Allan Stanley, 87, Dies; Helped Maple Leafs Win 4 N.H.L. Titles
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK
Published: October 23, 2013
Allan Stanley, a Hall of Fame defenseman who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win four Stanley Cups in the 1960s, died on Oct. 18 in Bobcaygeon, Ontario. He was 87.
His death was confirmed by Monk Funeral Home in Bobcaygeon. Stanley, who stood taller than six feet and weighed about 180 pounds, was nicknamed Snowshoes for his lumbering skating style. But he was an anchor on defense against Hall of Fame shooters like Ted Lindsay, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull.
In a 21-season career, Stanley played with the Rangers, the Chicago Blackhawks (then known as the Black Hawks), the Boston Bruins, the Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers, recording 100 goals and 333 assists in 1,244 regular-season games.
Stanley played 10 seasons with Toronto, including the team’s dynasty years in the 1960s, when they won three straight titles, from the 1961-62 through 1963-64 seasons. He and his teammate Tim Horton were central to one of the National Hockey League’s most lauded defensive units, which included Carl Brewer, Bobby Baun and, starting in 1965, Marcel Pronovost.
“Allan was one of the best ‘angle’ defensemen,” Johnny Bower, a former Maple Leafs goalie and teammate of Stanley’s, said in an online feature for the Hockey Hall of Fame. “If Gordie Howe was coming down the wing, he would steer him to such a bad angle that there was no way that Howe could score a goal on you.”
During the sixth and final game of the 1967 Stanley Cup finals against the heavily favored Montreal Canadiens, Stanley made a critical contribution at center in a face-off. In the final minute, Toronto was leading, 2-1, and the Canadiens had pulled their goalie, allowing six of their players to try to score.
Toronto Coach Punch Imlach called on Stanley to take on the Montreal captain, Jean Beliveau, when the puck was dropped near the Maple Leafs’ goal. Stanley anticipated when the puck would hit the ice and slammed into Beliveau. The puck bounced off their skates to Toronto center Red Kelly, who passed to Bob Pulford. Pulford fed the puck to George Armstrong, who hit Montreal’s empty goal with a 75-foot shot, sealing Toronto’s victory. The team has not won the Stanley Cup since.
Herbert Allan Stanley was born in Timmins, Ontario, on March 1, 1926. He was mentored by his uncle, the Hall of Fame player Barney Stanley. (No records indicate that the Stanley family is related to Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, the former governor general of Canada and the namesake of the Stanley Cup.)
Stanley made his N.H.L. debut with the Rangers during the 1948-49 season. He was the team captain for a time, but during the 1953-54 season he endured so much jeering from the Madison Square Garden crowd that he was demoted to the Western Hockey League. He returned to the Rangers for part of the next season before he was traded to Chicago.
Stanley scored a career-high 10 goals in his first season with Chicago, but he was sent to Boston in 1956. He sustained a knee injury in the 1956-57 season and missed the playoffs; Boston lost to Montreal in the finals. The Bruins gave up on Stanley after losing to the Canadiens in the finals the next year as well.
“They said my legs were gone, but they just didn’t realize that’s the way I skated,” Stanley told The Toronto Star in 1987.
In 1958, he was traded to Toronto, where he played for a decade.
He retired after the 1968-69 season with the Flyers. Returning to Ontario, he and his wife, Barbara, started one of the first hockey camps for youths. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.
He has no immediate survivors.