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'67: The Maple Leafs, Their Sensational Victory, and the End of an Empire [Paperback]

Damien Cox , Gord Stellick
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 19 2006
In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in a stunning defeat of the mighty Montreal Canadiens in Canada’s centennial year. Thirty-nine years later (and counting), no other Leaf team has been able to do it again. As the years pass, the legend grows. The men who were the Leafs in 1967--a scrappy group of aging players and unsung youngsters--were the kings of this universe, the last hockey heroes to skate in the world's most important hockey city. They were the men with the right stuff who enjoyed the perks and privileges that went with it.

Sixty-Seven is not just another hockey book about that legendary team, but a unique and total look at the contradictions, the legends, the shame and the glory of '67. Within five years of that '67 victory, two key members of the team, Tim Horton and Terry Sawchuk, would be dead due to alcohol and drug-related issues. The man who had succeeded Smythe as King of Carlton Street, Harold Ballard, was in jail. The seeds of what would become a horrifying pedophile scandal a quarter-century later were being planted. All that had been built up over the course of decades was in the process of being torn down.

Sixty-Seven will tell previously untold stories, funny and tragic, from the inside of that unforgettable dressing room. And beyond the story of the team, it will tell the story of the times, a time of innocence before Vietnam and Watergate, the last year of the Original Six-Team NHL, and the last gasp of the hockey dynasty built by the legendary Conn Smythe. The story of Sixty-Seven extends well beyond that of a hockey team that found a way to win.

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"Hockey fans should want to read this book just as much as Leaf fans. It takes you inside the great history of the Leafs—right inside. From Johnny Bower’s contract negotiations to everything that was happening behind the scenes, I enjoyed this book so much. It’s fascinating stuff"
—John Davidson, MSG Network and Hockey Night in Canada

"Cox and Stellick may not always have mainstream opinions, but their respective abilities to present a case are abundantly clear in this work. Their candor will strike a nerve with many, and this book will be a must read for hockey fans everywhere."
Bobby Orr

"Gord and Damien give an excellent insight into the last Leaf team to win a Stanley Cup championship. I lived part of it, but I realize that the legacy of the Leafs is for everybody. The most enduring legacy continues to be the unwavering support of all loyal Leaf fans."
Darryl Sittler

"I enjoyed reading '67. It certainly brought back many memories. Reliving that great series and the year 1967 was most exciting and emotional. I believe most fans who read it will also enjoy reliving that series."
Johnny Bower

"Gord and Damien have done an excellent job capturing the story of the Leafs’ 1967 Stanley Cup win. It brought back fabulous memories of the best time to be an NHL player in Toronto. A must read for any hockey fan."
Bob Baun

From the Inside Flap

IT WAS THE LAST GASP OF A HOCKEY EMPIRE. Amidst the dying embers of the Original Six, the Toronto Maple Leafs combined a collection of fading veterans with a sprinkling of untested youngsters to surprise the hockey world and capture the 1967 Stanley Cup.

It was a team layered with complicated, sometimes frail characters, from loveable Johnny Bower to cerebral Brian Conacher; from sensitive Frank Mahovlich to Allan Stanley, a childhood pal of tragic Bill Barilko; from Jim Pappin, who led the team in scoring that unforgettable spring but was quickly cast aside, to Dave Keon, a true believer who gradually became bitterly alienated from the team.

The reflected glory of the Cup also concealed a great deal. Harold Ballard was beginning the process of ripping Maple Leaf Gardens from the hands of the Smythe clan and committing crimes that would lead him to jail. The seeds of what would become a lurid pedophile scandal were being planted. Personal feuds that last to today were being formed. Tim Horton was en route to becoming both a Canadian business icon and a tragic footnote to Leaf history.

Award-winning Toronto Star journalist Damien Cox and former Leaf general manager Gord Stellick tell the story of this unique team. About more than just hockey, this is a story about a time and a place when change in both society and sport was at hand. It examines the heroes and the myths and offers a new look at the contradictions, the legends, the shame and the glory of ’67.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 7 2014
By Sandra
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was a gift and he was very pleased with it!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Brian Maitland TOP 500 REVIEWER
You would think there would be nothing more to write about after the slew of books the Pal Hal era spewed out. Well, you'll be surprised as Damien Cox (one of the few T.O.-based writers who "gets it" and is not madly in love with the Laffs) with help from the Stellickian one put out possibly the finest analysis of the failure of the post-expansion Leafs.

Kudos for Cox focusing in on the true heroes of '67--Pappin, Stemkowski, Pulford, Pronovost and Hillman. Also, brilliant analysis of how the Leafs' scouting was not to blame but more their anti-union/anti-WHA stance of management for the failures of the team post-'67.

The book is written in a way that focuses on the games of each series in the '67 playoffs without getting bogged down in game stories. The game stories are very brief and act almost as jumping-off points for further discussions on other topics.

For example, who knew GM Punch Imlach kept better players down on the farm in Rochester because he had money invested in the franchise? Who knew disgraced player agent Alan Eagleson had ZERO WHA player clients? That should have been the first sign he was in with the NHL owners despite being an NHLPA executive.

