A Mississauga Hockey Rink is About to Honour a Hockey Legend

 

Mississauga is known as the home of a number of famous people, but few people are more well-known—and more beloved—than the late hockey legend, Johnny Bower.

And now, Mississauga is dedicating one of its rinks to Bower.

The City of Mississauga recently announced that the Meadowvale Four Rinks (2160 Torquay Mews) will be dedicated to Bower in an official dedication ceremony that’s scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 28.

For those who are unaware, Bower, who passed away at the age of 93 last December, is a former Canadian professional hockey player and four-time Stanley Cup winner.

As the closest arena to the Bower family home, the dedication of the rink is in appreciation of Bower’s volunteer contributions to many Mississauga-based organizations, including the Meadowvale Minor Hockey Association.

The city says Rink 1 is the most prominent surface at the arena and was also the number Bower wore throughout his Maple Leafs playing career.

“It is an honour to recognize Johnny Bower at the arena where he was well known as a mentor to many young hockey players and where his grandchildren skated,” said Pat Saito, Councillor, Ward 9. “My only regret is Johnny is not here to receive this well-deserved recognition.”

Insauga.com’s Khaled Iwamura even got to chat with Bower about one of Mississauga’s favourite subjects: iconic former mayor Hazel McCallion.

Bower’s hockey history is storied and impressive.

Bower spent 12 years in the American Hockey League (AHL) before embarking on a 12-year career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1958. He backstopped his professional teams to eight championships and 609 career wins and still holds the AHL record for career wins (359) more than 60 years after his last game in the league.

Bower joined the Maple Leafs in 1958 at the age of 34—an age when most professional athletes are winding their careers down.

Two years later, he won the first of two Vein Trophies as the top goaltender in the NHL. He was a member of Toronto’s four Stanley Cup championships in the 1960s and was the first player in league history to qualify for a pension while playing.

He remained with the Maple Leafs as a coach and scout until 1990 when he became a Goodwill Ambassador.

Off the ice, Bower was involved with children’s charities and those that focused on community development, health promotion and animal protection.

Locally, he focused on the Children’s Safety Village, Kidney Foundation of Canada, Arthritis Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He was also involved with the Anishinabek Nation 7th Generation Charity and was named Honourary Grand Chief in 2010.

Later that year, the Government of Ontario recognized him with an Ontario Senior Achievement Award for his community service, including a role as the only Honourary Chief of Police in the history of Peel Region.

According to the city, he was often seen in local arenas helping young hockey players improve their skills and providing words of encouragement.

The dedication ceremony will feature appearances from Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Saito, Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans, Bower family representative, Dale Smith and Richard Foote, the president of the Meadowvale Minor Hockey Association.

The ceremony will kick off at 1:00 p.m.

A charity hockey game will begin on Rink 1 at 2:10 p.m. 

Johnny Bower encapsulated the spirit of belonging, a value that we embrace in the City of Mississauga,” said Crombie. “He was, of course, a phenomenal hockey player but more than that, his work as a philanthropist, coach and mentor are qualities that will help keep his spirit alive in Mississauga and beyond.”

Attending the Official Dedication Ceremony is free but guests are asked to consider bringing a non-perishable food item for Eden Food for Change.

Limited, complimentary parking is available at Meadowvale Four Rinks. Additional parking is available at St. Jude’s Academy located adjacent to the arena at 2150 Torquay Mews.

Viewing capacity at the arena is limited, but the ceremony will be livestreamed on the City of Mississauga Facebook page.

Bower is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, AHL Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, Mississauga’s Legends Row and has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.                                                                                                                                                                                   

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