until after several battles. There were other wings I wanted to have a go at but somehow wound up with the big two– Lucky me. It seemed I would always start swinging with Lindsay and then partway through Howe would step in and take over... Terrible Ted played left-wing and I played right so we were nose to nose most of the night. He was not big but he was mean, tough, and strong so sooner or later one of us bad tempered little battlers would start something with the other. Ted more often than not pummeled me on an equal basis and hardly needed any help from Gordie. But all of a sudden I looked up and there was the big fella. With Gordie I'd swing but he connected. Like I've said before, Gordie and I seldom actually fought. Gordie fought – I just took the ****-kickings. As insane as it may sound, I was relieved whenever I started to scrap with Ted and Gordie didn't step in and pound me into submission. Better Ted than dead.
Originally Posted by Golly Gee, It's Me!
Howie demonstrated more than just a scoring knack. He let the entire league know his diminutive size would not impede him or his feisty style of play. Indeed, he tossed his 160 pound frame around with reckless abandon, took on all challengers, and by year end had amassed 79 penalty minutes, 10th most in the league. How we dropped his gloves a number of times that first year, sometimes standing up to a challenge, other times just being an obnoxious, pugnacious pest. The latter behavior embroiled him in one of his while the scraps that season. Former Maple leaf Billy Taylor, a player Howie actually admired, was the target of his bad attitude that night.

"Billy was a hell of a nice guy, didn't fight a lot. I guess I was on him most of the night and he finally gave me a whack with the stick. I popped it back, he punched me with his glove, and away we went. It just escalated from there. Next thing we were really flailing away on the ice. They split us up and sent us to the penalty box. Taylor was just yapping at me and I was steaming mad. Next thing I know I feel this hard thump on my shoulder – he'd reached over the timekeeper and gate and punched me. Luckily I'd moved and he nailed my shoulder. If he'd hit me with that punch he'd taken my head off. Well, I wasn't taking that nonsense and I went after him. Next thing you know the bench is flooded with players, linesmen, ushers, a couple of fans, and finally about a dozen cops. It was wild, just simply wild. Poor Billy, I don't know what I did to make and so pissed off…"

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