Raising Bower’s banner

Toronto Maple Leafs great Ron Ellis spoke about his former teammate, Johnny Bower, shortly before unveiling the goaltender’s retired number banner at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday night. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

The Art Hauser Centre is the new home of goaltender’s Maple Leafs banner

Johnny Bower will have a permanent presence in the Art Hauser Centre.

On March 10, Bower’s No. 1 banner, which hung for years from the rafters of the Air Canada Centre arena in Toronto, was unfurled at the east end of the Art Hauser Centre rink. A final display location has not been chosen.

The banner was a gift from the Toronto Maple Leafs organization to the City of Prince Albert. This year the Leafs are celebrating their 100th season by installing new retired number banners and delivering the old banners to the players’ home towns.

Bower, who was born in P.A. in 1924, played for the Maple Leafs for 11 seasons, winning four Stanley Cups as part of the team’s 1960s dynasty. He also won the Vezina Trophy twice as the league’s top goaltender. In 1995 the Leafs honoured his player number, one, and in Oct. 2016 the team officially retired his number.

The banner was unveiled during a ceremony before the Raiders’ match against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday. Bower was unable to attend the event, but his former teammate Ron Ellis was present to make some remarks.

Ellis spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Leafs, winning a Stanley Cup with Bower in 1967 and representing Canada at the Summit Series in 1972. He said he “jumped” at the opportunity to speak on Bower’s behalf.

“I think (the banner) can inspire young people,” Ellis said before his presentation.

“Hopefully when kids see this and they understand it and their parents explain it to them they say, ‘Wow, if he can do it, maybe I can do it, too.’ Not just hockey, it could be any field of life.”

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