Definitely a must-read for any of us well West of the so-called "Centre of the Universe" who were inflicted with the Laffs on TV every friggin' Saturday night during the '80s. This is sweet revenge for all those nights stuck with Dan Daoust, Pat Boutette and Claire "the Milkman" Alexander skating (and I use that term loosely) across our screens.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Look At The End Of An Era In Hockey Feb. 19 2005
By Eric Paddon - Published on Amazon.com
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a long, storied member of the NHL as one of the "original six" franchises, but their history in recent decades shows a futility that is starting to close in on the one known by Ranger fans like me for many years until 1994 (only Chicago has gone longer without a Cup). The last Toronto Cup came in 1967, which not completely coincidentally was the last year of the "Original Six" era of the NHL before the onslaught of expansion, and it is about this team that this book is chiefly concerned with.

The approach by Cox and Stellick is quite interesting. Chapters on the individual games of the playoffs are interspersed with a deeper look at the players of this team and their careers before and after 67, as well as the general history of the Leafs itself during this time and how things were not well in the ranks of management with poor decision making by GM-Coach Punch Imlach that in effect gutted the team's future, as well as the misdeeds of co-owners Stafford Smythe and Harold Ballard that also helped run the team into the ground in the years that followed. Cox and Stellick also recount the details of sordid tales of sexual abuse by Maple Leaf Gardens employees that weren't known for decades, that was also sadly part of the fabric of this last era of winning hockey in Toronto.

About the only quibble I have with the book is their whitewash of disgraced Players Union head Alan Eagleson, whom they interviewed in regards to his role in trying to form the union at the time. It almost seemed like that in order to talk to Eagleson for this book, they had to promise to go easy on him regarding his later disgrace and frankly that doesn't speak too well of them. Aside from that, this book is the best I have ever seen that offers some well-written insight into what the NHL was like in the last years of the Original Six era, and even the casual hockey fan should be able to enjoy it.
4.0 out of 5 stars The '67 Leafs as a case study for the end of the Original 6 era Aug. 21 2007
By Craig MACKINNON - Published on Amazon.com
Damien Cox and Gord Stellick are both well-known within the hockey world, and both are intimately associated with the Leafs (Cox as one of the country's top 3 newspaper columnists based in Toronto, Stellick a former GM and current broadcaster). However, neither of these men are blatent "fans" of the team (unlike, for example, Don Cherry), so this book reads as impartial and balanced. In fact, while praising most of the players, the authors are downright critical of the management of the team. The overall thesis of the book is that the Leafs win in '67 caused the team's administration to remain buried in outdated managerial styles, when the game was fundamentally changing.

Basically, this book is more about the seismic shift in hockey that took place in the late '60s. Bobby Orr was revolutionising the position of defense, Alan Eagleson took up the union torch that Ted Lindsay failed to light, and the league doubled in size (which also caused teams to start looking to Europe for players). Against this backdrop, the Leafs were the last of the old-time teams. Management (and some players) was bitterly opposed to the union. In addition, corruption and nepotism surrounded the team, especially with regards to the junior system (the Rochester Americans farm team was more profitable than the Leafs, so that team was sometimes stacked at the expense of the Leafs). It is the conclusion that the Leafs management - especially Ballard, Stafford Smythe, and coach/GM Punch Imlach - destroyed the Leafs proud heritage through hubris and occasionally criminal activity, from which the team has yet to fully recover.

The book does, of course, cover the Stanley Cup playoffs for the '66-67 season on a game-by-game bases (the Leafs played 12 games in total), which act as chapter intermissions. The book jumps around in time and location, but generally each chapter focusses on some aspect of the Leafs or the hockey world in general. For example, there is a chapter on the family connections (the Conacher, Smythes, Imlachs, etc), one on the union, one on the defense corps. Certainly all the players on that team are given some space. The standard Leaf tidbits are also included - the story of Tim Horton's coffee/doughnut shop and his car-accident death, the story of Baun's overtime goal on a broken leg, etc. But most interesting are the lesser-known facts, e.g. how Bobby Orr was passed over by Imlach as an insignificant teenager.

However, all told, the book really just uses the Leafs team of '66-67 to describe the way the hockey world changed when expansion arrived. The book is better for it, and that is what makes it a valuable addition for any hockey fan, not just Leafs fans.
4.0 out of 5 stars One of The Best in Hockey Aug. 22 2009
By Hallauthor - Published on Amazon.com
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and had particular appreciation for the attention that was paid to the Maple Leaf goaltenders from that time, all of whom had remarkable journeys. The only thing that made me hesitate from granting the fifth star was what has been opined before in these reviews...a glossing over of the crimes of Alan Eagleson.

Still, this is a great read, and a must-have for anyone who loved the Original Six.
5.0 out of 5 stars Now this is a different hockey book Feb. 24 2014
By John Mundie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I read sports books on the side, my main interest is dull history tomes. And I generally like my sports books to be broader social histories.

Well, I had no idea what to expect when I picked this one up, but boy was I ever pleasantly surprised.

I won't go into details, you can read them, but this excellent book really puts the Leafs, the Original Six, and the hockey business under the microscope.

It ain't pretty, but it is a cracking good read.
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 and more Jan. 27 2014
By Mark Ducharme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book was interesting about how an aging team made its last run to a title.The authors did a good job in looking at the team from top to bottom.
There were some interesting segments on how the Leafs potential Dynasty still could have been maintained. They had chances to sign some of the greats in the game, but did not.It prevented them from maintaining a great run.
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