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Memories From “The Whirling Dervish”, Wally Stanowski

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

While Hap Day was the coach, it was Smythe who ruled with an iron hand, instilling fear in his players. Stanowski recounts an earlier rant that post-season that warned the younger players about wasting their energy chasing women and concluded with the decree that “‘this goes for you married guys, too. No sex.’ (Smythe) was against sex anyway.”

That’s possibly why, at the end of a later training camp, Smythe was enraged when Stanowski’s wife appeared for breakfast at the team hotel. Even though camp had concluded before she spent the night, Smythe made sure Stanowski rarely got off the bench for the first half of that season. That led to one of the more amusing episodes in Stanowski’s career and his nickname.

During a game in Boston, Bruins goaltender Frank Brimsek went to the dressing room to get his face stitched; this was long before face masks. Since teams carried only one goalie, there was a lull. Day ordered the bench-warming Stanowski on to the ice to warm up.

“I was embarrassed. So I just skated in front of the bench a little,” he recounted. But Day would have none of it. He barked at the defenceman to go for a “real” skate. So Stanowski went for a twirl, literally. He glided to the middle of the ice and began a figure skating routine, complete with spins. The organist picked up on it and began providing accompaniment while the Boston crowd chipped in with rhythmic clapping.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL Talk, Old School, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wally+stanowski

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