Five-goal game: Former Leafs players dispute historic hockey goals
Published Saturday, February 7, 2015 10:19PM EST
Almost 60 years after Howie Meeker set a rookie record for most goals scored in a game, a former teammate says that piece of hockey history is built on a lie.
The story dates back to Jan. 8, 1947, when Meeker, then a forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs, set a league record after scoring five goals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
But former Leafs’ defenceman Wally Stanowski says two of those goals actually belong to him.
“He’s adopted the fact that he’s responsible for scoring those -- well he wasn’t! I put both shots in,” Stanowski, now 95, said from his retirement home near Toronto.
According to Stanowski, the alleged deception was all part of a plan to help Meeker win the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s top rookie.
“They were building him up to win the rookie award. You know, every team likes awards,” Stanowski said.
Meeker, now 91, did win the award later that year. But he maintains he rightfully scored the goals when the puck bounced off him before going into the net.
“I don’t know what the argument is all about,” Meeker said. “They said if it did hit you and it did go on, then it’s your goal. So the National Hockey League accepted it as my goal.”
Existing footage of the goals is inconclusive. The game happened years before Hockey Night in Canada producer George Retzlaff pioneered early instant-replay, so all that remains are incomplete game tapes, as well as Stanowski’s and Meeker’s opposing stories.
Today, Stanowski stands by his claims, and is still hoping officials will consider rewriting history.
“I’d like to see those goals back,” Stanowski said. “I think they should have corrected it a long time ago.”
Meeker, on the other hand, seems less concerned.
“He can have that goal. Put it on his record. In fact, put the two of them on. It doesn’t matter to me anymore,” he said. “All we were worried about in those days was getting enough goals to win the hockey game.”
Despite the players’ internal spat, the Leafs went on to win both that game and the Stanley Cup that season -- more than is likely to be said for the 2014-2015 team.
But there is reason to be hopeful: after a record 11-game losing streak, today's Leafs defeated the Oilers 5-1 in Toronto on Saturday night.
With a report by CTV's Scott Laurie