Eddie Shack was one of those guys whose personality simply seemed to transcend the game. I have to admit that, even as old as I am, I didn’t grow up watching Shack play hockey – at least not in the NHL. But I did see him “playing” hockey – both as a personality and as a former player who engaged in promoting the sport all over Canada. He was hard not to like.
Shack played almost two decades (16 seasons in total) for six different NHL teams, but he’ll almost always be remembered as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. And, today it was the Maple Leafs who announced his passing.
The Maple Leafs announcement said it well: the iconic Shack entertained fans for nine seasons on the ice with Toronto and for decades off the ice. On the ice, he helped lead the franchise to four Stanley Cup Championships. He died on Saturday at 83 years of age after a long fight with cancer.
Shack Was Popular Both On and Off the Ice
Shack was a popular player both on and off the ice. During his NHL career, he played almost a decade with the Maple Leafs, including during the team’s seven-year 1960 to 1967 run where the team was very good. In fact, the Maple Leafs contested for four Stanley Cup during that time – in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1967. In 1963, he scored the game-winning goal during the Stanley Cup finals to help his team win the Cup.
Shack was well-known for his celebrations when he scored a goal. He was called “The Entertainer” and “The Nose.” He even had a song written about him titled “Clear the Track, Here Comes Shack.”
Shack Was Well-Traveled
Shack was traded five times during his career and played for the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and played two terms in Toronto, finally retiring in 1975. In total, Shack played in 1,047 games and scored 239 goals during his career. He also had 1,439 penalty minutes during his career.
He was one of only a few players who scored 20 plus goals for five different teams. He will always be part of the legacy of the NHL and he helped hockey become what it is today. As I suggest, his infectious smile will be missed.
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