Johnny earned the nickname “The China Wall”. Bower, like his other five Original Six brethren, became famous for his fearless play. Maskless, he never shied away from an attacking player and in fact patented the most dangerous move a goalie can make – the poke-check. Diving head-first into the skates of an attacking player at full speed, Bower would routinely flick the puck off that player’s stick and out of harm’s way. One time he got a skate in his cheek, knocking a tooth out through his cheek. He suffered innumerable cuts to his mouth and lips and lost virtually every tooth in his mouth from sticks and pucks, but almost to his last game, he never wore a mask. And under the confident eye of coach Punch Imlach, Bower got better and better. He led the Leafs into the playoffs his first season with a miracle comeback ending to the schedule, and then lost two finals in a row before winning three consecutive Stanley Cup championships – 1962 to 1964. After he retired in 1970 as the oldest goalie ever to play in the NHL, Bower remained with the Leafs for many years as a scout and then goalie coach, putting the pads on and helping Leaf goalies in practice. At one injury-riddled time during the 1979-1980 season, he came within a whisker, at age 56, of dressing as the team’s backup. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame (1976), Bower is one of only a select few to have his number honored by the Leafs.